India Oxenberg has told how fellow actress Allison Mack was her ‘master’ in NXIVM and controlled when and how much she ate.
Oxenberg, 29, was speaking in an interview with Good Morning America on Wednesday – the latest in a string to promote a documentary about the cult in which she appears – when she described how Mack would limit her calorie intake.
She also told how she cooperated with prosecutors for nine months to put Keith Raniere, the cult leader, behind bars, and gave them a flashdrive that contained incriminating evidence against him.
‘It was an abusive dynamic just by the sheer fact that she had control over me. She did it strategically. She knew that I was in a vulnerable place in my life and I was desperate for something and she targeted me for that,’ India said.
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India Oxenberg said Allison Mack recruited her to become her slave when he was ‘vulnerable’ then controlled her life, including what she ate, when they were in NXIVM. Mack is shown, right, at court. She is in jail now sex trafficking charges
In the Starz documentary Seduce that airs on October 18th, she gives more details.
‘Allison said, I could only eat 500 calories or less per day. Before eating anything, I had to ask permission so, “master may I please have 90 calories.”
‘It was supposed to be a practice in discipline and self-restraint,’ she said.
India then had to start recruiting women to join the sexual sub-society of NXIVM, but she said she was a ineffective.
‘I was told that I needed to recruit. I was not a good master, I didn’t want to control this person,’ she said.
India had joined the cult in 2011. She did not turn on them until 2018, when her mother – Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg – was finally able to get through to her.
She then started collaborating with prosecutors to build their case against Raniere.
Mack and Oxenberg together in 2018 in Mack’s Brooklyn home. Oxenberg ended up cooperating with prosecutors to put Mack and leader Keith Raniere behind bars
As part of her cooperation, India gave them a flash-drive which contained incriminating evidence on it.
It’s unclear what exactly was on the drive but it helped put him behind bars. Raniere was convicted of child sex trafficking and child porn charges and is awaiting sentencing.
‘I was really there up until the end. I cooperated with the prosecutors for nine months. Up until this point, these people were my friends and people that I trusted and admired,’ India said on Thursday.
Her mother, who joined her for the interview, said she feared India would go to prison too.
‘My greatest fear was the longer she stayed in the more the group was coercing her and incriminating her and getting her to break more laws,’ Catherine said.
Elsewhere in the interview, India described being ‘raped’ by Raniere after he ‘commanded’ her to perform a ‘seduction assignment’.
Keith Raniere is in jail awaiting sentencing on a range of charges including child sex trafficking and child porn. The branding of his initials that members received is shown, right
‘What I thought I was learning was self-help and personal growth. What I was learning was the opposite. It was inhumane
She spent seven years being ‘groomed’ by Raniere and other leaders.
‘That’s years of grooming. When you’re unaware it’s so easy to be led astray especially by people who are masters at manipulation.
‘That’s what these people are. Especially Keith Raniere. If there’s one thing he’s intelligent at, it’s that. He’s a predator.’
Within NXIVM, there was a subgroup that Raniere liked to call a secret society. India says she was recruited for it by Mack, who presented it as a sexual liberation group.
India joined the cult in 2011 when she was 22
‘It was a trap and a ploy for Keith to enslave women for his own sexual desires.
‘The relationship took a different turn and became sexual when I was commanded to do a seduction assignment.
‘That was the beginning of the sexual abuse and I didn’t see it as that at the time,’ India said.
When she joined the organization, she said she was asked to give ‘collateral’ in the form of incriminating information or materials about her family or friends. With that in mind, she said she always had to submit to Raniere.
‘I would describe that sexual relationship as rape. I had given collateral which automatically removes my choice. I did not have the option to say no. Saying no meant hurting my family or hurting my friends and I wasn’t going to do that.’
She and others in the subgroup were branded with his initials in a suburban house in what was presented to her as a bonding ceremony.
Describing it, she said: ‘It was horrible. At the time I thought I was doing this empowering bonding moment with a group of friends that I can considered my nearest and dearest.’
She says she and the other women were told the symbol that was burned onto their skin was a symbol to represent the elements when in fact, it was Raniere’s initials.
‘We were told it was a symbol of the elements and that this was going to be a bonding experience.
‘We were sleep deprived, we were starved, we were coerced. You don’t just decide to be branded. You are coerced into being branded,’ she said.
India and her mother, Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, speaking on Tuesday morning
She has since covered the marking on her skin with an evil eye and a Latin phrase that translates to ‘still learning’.
Catherine tried repeatedly to break her daughter out of the cult but couldn’t get through to her.
‘I was too deeply in. I was scared. I was confused. It was stages of revelations and I started working with a de-programmer who helped me tremendously but I had to be open to it. You can’t force someone to see the truth. I didn’t want to for a long time,’ India said.
Now, the pair appear in a Starz documentary about the cult – Seduce- that will air on October 18. HBO has also released a docu-series about it title The Vow.
Catherine on Tuesday described how trying to coax someone out of a cult is ‘very different’ to other types of intervention.
‘Getting someone out of a cult is very different to a drug intervention, for instance, because they their whole thinking has been taken away. The process of working with a cult defector is to awaken and reignite their critical thinking . To help them start to think for themselves. It’s very gentle. It’s very different,’ she said.
India said she now feels like she has reclaimed her life and body.
‘You don’t have to live with Keith Raniere haunting you, you can learn from it and move on. You can heal and have love. I just feel so lucky that I can have that,’ she said.
Raniere maintains that he did nothing wrong and that all of his sexual relationships with the women in the cult and throughout his life have been consensual.
He is still awaiting sentencing.