ichelle Pfeiffer once got tangled up with a cult, says Mick Brown in the London Daily Telegraph. Growing up in Orange County, Calif., she trained as a court stenographer and worked as a supermarket checkout girl before deciding she wanted to be an actress. That took some nerve on her part. “I said, going into acting, ‘I’m never moving to L.A.,’ because it scared me. But there was no way you could build an acting career in Orange County.” Not long after arriving in Hollywood, nervous and insecure, Pfeiffer fell under the spell of a quasi-religious group that was dedicated, she says, to “vegetarianism and metaphysics.” It was also dedicated to taking control of her life. For a while, she succumbed, and the cult took most of her cash. “I was pretty young and very alone,” she remembers. But she realized what was happening and walked away. “I didn’t live with them, so I wasn’t that far gone. Much later, I did some research into cults to try to understand what had happened to me, and the way they operate is they hook people on very intellectual and existential ideas. And people who are always questioning and thinking, that kind of personality can sometimes lead to hopelessness—and that’s where they get you.”
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