‘The Real Bling Ring’ Spotlights the Teens Who Robbed Paris Hilton and the Hollywood Elite

Courtesy of Netflix

Few series have made Hollywood and its fame-hungry residents look more pitiful, shameful, and altogether gross as The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, a three-part Netflix affair (Sept. 21) about the group of L.A. teens who committed a string of robberies—including, famously, on the homes of celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Audrina Patridge, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, and Lindsay Lohan—in the mid-to-late 2000s. Driven by interviews with two of the gang’s chief members, director Miles Blayden-Ryall’s docuseries is a story about how a nascent reality-centric pop culture and the rise of social media helped create a collection of entitled attention-craving kids who believed that the world was theirs for the taking, and that scandal was a surefire way to stardom. Which it was, in a certain sense—a notion underscored by the fact that they’re now headliners of their own Netflix project.

The non-fiction version of the tale that Sofia Coppola dramatized with 2013’s The Bling Ring, The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist is led by Nick Prugo, who as a high-schooler began robbing luxury vehicles in and around Los Angeles with his friend Rachel Lee. By this point, Nick had already had a handful of TV jobs, but as he tells it, what he most liked about the industry was less the craft of acting than the accoutrements that were its rewards. His illicit pastime with Rachel was thus intensely satisfying, allowing him to fashion himself as a rich, stylish person of interest. Given that this was the dawning era of Hilton, Kim Kardashian, The Osbournes and TMZ-enabled insta-celebrity predicated not on talent but, rather, on glamour, wealth, outrageousness, and notoriety, Nick was convinced that he was as cut out for fame as anyone else.

Having been allowed virtual entrée into the homes and lives of these 21st-century tastemakers (via Cribs and Perez Hilton’s tabloid site), Nick felt that he had every right to literally break into their abodes—something he soon began doing with Rachel. At the same time, he befriended Alexis Neiers (now Alexis Haines), who along with her sister Gabrielle and best friend/adopted sibling Tess were groomed for reality-TV fame by their mother Andrea, who outs herself in The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist as a showbiz momager from Hell. A former pin-up who admits to smoking weed with her daughters (in order to court their acceptance) and promotes her The Secret-inspired ethos that goals are manifested through positive thought—a sentiment she indoctrinated her kids with via daily mantras about thriving in the entertainment business—Andrea comes across like a cheery lunatic who bred Alexis to prize celebrity above all else. It was a shallow strategy that worked, netting the clan an E! show about their lives (Pretty Wild) produced by Amber Mazzola and Gennifer Gardiner.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Source: The Daily Beast

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