"The Dream" is the perfect precursor to "Escaping Nxivm"
You might not know someone who is accidentally trapped in a cult, but I guarantee that you know someone who is involved in a multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme. Most of us don’t have to scroll too far through our Facebook newsfeed before we are bombarded by someone we went to middle school with trying to sell us something we definitely don’t need but are told we can’t live without. From classics like Mary Kay makeup, to the wellness-era Beachbody coaching system, MLM’s have proved their staying power.
The Dream explores exactly what happens when you start off at the bottom of an MLM, and try to work your way to the top (or in most cases slide back down to the base of the pyramid). It provides first person accounts of how sellers recruit others onto their teams, and continue to perpetuate the MLM culture throughout their communities. I found this podcast surprisingly fascinating, as it delves into the psyche of those who sell, as well as the unexpected power that larger MLM’s can have, even over government officials.
So what does this have to do with Nxivm?
If you remember the headlines surrounding Nxivm (pronounced “Nexium”) a few years ago, you would probably identify it as a sex-trafficking cult that lured C-list celebrities and Manhattan socialites into its inner circle. But at its core, Nxivm was actually an MLM, selling a series of self-help training through its Executive Success Programs (ESP’s). The more classes someone took, the higher rank they held in the group, which was indicated by the color sashes that they each wore. Those who recruited others rose higher up the pyramid, and eventually many opened their own ESP’s to widen the base. Undercover: Escaping Nxivm follows a prominent member’s escape from the very top of the MLM, and her struggle to leave it behind when she had a daily reminder physically branded on her.
Listening to The Dream prior to Escaping Nxivm will provide you with a great foundation for understanding Nxivm’s success and why MLM’s still continue to appeal to a certain audience.