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How 'Smallville' Star Allison Mack Went From Girl Next Door To Convicted Felon

TheThings logo TheThings 4/10/2022 Jean Bonfils
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In the 2000s, for those who liked Smallville, Tuesday night was a celebration of unbridled teen sci-fi. Each week, fans would tune in to catch the birth of a villain – typically, an unpopular kid on the fringes of high school society who had a bone to pick with the jocks. Then there was a teenage Superman using his newfound alien powers to confront the former; random interjections from the Luthers – who were kinda evil but not really…

All tied in by nostalgic background tracks from the likes of Lifehouse and Evanescence. And of course, there was the season-long dance of ‘will they, won’t they’ between Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) and Clark Kent (Tom Welling).

A ubiquitous but seldom talked about feature of the show was Clark’s best friend and sidekick, Chloe Sullivan. Unlike the former whose role Tom Welling had to be convinced to play, Allison Mack’s ‘Chloe’ character didn’t exist in the comics and was made specifically for Smallville. Unbeknown to everyone, this honorable mention in the Smallville yearbook would later make bigger headlines in real life than any of her co-stars… but for all the wrong reasons.

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Born to an opera singer dad, Allison Mack got her start in acting at the early age of seven. In most of her appearances, she played the role of a harmless good girl. She starred in the iconic Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves and even featured in the family drama 7th Heaven. On Smallville, Mack was the quintessential ‘girl next door’ and after the show ended, she guest-starred as a policewoman in an episode of The Following.

Who Was Allison Mack In Real Life?

In an almost perfect ode to Rihanna’s ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’, the actress’s life off-screen was the antithesis of everything her on-screen characters stood for. Whereas her Smallville co-stars have kept their noses clean, Mack is now an inmate at FCI Dublin thanks to a litany of charges ranging from sex trafficking to forced labor and racketeering.

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Allison Mack’s decline into darkness left few footprints. It’s hard to trace how the downward spiral began. One reader of the actress’s blog scoped out potential clues in her writing during her Smallville days. The reader described Mack’s blog entries as often “weird” musings about concepts of self.

In 2006, on the heels of a two-day introduction to Jness, a women’s mentorship group, Mack joined NXIVM. It’s not uncommon for celebs to get mixed up with cults. The church of scientology, in particular, has been implicated in some pretty serious celebrity cases. But things get a lot murkier when the cult’s MO includes sex trafficking.

How Did Allison Mack Get Involved With NXIVM

NXIVM was based in New York and operated as a multi-level marketing company. The New York Times later reported that the company was merely a front. Defectors of the group alleged that NXIVM was actually a recruiting platform for a secret society called "Dominus Obsequious Sororium" (DOS) in which women were unwittingly brainwashed, physically branded, and eventually forced into sexual slavery.

To unsuspecting recruits, the group purported to offer “female mentorship” through its "Executive Success Programs."

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It is said that Allison Mack’s involvement in NXIVM was active and very intense. She was apparently lured in by the promise of self-improvement. As such, it could be argued – and was by the defense attorneys – that she too was a victim of the group’s founder’s psychological manipulation.

But according to prosecutors, the former Smallville star did, in fact, work her way up to becoming one of NXIVM’s highest-ranking enforcers.

In the words of Nicholas Garaufis, the federal judge presiding over her case, Mack “willingly enslaved, destabilized and manipulated women, using her status as a public figure to deceivingly gain credibility and influence with DOS recruits, while obscuring fundamental facts about the organization.”

How Long Was Allison Mack In Jail?

Building up to her trial, Mack was on the brink of a 17 to 40-year sentence at the court’s discretion. Her only saving grace was pleading guilty and cooperating with the prosecution to bring down the cult’s leader, Keith Raniere. As a result, she got off with a much lighter three-year sentence at the low-security FCI Dublin. This turned out to be a decisive stroke for Keith, who was eventually sentenced to 120 years imprisonment in October 2020.

The story sparked so much public interest that it spawned several docuseries about the cult, including HBO’s The Vow and Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult produced by Lionsgate.

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