(Los Angeles, CA / January 18, 2023) — Cami Strella has seen a lot in her twenty-something years of life, but joining a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) business-based scheme, which ran its practices like a strict religious cult, still stands out as her most indelible learning experience to date.
“This particular network marketing scheme operated on recruiting people to recruit others in order to directly sell products that may or may not be effective, and I would describe it as being the opposite of NXIVM, the notorious organization that brainwashed young women into becoming sex slaves,” she says of the experience.
“I was forced into celibacy and punished when I watched porn or did anything that was considered aberrant behavior to them. I once confessed to my upline (mentor) that I had broken my vows and was labeled a sex addict, sent to a ‘therapist’ who charged me $200 an hour to make me recite every person’s name I ever slept with to ‘break the ties’ with these people. I honestly couldn’t remember a lot so the sessions with her ended pretty quickly!
“I was ordered to approach at least five people a day and have them meet with me over coffee so I could pitch our business, then give them a book to read. If they read the book by our next meeting within the week, it was a green light; if they didn’t, I moved on. I was trained to seek out the most desperate and vulnerable with the goal of retiring early by recruiting enough people to financially support ourselves. I found that same happy ending in adult entertainment… no pun intended!
“My brother recruited me in 2017, but I soon learned just how extreme my mentors were. Being around entrepreneurs and so much money really dazzled me; I gave up absolutely everything to pursue this, as I was inspired by all of the cars, private jets and travel my mentors participated in. After surviving a physical attack that nearly ended my life, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I packed my things, sold my car and moved far, far away.
“It’s funny how outsiders tend to look down on the adult industry and deem it ‘unsafe’ and ‘exploitative’, but I’ve only ever felt unsafe with people outside of the industry. As awful as this situation was though, I got quite the education in those two years; I learned everything I now know about business, development and finance through this organization. If I hadn’t joined this cult, I wouldn’t know what I know now about running a business!”