Why Alexis Neiers Haines comes clean in ‘The Real Bling Ring’

When you think of Alexis Haines (née Neiers), an infamous image probably springs to mind. It dates back to 2010 when she appeared on the short-lived E! Reality show Pretty Wild. With mascara pouring down her face, she leaves a hysterical voicemail for Vanity Fair reporter Nancy Jo Sales, who wrote an unflattering story about her involvement in the bling ring, with a scathing complaint: She actually didn’t have six-inch Louboutin heels in court.

They were actually “four inch little brown bebe shoes”.

While that image — one that sparked a thousand memes — may be cemented in the minds of viewers who just didn’t follow the bling ring process but also looked”Pretty wild‘, it’s a far cry from the Haines of today. Now the former TV personality spends her mornings praying and meditating and watering her garden while her dogs play in the yard. When she’s not looking after her two daughters, Harper, 9, and Dakota, 6, she takes an alcoholic to an AA meeting and spends the rest of the day taking calls from her sponsees and other women in recovery. It’s pretty wild indeed.

If it had been two years Haines probably wouldn’t have called, let alone Zooming. However, she’s currently looking at the colorful one thanks to The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, a three-part Netflix documentary in which Haines and Bling Ring member Nick Prugo tell their sides of the story surrounding the Hollywood heists of 2008-2009 past back . Settling in at the streamer’s Los Angeles office after a long press day, Haines has traded most of her glam for a dark brown tracksuit, the only remainder of her tireless day — and her Hollywood past — being her pageant hair and smoky ones eyes and shiny nails.

Over the years, Haines has attempted to distance himself from the bling ring. So what prompted her to take part in a lively documentary about it? Director Miles Blayden-Ryall’s nuanced approach to storytelling, says Haines.

“A few years ago, I just wished my name and the bling ring weren’t linked because I felt like I’d made so much more out of my life,” she sighs. “And the longer I’ve been sober, the more I’ve realized that we don’t heal by pushing away our recovery or our history, we heal by having all the messy, complex parts that often make it really magical.” , she gestures as if she’s casting air spells.

In addition to reminiscing about how a group of teenagers were able to steal from the homes of celebrities like Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton and Rachel Bilson, the documentary looks at the motivations behind breaking into those homes: not to justify, not condone, but to contextualize the bling ring happened in the first place.

For Haines in particular, there was a lot more at stake than just stealing from celebrities. “If it came to getting stuff, I wouldn’t have robbed Orlando Bloom’s house, I would have been with Audrina Patridge,” she laughs.

The 31-year-old’s role in the bling ring stemmed from her addiction, which she saw as a way to mask her trauma through abuse. “My story is about incest, early childhood sexual abuse, rape, and it started when I was 4 years old and continued until I was about 8 years old. I was also abused by my dad’s friends and by babysitters, and I was raped when I turned 17 by a really powerful man in Hollywood,” she recalls. Haines needed money to fuel her drug use and help her cope. “Addiction doesn’t appear in a vacuum,” she asserts. “Not only you will a heroin addict.”

But the documentary shows Haines taking charge in a way she may not have had in the past — something she thinks will surprise Prugo as well. She was finally ready to speak her truth, and she wanted there to be an opportunity for closure for the victims.

“I think Nick probably expected me to come in and deny everything like I’ve done for 10 years. I don’t think I said, ‘Yeah, I robbed Orlando Bloom’s house.’ He might actually be shocked that I own all of this, say what I stole and take responsibility,” she says.

Alexis Neiers, right Tess Taylor from the reality series E! "Pretty wild" Posing for a portrait in Los Angeles in 2009.

Alexis Neiers (right) and Tess Taylor from E!’s reality series Pretty Wild pose for a portrait in Los Angeles in 2009.

(Jim Steinfeldt / Archive Michael Ochs via Getty Images)

And Haines has done the work to get there: She’s been clean and sober for 11 years now. “The bling ring was a Celebration one of the reasons I finally got sober,” she admits. So she doesn’t really mind having her name associated with it anymore. But she has one caveat: She wants her work in the addiction and mental health fields to be recognized — not for herself, but for people to have the critical conversations that can help others heal.

For more than a decade, she has sought to spend her life in ministry, both as a doula and helping others in recovery. She’s also shared much of her personal life, from the intricacies of her marriage to parenting and reflecting on her teenage years on her podcast. “Rest from reality.”

Over time, her social media presence has grown; She has become the wellness-meets-sexuality influencer that can only be described. The trust she’s built with her online community benefits her own “authenticity and vulnerability,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many messages I’ve received from people who are now sharing with me their stories of child sexual abuse, rape, drug addiction, surviving narcissism, or their complex trauma because of my choice to be so vulnerable that I am.” ‘ she muses.

But she’s also grown frustrated over the years and wanted to share those conversations more widely. It started around 2014 write a column for Vice and it seemed she had the opportunity. “I wanted to travel across America, talk to junkies and hear their stories,” she recalls. But a TV episode she filmed for the media outlet, in which she spoke to someone who was prostituting himself for drugs, never aired — and since then, Haines has tried countless times what she believes is a necessary show about recovery , bring on no use.

“I sat in the offices of the CBS executives,” she says. “I had a show idea I proposed that was similar to ‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ but about drugs, and I’m going to host it.” She contrasts her proposed approach with that of A&E’s long-running reality series Intervention . “‘Intervention’ is just watching junkies load up and then their families yell at them, they feel like S— and they feel compelled to seek treatment, but they’ve never sobered up,” she explains. “It is So much more complex and nuanced than that.”

In the meantime, she’s used her online presence to re-introduce herself to a wider audience — including parts of herself she’d never shared so widely before. Last year Haines revealed that she and husband Evan Haines were opening up their marriage and that it was queer. “My sexual identity needed to be honored and explored at this point in my life,” she says.

Throughout this journey of self-discovery, she posted pictures of her girlfriend(s) and partner(s), answered unsolicited questions about the state of their marriage with grace, enlightened followers and trolls alike about non-monogamy, and showed how their partners fit seamlessly into their family. When Haines revealed that she and her husband had separated by December 2021, she endured comments about how her decision to open up their marriage had contributed to the end of the relationship. (Haines retains the reason for their separation between them.) “That’s it difficult being a single mom,” her voice breaks. “It is difficult rebuild your life.”

Even so, Haines revels in how grateful she is. She has a friend who is a supportive partner, and she is considering a new job opportunity by working for a friend’s convalescent center in Portland. And she has everything she ever wanted: a house with a small piece of land and a backyard garden where she makes music all day. Maybe someday, she says, she’ll have a bigger garden with a few goats and chickens, but for now she’s at peace. “My life is so good, I don’t care what happens next,” she smiles. “When you get a second chance like that, the rest is just icing on the cake.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-09-21/alexis-neiers-haines-bling-ring-hollywood-heist-netflix Why Alexis Neiers Haines comes clean in ‘The Real Bling Ring’

Sarah Ridley

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