The Bling Ring
Lately, I keep having conversations with people in which I explain The Bling Ring. I’ve been fascinated by the story since I read the Nancy Jo Sales article in Vanity Fair in 2010, “The Suspects Wore Louboutins.” I keep dropping the story in conversation casually and then acting all amazed when my friends have no idea what I’m talking about. It seems I have an unhealthy interest in celebrity news that most of my friends/family do not share.
But this story is different. It has Implications about Society In General. And it’s also just really interesting.
In case you’re one of those people unaware of The Bling Ring, here’s their brief story:
A few years ago, a string of celebrities reported burglaries in their homes: Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, and Audrina Patridge Some, specifically Hilton , later found out their homes had been robbed multiple times before they even noticed anything was missing. The police didn’t initially connect the burglaries, but it turns out that all the robberies were carried out by a group of teenagers from the Valley. They admired these celebrities for their fashion sense and started breaking into their Hollywood homes and taking their clothes and other items. In almost all cases, they walked right in to homes not protected by alarm systems and used unlocked doors or keys hidden under mats. Their Bling Ring went on for at least a year; these fame and money obsessed teenagers some how managed to elude the police for that long. In the end, they got careless and started to take massive noticeable amounts of clothing and jewelry and left the homes in disarray, thus leaving a trail that led the police to connect the dots. One of their number, Nick Prugo, blabbed everything after the police were able to connect him to one of the crime scenes. Even though he pointed fingers and gave tons of incriminating details, none of them were charged with everything Nick says they did. There’s no evidence other than his Word. Which…. is not that reliable, when you think about it. Some of them got some minimal time in the slammer, some of them just got probation.
It’s crazy, right? These kids just walked into people’s homes and took things, and it seems like they did it pretty casually. Nick Prugo alleges one of the teens felt so relaxed about their actions that you actually took a dump in Rachel Bilson’s bathroom mid-robbery. Gross. I mean, just think about the themes here: narcissism, celebrity worship, the decay in American Youth (that one is a crowd favorite), the pull of peer pressure, the power of the crowd mentality…. someone should make a movie.
And someone did: Sophia Coppola. The Bling Ring movie just released this summer, and it stars Emma Watson (That’s Hermione Granger, Dad) as one of the teens allegedly involved in the Ring. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s on my list.
If you want to know more, here’s a list of related links:
Start with the original Vanity Fair article, “The Suspects Wore Louboutins.”
Alexis Neiers features heavily in that article, and you can see her freak out about her poor representation in said article in this infamous clip from her short-lived reality show, Pretty Wild.
For a longer version of events, read Nancy Jo Sales’ recently released book, The Bling Ring, which is basically a fleshed out version of the Vanity Fair piece. I read it at the beach, and it is completely absorbing. In addition to telling the story more in depth, she philosophizes about the cultural implications of these events. She also drops some scary stats; for example, she reports 31% of high schoolers “expect” to be famous. WHAT. She also made me think twice about watching reality shows in which women tear each other apart.
If you don’t have time to read the book, Vulture did a round up of interesting tid-bits from the book that didn’t make it to the movie.
Oh, and you should totally see the movie. Here’s the trailer.
Also, Emma Watson started a fake tumblr to get into character as Nikki Moore, a character in the movie loosely based on Alexis Neiers. And someone found it.
And finally, Paris Hilton is loving her return to relevance and agreed to cameo as herself in The Bling Ring. Sophia Coppola took pictures of her house to help promote the movie, and she really does have pillows with her face on them.