This article is fascinating and detailed.
The brief excerpts were selected as examples of recruitment tactics used to beguile wealthier, more influential 'marks'.
Her Darkest Role: Actress Allison Mack's Descent From 'Smallville' to Sex Cult
by Scott Johnson, Rebecca Sun May 16, 2018, 6:00am PDT
For this particular Jness weekend, Raniere had dispatched key members of his senior team. Sara Bronfman — who, along with her sister Clare, was an heir to the vast Seagram Co. fortune and a source of substantial financial backing for Raniere — had flown out on her private jet. Salzman's daughter Lauren, a high-ranking member, also came. The reason for the charm offensive: They knew that Allison Mack, then 23 and an actress on The CW's Smallville, would be in the audience, brought by co-star Kristin Kreuk, who had recently joined the group.
This wasn't the first time Nxivm had rolled out the red carpet (Dones calls it "love-bombing") for VIPs. They'd done it for Dynasty star Linda Evans and for the uber-wealthy sons and daughters of disgraced Mexican politicians, who had been flocking to Nxivm in droves. Mack wasn't the first Hollywood catch, but she was a big one — a fan favorite with vivid green eyes and a bubbly charisma. This was her first exposure to Nxivm, and the group's senior leaders wanted to make it special.
Dones says that Lauren Salzman attached herself to Mack that weekend, eating meals with her. "By the end of the weekend, Lauren and Allison were like best friends," she says.
When the seminar concluded, Mack accepted an invitation to fly on the Bronfmans' private jet back to Albany, New York, to meet Raniere in the flesh. They told her Raniere could help her with her acting career. This was a rare development, even for a VIP; most high-profile initiates had to complete at least one 16-day "intensive" at a cost of $7,500 before being granted an in-person meeting with Vanguard.
A couple of weeks later, when Dones traveled to Nxivm's corporate offices and training facility in Colonie, north of Albany, she was surprised to see Mack still there. One Friday night, when Raniere gathered his followers, male and female, in a nearby public gym for a weekly game of volleyball, she found Mack sitting in the bleachers, smiling contentedly at the players. "She said she was having a great time," says Dones.
A close friend and former roommate of Mack's, who previously had rebuffed her solicitations, agreed to have lunch with her, only to find that the rendezvous was actually an ESP recruitment meeting. "They wanted to have an image of success, so it was at a multimillion-dollar property overlooking the ocean in the Pacific Palisades," he says. "You drive up and immediately see the wealth." Mack told him that she would pay for his courses. Instead, he confronted her and told her she was in a cult. "If you used that word, you were done," he says. "You were excommunicated from her life."
Raniere deployed his young TV stars to recruit college students, dispatching Mack, Kreuk and Clyne to emcee A Cappella Innovations, a festival for university singing groups that, according to comments left on an online forum right after the event, left several attendees "unsettled" over the hosts' repeated requests for personal information, such as Social Security numbers. The outreach wasn't entirely successful. "The college kids got uncomfortable," says Bouchey. "Students felt pressured to join the club."