How it is being a rich kid in Beverly Hills

Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - In today’s very modern and interconnected world, becoming a celebrity is as easy as getting a thousand likes on Facebook or having a multitude of followers on Instagram and Twitter. But celebrities born in the Internet rarely translate to a lucrative career that the likes of Charice or Justin Bieber have enjoyed. Most often, they get to star in a viral video and are quickly forgotten as soon as the next trending video or picture is discovered. They don’t really become that famous (or notoriously famous, as others would forcefully contend).

There are several ways to becoming famous: The surefire way is to have a real talent in the performing arts. If you can sing, good! If you can act and sing, better! If you can act, sing, dance, host and innovate, you are just one fairy dust away from becoming a celebrity, a famous one!

Then there’s another proven way to be famous: Be rich and star in your own reality show! The Kardashians did it! (Well, Kim had to do a sex video to be extra famous but her family did it.) The real housewives of Atlanta, Miami and Beverly Hills did it! Heck, even the Philippines’ already famous Gutierrez clan had its own reality series!

No one can ever be faulted for dreaming of fame.

Last Feb. 9, at 10 p.m., E! premiered a new reality-based series featuring a new set of reality stars hailing from the wealthy (very, very wealthy, that is!) set of Beverly Hills. In what is effectively a redundant title, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills will attempt to bring to homes all over the world the real lives of the 20-something sons and daughters of the billionaires and millionaires that control the world’s wealth.

The series will feature five attractive and ambitious kids as they go about their daily lives. It will have the typical dramas, infighting, parties and their own individual pursuits of, surprise, surprise, their dreams and ambitions.

“Because we are all very fortunate. Obviously, we all have very different, you know, goals and dreams. I have a blog that I write and that is my passion,” said Morgan Stewart, 25, whose blog called BoobsAndLoubs.com documents her plush lifestyle. “That is what I get up for every day and, you know, Brendan (Fitzpatrick, also 25, and Morgan’s boyfriend) is working (in) real estate and Roxy (Sowlaty, 25) wants to do interior design and Jonny (Drubel, 25) is a fantastic singer!”

The five stars of Rich Kids of Beverly Hills met with this writer during a junket earlier this year held at the offices of E! in Los Angeles.

“It is almost like the stakes are set higher for us to prove ourselves, to make a name for ourselves,” added Dorothy Wang, 25. “No one wants to live in anyone’s shadow, especially their parents’ or their family’s, and I think we need to prove ourselves professionally.”

Dorothy is the group’s de facto leader. A daughter of a billionaire business mogul, she was instrumental in getting them the show after her Instagram was discovered by an E! executive. She said that apart from the partying and typical rich people problems, she and her friends want to show the rest of the world that the stereotypical rich and spoiled brats no longer apply today.

“We have grown up very fortunate and I thank our parents. Ever since I was younger I used to volunteer at an orphanage in China every summer and, you know, we can’t deny that and we should not be ashamed of how we were brought up. I think it is important for us to appreciate that fully and still, and obviously, realize that there are people out there that aren’t fortunate, aren’t as lucky as us and, you know, we should try and help them as much as we can.”

A self-described perfectionist, the opinionated Dorothy added, “I think that is one of the pros for all of us that we kind of want to set out. Even though the show is called Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, we, kind of, want to show people that even though we have money and, you know, people are going to typecast us as just ‘rich kids’ of Beverly Hills, they are going to say, ‘Oh, you know, we really like her. She is really relatable. She is funny. She has a good head on her shoulder.’

“We are doing this, kind of, as almost like an exposé (of) this lifestyle,” she continued, adding that their show has the potential to “put meaningful real personalities behind it and not just be like the faces of spoiled kids in Beverly Hills.”

Roxy, whose main arc on the show’s maiden season will be how she copes with being cut off from her family’s fortune, described the rich stereotypes as “primitive notions about all of rich kids.”

“There are so much people assume about us,” she remarked. “It is not true. There is so much more to us.”

“I think I can speak for everyone,” Jonny added. “We all work, very, very hard at what we do. I think that this is (referring to their show) just a great opportunity to show people what we can do and hopefully that works.”

His sentiment was echoed by Brendan, “I have been working in real estate since I was 18 years old and I thought that it would be great exposure for my brand and my company.”

The road to changing those wrong perceptions will be one tricky route: They have to deal with the consequences of sharing their lives with the public and they believe they are quite ready for it. “I guess…I don’t know, I mean if somebody has seen me with my shirt off with a face mask that my girlfriend put on my face…” Brendan said before Morgan finished his sentence for him. “Yeah that is going to be a hard moment to relive!”

They started filming the series in October last year and they promised that almost everything on the show is real.

“All of it. It is all real, almost too much,” Morgan revealed.

Are there things that happen in real life that do not get on the show?

“They are pretty good at always being there when something like that happens. They are always there,” Dorothy replied.

“Our nastiest fights happen to actually be on camera, yeah!” Jonny confessed.

“It is not big brother. We are not like 24 hours recording,” Morgan corrected herself later. “And I am not naturally that pretty. I can’t do that. It takes a lot of work to look like this. Two hours!”

When they said at the start of the interview that they were all very good friends in real life, this writer was a little bit skeptical but I was eventually won over by the sincerity and infectious energy of the group.

“I have known every single person on this stage for over, I would say, six or seven years,” Jonny declared. “We are all friends. (When) we fight, it is actual fighting. When we love, we actually love each other. (When) we laugh, it’s laughing.”

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