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The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Crystal King Minkoff recently shared that while she grew up in Los Angeles, a career in front of the camera and a life of fame didn't really cross her mind.
"Never. Never occurred to me. It was not, like, on our radar. I grew up in a very traditional Chinese household. My brother was gonna work in finance and I was gonna be a surgeon, and that was sort of our path. So then he becomes a pop star, and then I end up here. So, I don’t even know what happened, where we went off the rails. But we are definitely the, you know, in a great way, the black sheep of our sort of extended family. They always laugh, like, 'What happened to you guys,' you know?" Crystal recently joked in an interview with Bravo Insider. You can read more about her life before RHOBH here.
But something along the way changed for the Kung siblings. She's now the newest cast member on RHOBH, and her brother, Jeffrey Kung, is a pop star in China. When Crystal spoke to The Daily Dish recently, she opened up a bit more about how he rose to pop prominence.
"When I say, it’s such a basic life, I know. When I think about that, I’m like, maybe it’s not that basic, but it’s really his life, you know? My brother went to Michigan [for school] and then studied abroad in China, which is what I did. I went to [University of California, Irvine] and then studied abroad," she recalled, "And then he called us one day, and I was still in high school. He’s a year-and-a-half older, and he’s like, 'Oh, I got a record deal.' We’re like, 'For what? You’re going to business school.' And he’s like, 'I don’t know. It happened.' And and then next thing we know, he does a demo, does an album, and wins MTV Best New Artist Asia. And it just didn’t stop from there, and it’s been, god, 20 years now."
Crystal shared that, in fact, his career as a pop star across the globe works perfectly as they collaborate on their coconut beverage brand. "But it’s funny. It’s like, even though that all happened, it’s still sort of out of sight, out of mind, because he lives in China and we’re here. That’s his life, and when this opportunity came up [for Real Coco], we started our coconut water company in Asia ‘cause we source everything from Southeast Asia, it just made sense," she said. "So, he ran all the logistics of it, and I helped develop all the products. I create the new products, and it was just sort of a fun project on the side that sort of became a much bigger thing. My brother and I and my best friend, the three of us, we're so close, and so it was such a fun thing to do that keeps us constantly connected."
She recently shared a video of Jeffrey performing on her Instagram (below), writing, "He’s damn talented and an awesome uncle. Some of you know him, and if you don’t, I’m looking forward to you getting to know him. You can also find his music on all streaming platforms."
Jeffrey has since been introduced to Bravo viewers and commented on the cameo on Instagram timed to the May 26 episode of RHOBH in which he appeared. "I hear that I am on RHOBH tonight so that means to many of my new friends I may be known as Mannie Jeff. Thanks [Crystal]. Nice to meet you all and thanks for supporting my sister. Here are some greatest hits of me being uncle Jeff," he said, sharing family photos. "PS go listen to my music too. Just search Jeffrey Kung anywhere."
Jeffrey isn't Crystal's only famous relative. According to her BravoTV.com profile, she is also a 76th generational descendant of Confucius. So greatness is genetic for this family.
Crystal also shared with The Daily Dish how her family reacted to her decision to break into the world of reality TV. "They’re excited. I don’t know if many have seen them. My family’s pretty traditional Chinese, so I don’t know if it’s, like, on their radar. But because my brother has been doing what he’s doing, they sort of are familiar — especially [with me] being with [husband] Rob and him being in the business. But my mom is super excited. And she’s fantastic. She’s probably the first supporter of me doing it when I was reluctant," she said. "They’re all excited. My brother’s really excited. Obviously, it’s just like an extension of what he does, so he’s like, 'It’s a no-brainer to say yes.' I’m like, OK, it’s a no-brainer for you. But, you know? It’s new for me."
During an appearance on Amplify Our Voices earlier this spring, Crystal opened up more about the importance of representation in the media and on TV. "I think that screen time for the AAPI talent is less than one percent of top cable programming. So when you have such a narrow media representation, and it starts to feed these biases for Americans who are tuning in. It's harmful; it's a harmful stereotype that undermines Asians as real Americans," she said. "So television has the opportunity to really expand stories about the API community to eliminate all those narratives that fuel bias and violence."
She shared during that Amplify Our Voices conversation that she wants to use her platform to spread awareness about these important social issues and inspire others to take action to show her kids how important it is. She is now looking forward to getting the chance to take viewers inside her life at home on RHOBH, as well to share her Chinese heritage with fans.
"I think I’m probably most excited to share my Chinese culture and background and traditions. And, my husband’s Jewish, and so our kids are [Chinese and Jewish], and that’s equally important. They have such a beautiful culture that should also be shared in a bigger way. So, I’m excited for people to see what kind of a mixed family looks like. I’m excited for that," she told The Daily Dish.
Now that Crystal is sharing her life and heritage with the world by adding the role of Real Housewife to her busy schedule, she revealed how she manages to do it all. "Look, you find time when you’re passionate about all those things. And I know it sounds weird to be passionate about being a mom, but I love doing all that stuff with my kids. So, it’s not difficult," she said. "You find time when you are having fun, for sure."
Go home with Crystal, below.
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