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After getting sucked into a sinister secret society, India Oxenberg’s mother fought to free her.
"Dynasty" star Catherine Oxenberg brought her daughter India to a NXIVM workshop in 2011 when India was just 19. Catherine was hoping the event would be a mother-daugther experience. Little did they both know that NXIVM, which put itself forward as a self improvement company, was a cult.
The multi-level marketing company, which had centers across North and South America, put extra effort into convincing celebrities and Hollywood folk into joining, promising them more success and a higher level of enrichment. India told the New York Times Magazine in 2018 that NXIVM made her realize that she didn’t want to be in the entertainment business like her mother. She then moved to upstate New York to enroll in the school’s pricey "university" with classes on neurolinguistic programming techniques and introductory ethical and psychological theory, according to the Times.
The organization was thrust into the spotlight in 2017 after several former members blew the whistle on the group’s inner sex cult DOS with a shocking New York Times expose. DOS stands for “Dominus Obsequious Sororium,” which is Latin for “Master Over Slave Women.” It was a whole pyramid scheme of "masters" and "slaves" and NXIVM leader Keith Raniere was the grandmaster of them all. Its members were ordered to give monthly collateral — dirt on themselves or loved ones — as they made a vow to obey their masters. Women who became slaves were asked to recruit even more slaves to serve under them.
Women in DOS were then branded with Raniere's initials. Masters would push their slaves to count calories, deprive themselves of sleep and would make them ask permission for nearly everything they did.
India was ultimately brought into the secret DOS society, where she became a slave to former "Smallville" star and high ranking DOS member Allison Mack. Mack forced India to survive off a 500-calorie diet a day for a year, one witness testified last year, the New York Post reported at the time.
India also allegedly gave orders to at least one other slave, according to a 2019 Times Union report. One survivor testified that India and Mack both pushed her to seduce Raniere.
When Catherine realized what was really going on behind the NXIVM’s self-help facade, she tried to get her daughter to leave. When India refused, Catherine eventually turned to the media for help. The struggle put a rift in the mother-daughter relationship. The dramatic ordeal was the basis for Catherine's 2018 book, "Captive: A Mother's Crusade to Save Her Daughter From a Terrifying Cult." The book served as the basis for the Lifetime movie "Escaping the NXIVM Cult: A Mother's Fight to Save Her Daughter."
As the book reveals, India left the group in 2018 following Raniere's arrest. He was convicted last year for racketeering, sex trafficking, and other charges and is currently awaiting sentencing. While a handful of NXIVM members have been arrested and convicted on various charges, like Mack, India has not faced any.
Since she left the group, India seems to be on her path to recovery.
Catherine told “Good Morning America” last year that her daughter is and has “done a lot of healing” and is now “in a very empowered place.”
She began working as a manager at the New York City vegetarian restaurant PlantMade, Page Six reported in 2018. India began dating New York chef Patrick D’Ignazi the same year, according to The Cinemaholic. A former coworker at Plantmade credited love, and not motherly love, for India leaving NXIVM.
“What happens when you meet the love of your life? Boom!” they told Page Six in 2018.
India and Catherine have seemingly repaired their once rocky relationship. Just days after Raniere was convicted, Catherine tweeted out a selfie of herself and her daughter with the caption "celebrating victory!"
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