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Who is Bling Empire’s Anna Shay: everything we know about the show's matriarch

Anna Shay on Bling Empire
Anna Shay on Bling Empire (Image credit: Netflix)

It should come as no surprise that many Bling Empire fans are self-described members of Team Anna. After two seasons on the Netflix hit, Anna Shay has continued to impress with not only her refreshing candor, but also her ability to look past her millions. We could go on and on as to why viewers of the show cemented their affection for her after the second season, but we've saved that "Anna love fest" conversation for another day.

However, as much as people adore the heiress, there is still a cloud of mystery around her, which is a bit ironic considering she’s on a reality show. Wanting to get to know her a little better, we've done a little research into how her family amassed their fortune. Additionally, we found some tidbits about the family itself and a few fun facts, including what she does with her Bling Empire check. 

Here’s what we know about Anna Shay? 

How did Anna Shay’s family become rich?  

As Bling Empire viewers will recall, in season 1 of the show, it’s mentioned that Anna’s family accumulated their wealth from a weapons business. According to NBC News (opens in new tab), it turns out her father, Edward Shay, started the American defense and government services contracting business Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE) in 1955. In the 1960s and 1970s, the company was doing business with federal entities like the CIA and continued to thrive with Edward at the helm until his death in 1995. 

Following his passing, Parade (opens in new tab) describes how the patriarch was succeeded as chairman and CEO by Anna’s brother Allen Shay and in 2006 the company was sold to Lockheed Martin for an estimated $1.2 billion. 

While we won’t get into the weeds of it here, we’ll point out that per the NBC News article, PAE has drawn some criticism for its work in the 1960s and 1970s with the CIA, because the work has allegedly been tied to questionable government-sponsored acts during the Vietnam War. Feel free to read the article for yourself. 

Who is Anna Shay’s family?  

Since we already mentioned her dad, let’s start with her parents. As shared on Oprah Daily (opens in new tab), Anna’s father was from the South Side of Chicago, while Town & Country (opens in new tab) reports her mother was from Japan and was half-Russian and half-Japanese. The pair wound up meeting while Edward was visiting the Asian country and fell in love. They ultimately had Anna in Japan before the family relocated to Los Angeles.

Anna’s brother Allen, by the way, happens to be her younger sibling. Interestingly enough, the Town & Country article details that when the family traveled, Anna would accompany her father while her brother would accompany her mother and the two factions would meet wherever their desired destination happened to be at the time. Apparently, the family split into pairs out of concern for their safety. 

As for Anna’s four ex-husbands, we won’t go there. However, let’s talk about her son, Kenny Kemp. There’s not much to be found about the almost 30-year-old. What we did manage to discover is that he was once the focus of a Buzzfeed (opens in new tab)piece on cannabis and owns a very expensive paraphernalia collection.  

What is Anna Shay’s net worth?  

Anna Shay on Bling Empire

(Image credit: Netflix)

Most guesses place Anna Shay’s net worth at roughly $600 million. If you’ve been following along here, that’s half of what her father’s company sold for in 2006, which Parade and other sources use to estimate her fortune. 

Fun facts about Anna Shay

Fun fact number one, when the beloved Bling Empire star was a child, she snuck a pet monkey onto an airplane according to the Oprah Daily feature. Well, we guess you can’t consider it sneaking if the flight attendant spotted the animal and asked, "Would your friend like a drink?" If you’re wondering, the then 7-year-old Anna requested milk. 

Perhaps one of the most fascinating things we’ve learned in our fact-finding mission, is what she does with the Bling Empire paycheck. Again referring to the Oprah site, Anna said in reference to her show salary: 

"It was so confusing when I got the checks. I didn't know what to do with them. I didn't cash them, then I got in trouble for not cashing them. I have them in a savings account. I'd like to have a party some time. I don't think the money belongs to me. I think it belongs to the crew that had to put up with me."

Learn more about what about fellow Bling Empire castmates Kevin and Don.  

Terrell Smith has a diverse writing background having penned material for a wide array of clients including the federal government and Bravo television personalities.  When he’s not writing as Terrell, he’s writing under his pseudonym Tavion Scott, creating scripts for his audio drama podcasts. Terrell is a huge fan of great storytelling when it comes to television and film. Some of his favorite shows include The CrownWandaVision, Abbot Elementary and Godfather of HarlemAnd a fun fact is he's completely dialed into the TLC 90 Day Fiancé universe.