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

While you consider Alexis Haines (née Neiers), one notorious picture in all probability involves thoughts. It’s from 2010, when she starred on the short-lived E! actuality present “Pretty Wild.” With mascara streaming down her face, she leaves a hysterical voicemail for Vainness Truthful reporter Nancy Jo Gross sales, who wrote a less-than-flattering story about her involvement within the Bling Ring, with a pointed grievance: She had actually not worn six-inch Louboutin heels to courtroom.

They had been really “four-inch little brown Bebe shoes.”

Whereas that picture — one which launched a thousand memes — could also be cemented into the minds of viewers who not solely adopted the Bling Ring trial but additionally watched “Pretty Wild,” it’s a far cry from the Haines of right this moment. Now, the previous TV character spends her mornings doing prayer and meditation and watering her backyard whereas her canine play within the yard. When she’s not taking good care of her two daughters, Harper, 9, and Dakota, 6, she’s taking an alcoholic to an AA assembly and spending the rest of the day taking calls from her sponsees and different girls in restoration. It’s, actually, fairly wild.

If it had been two years in the past, Haines in all probability wouldn’t be calling, not to mention Zooming. However she is at present revisiting the colourful previous, because of “The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist,” a three-part Netflix documentary the place Haines and Bling Ring member Nick Prugo inform their sides of the story surrounding the 2008-2009 string of Hollywood burglaries. Cozied up within the streamer’s Los Angeles workplace after an extended day of press, Haines has traded within the majority of her glam for a darkish brown sweatsuit, the one the rest of the tireless day — and her Hollywood previous — being her pageant hair, smoky eyes and shiny nails.

Over time, Haines has tried to distance herself from the Bling Ring. So what made her resolve to take part in a buzzy docuseries about it? Director Miles Blayden-Ryall’s nuanced method to storytelling, Haines says.

“A couple of years ago, I just wished that my name and the Bling Ring would no longer be associated because I felt like I had done so much more with my life,” she sighs. “And the longer I’ve been sober, I’ve realized that we don’t heal by pushing away our recovery or our story, we recover by owning all of the messy, complex parts that often make it really magical,” she gestures as if she’s casting air spells.

Past recalling how a bunch of youngsters had been capable of steal from the houses of celebrities like Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton and Rachel Bilson, the documentary tackles the motivations behind burgling these houses: not justifying it, not condoning it, however contextualizing why the Bling Ring occurred within the first place.

For Haines particularly, it was a lot deeper than stealing from celebrities. “If it was about getting stuff I wouldn’t have robbed Orlando Bloom’s house, I would have been at Audrina Patridge’s,” she laughs.

The 31-year-old’s half within the Bling Ring stemmed from her habit, which was a method for her to masks her trauma from abuse. “My story is one that involves incest, early childhood sexual abuse, rape, and it started when I was 4 and went on until I was about 8. I was also abused by my dad’s girlfriends and by babysitters, and I was raped when I was 17 by a really powerful man in Hollywood,” she remembers. Haines wanted cash to gasoline her drug use, to assist her cope. “Addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” she asserts. “You don’t just become a heroin addict.”

However the documentary sees Haines taking accountability in a method she maybe hasn’t previously — one thing that she thinks will shock Prugo, too. She was lastly prepared to talk her fact, and he or she wished there to be the potential for closure for the victims.

“I think Nick probably expected me to come in and to deny everything like I had been for 10 years. I don’t think it was me going, ‘Yeah, I robbed Orlando Bloom’s house.’ He might actually be shocked by me owning all of that, saying what I stole and taking responsibility,” she says.

Alexis Neiers, proper, and Tess Taylor of E!’s actuality collection “Pretty Wild” pose for a portrait in Los Angeles in 2009.

(Jim Steinfeldt / Michael Ochs Archives through Getty Photographs)

And Haines has performed the work to get there: She’s been clear and sober now for 11 years. “The Bling Ring was a massive part of why I ended up getting sober,” she admits. It’s why she doesn’t actually thoughts her title being related to it anymore. However she has one caveat: She desires the work she does within the habit and psychological well being areas to be acknowledged — not for herself, however so that individuals could have the crucial conversations that may assist others heal.

For greater than a decade, she’s tried to spend her life in service, each as a doula and serving to others going by way of restoration. She’s additionally shared a lot of her private life, from the intricacies of her marriage to parenting to reflecting on her teenage years on her podcast, “Recovering From Reality.”

Alongside the best way, her social media presence has grown; she’s develop into what can solely be described as a wellness-meets-sexuality influencer. The belief she’s constructed together with her on-line neighborhood, she says, comes from her personal “authenticity and vulnerability.” “I can’t tell you the amount of messages that I’ve received from people who now share with me their stories of child sexual abuse, rape, drug addiction, surviving narcissism or their complex traumas because of my choice to be as vulnerable as I am,” she displays.

However she’s additionally discovered herself annoyed over time, desirous to share these conversations on a bigger scale. Round 2014 she started writing a column for Vice and it appeared like she might need the chance. “I wanted to go across America, talk to junkies and hear their stories,” she remembers. However a TV episode she filmed for the media firm, by which she spoke with somebody who was prostituting himself for medication, by no means aired — and since then, Haines has tried numerous occasions to pitch what she believes is a needed present about restoration, to no avail.

“I’ve sat down in the offices of the head execs at CBS,” she says. “I had a show idea I pitched that was like ‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,’ but about drugs, and I’ll host it.” She contrasts her proposed method with that of A&E’s long-running actuality collection “Intervention.” “‘Intervention’ is just watching junkies get loaded, and then their families yell at them, they feel like s—, and they feel forced to go into treatment, but they never achieved sobriety,” she explains. “It’s so much more complex and nuanced than that.”

Within the meantime, she’s used her on-line presence to reintroduce herself to a broader public — together with elements of herself she had by no means beforehand shared so extensively. Final 12 months, Haines revealed that she and her husband, Evan Haines, had been opening up their marriage and that she was queer. “My sexual identity was something that needed to be honored at that point in my life and explored,” she asserts.

Throughout that journey of self-discovery, she posted pictures of her girlfriend(s) and companions, answered unsolicited questions in regards to the state of her marriage with grace, educated followers and trolls alike on non-monogamy and confirmed how seamlessly her companions slot in together with her household. When Haines revealed she and her husband had separated by December 2021, she endured feedback about how their determination to open up their marriage had contributed to the top of the connection. (Haines is protecting the explanation for his or her cut up between them.) “It’s hard being a single mom,” her voice cracks. “It’s hard rebuilding your life.”

Nonetheless, Haines is reveling in how grateful she is. She has a boyfriend who’s a supportive companion, and he or she’s considering a brand new job alternative, working for a pal’s restoration heart in Portland. And he or she has all the pieces she’s ever wished: a home with a little bit piece of land and a backyard within the yard the place she performs music all day. Perhaps at some point, she says, she’ll have a much bigger yard with some goats and chickens, however for now, she’s at peace. “My life is so good, I don’t f— care what happens next,” she smiles. “When you get a second chance like this, the rest is just icing on the cake.”