Who are the celebs tied to the NXIVM cult?
HBO’s newest true-crime doc The Vow tackles the harrowing story of the infamous NXIVM cult and its intersection with celebrity culture. Focusing on Keith Raniere and his crew of recruited actresses and socialites, it brings to mind the question of who was really involved in this cult and how it went on for so long?
The Vow shows seminars and lectures that NXIVM cult members attended to fulfill their apparent goal: suppress emotion thought to become a more successful human being. NXIVM often charged exorbitant prices for membership and the costs to advance rose as members moved up the ranks.
With the money & time members spent on NXIVM, many were reluctant to leave. Worse, in certain circles like the DOS, women were sexually exploited and blackmailed into staying. Eventually, former members came forward about the abuse, and investigation came underway, and Keith Raniere & his leadership were arrested.
Here are some prominent members of the NXIVM cult. Here’s who they were, where they stand with NXIVM, and how they became involved in this sex trafficking cult.
Although Keith Raniere’s “prefect” Nancy Salzman was Raniere’s NXIVM co-founder, Allison Mack became regarded as his second-in-command. A costar introduced her to Jness, one of Raniere’s companies whose mission statement was to “promote the furtherance and empowerment of women throughout the world.”
Smallville costar Kristin Kreuk brought Mack along to a Jness meeting in 2006, around the time she met Raniere and his co-conspirators. Mack rose through the ranks quickly, becoming a recruiter for Raniere’s inner circle, DOS, a “sisterhood” in which women were coerced to have sex with Raniere.
In a New York Times interview, Allison Mack claimed she came up with the idea for branding people during the DOS initiation process. In NXIVM’s inner circle, “masters” recruited “slaves” who could become masters when they recruited more members.
Allison Mack was arrested in April 2018. A year later, she pleaded guilty to racketeering charges relating to her role in NXIVM’s sex-trafficking case. Mack currently awaits her sentence one year later.
Mack’s Smallville costar, Kristin Kreuk, who portrayed young Clark Kent’s love interest Lana Lang, also joined NXIVM. According to her, it was to a lesser extent than Allison Mack. When abuse allegations surfaced, Kreuk tweeted about how she became involved in NXIVM.
She said that at age 23, she had taken the organization’s self-help courses to overcome her shyness. Kreuk asserted that she was never in the organization’s inner circle and “never experienced any illegal or nefarious activity.”
Actress Sarah Edmondson, a top NXIVM recruiter who became a whistleblower, backed Kreuk’s claim on Twitter. Kreuk currently stars on Canadian legal drama Burden of Truth.
Known for her work on Stargate SG-1, Canadian actress Sarah Edmondson was recruited in 2005 and left in 2017. A star recruiter who originally joined for the self-help courses, she brought over 2,000 members to the organization. Deeply involved in the organization, she even started a branch in Vancouver.
Edmondson finally left NXIVM when she learned about DOS and became branded. She became a key whistleblower regarding the cult’s dark realities, publishing details in her 2019 memoir, Scarred. In recent years, she’s had parts in series and TV movies, such as the role of Nora on Salvation.
Sarah Edmonson will feature prominently in HBO’s The Vow, narrating her personal experience in the NXIVM cult.
Battlestar Galactica actress Nicki Clyne married Allison Mack in 2017. Personally recruited by Edmondson, Clyne was an NXIVM member for well over a decade. It’s been said that she quit her TV gig to join Raniere. She’s considered a part of Raniere’s inner circle but has not been named as a co-conspirator.
Nicki Clyne hasn’t posted on her main social media pages since 2018. According to a Vice article, Clyne may still be involved with NXIVM. She’s a member of “The Forgotten Ones,” a dance crew with ties to NXIVM who dances in front of Keith Raniere’s cell in Brooklyn, where he awaits sentencing.
Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg heard about NXIVM from a friend. Oxenberg recommended it to her daughter, India, who was about to start her own business in 2011. Since NXIVM billed itself as a female empowerment group, Oxenberg was led to believe it would help India build her confidence & entrepreneurship skills.
Eventually, Oxenberg noticed that something was off with India when she got more deeply involved with the cult. Following Raniere’s arrest in 2018, Oxenberg’s daughter left NXIVM. Later that year, Oxenberg released a book, Captive: A Mother’s Crusade to Save Her Daughter From a Terrifying Cult.
“First, she seemed more distant, more distracted, more serious, kind of burdened,” she said in an interview with California Live. “But it was slow and I wouldn’t see her and she would pretend that she could come and go as she pleased, but the truth is they had her on a very tight rein and they had a lot of control and the control became absolute.”