‘The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist’: Why Andrea Arlington-Dunne Is the Real Villain in This Story

The new Netflix documentary, The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, gives audiences a closer look at the string of robberies committed by a group of teenagers in 2008 and 2009. Nick Prugo, Rachel Lee, Alexis Neiers, and others targeted stars in Beverly Hills. Addicted to fame, the Bling Ring stole hundreds of dollars worth of items from people like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Rachel Bilson. Neiers and Prugo both give first-hand accounts of how it all went down. And, truthfully, neither of them seems all that sorry for their actions. However, it’s Neiers’ mother, Andrea Arlington-Dunne, who proves to be the most problematic in the grand scheme of things.

Andrea Arlington-Dunne wearing a formal dress on the left and a blue button down shirt on the right.
Andrea Arlington-Dunne | Cr. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Recovering From Reality

Andrea Arlington-Dunne grew up in the industry

When viewers meet Arlington-Dunne in The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, she gleefully tells producers about her modeling career starting at age 16. She started doing what she calls “sexy lingerie shoots,” before moving on to publications like Playboy. Arlington-Dunne met Neiers’ father, Michael, on the set of a sitcom, and the couple enjoyed a life of excess. Eventually, the pair divorced. Arlington-Dunne found herself struggling to make enough money to keep up with the lifestyle she had when married.

She filed for bankruptcy before deciding to become a minister for the Church of Religious Science. Neiers describes the religion as “a cross between Buddhism and witchcraft.” Neiers’ sister, Gabbie Neiers, explains that Arlington-Dunne forced her to watch a documentary called The Secret on repeat one summer as punishment for getting drunk when she was 12 years old. Using teachings from the church, Arlington-Dunne created vision boards and wrote affirmations in order to “activate the Law of Attraction” to bring about changes in their lives. Specifically, Arlington-Dunne wanted her daughters to find success in the entertainment industry.

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Conflicting stories on how Andrea Arlington-Dunne got Alexis Neiers into pinup modeling

The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist features contradictory accounts from Arlington-Dunne and Neiers regarding how Neiers started pinup modeling. Neiers claims that because she and her live-in friend Tess Taylor began using drugs and drinking, Arlington-Dunne told them they needed to start working. Arlington-Dunne says the girls came to her with the idea of pinup modeling. Neiers says her mom pushed them to take the leap.

At only 16 years old, Neiers explains that her mom drove her and Taylor into downtown Los Angeles to get fake IDs for the girls. This allowed them to begin working risque modeling jobs. Instead of punishing the girls for their drug and alcohol use like most parents, Arlington-Dunne pushed them into an industry known for taking a dangerous toll on young adults.

The photos show Neiers and Taylor in intimate embraces wearing only lingerie and situating themselves in suggestive poses while only half-dressed. Neiers, now a mother of two daughters, tells the producers she “can’t even imagine subjecting them to that” at such a young age.

Arlington-Dunne attempts to defend her actions by saying she did the same type of work at the age of 14. But is it even possible to defend that? What parent hopes their children find success in a world known for an exorbitant amount of sexual predators? Arlington-Dunne seems so focused on finding the spotlight for herself that she doesn’t notice the destruction she left in her wake.

Andrea Arlington-Dunne’s own selfish quest for the spotlight impacted her daughters

Had Arlington-Dunne paid more attention to her daughters instead of hoping to land a reality television show for their family, Neiers might not have ended up in the Bling Ring. While Neiers certainly isn’t innocent, she does say she felt unloved at home. With her mom’s flighty behavior, Neiers managed to slide into a life of addiction with no one there to help.

Even in 2022, Arlington-Dunne appears oblivious to how her actions contributed to Neiers’ downfall. In front of the camera, Arlington-Dunne continuously poses and smiles for the camera. She acts as if this is yet another chance for her to make her presence known in Hollywood instead of a documentary on the terror her daughter helped create for several young stars at the time. To be fair, neither Neiers nor Prugo seem too upset about the damage they caused, but it’s Arlington-Dunne who comes across as the most outlandishly out of touch with reality.

Check out the docuseries The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist streaming exclusively on Netflix.

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