NEW YORK (NEWS10) — As former NXIVM cult leader, Keith Raniere, continues his attempts to overturn his conviction of 120 years in prison with a new legal team, the whistleblower that started it all commits her latest work to helping others.
Sarah Edmondson and her husband, Anthony “Nippy” Ames, now have a podcast called “A Little Bit Culty” where they explore healing from a cult experience by speaking with experts and fellow survivors.
Their main goal? To help others escape situations like NXIVM and give their audience the knowledge to spot a red flag when they see it.
“When you look back those red flags are indicators that something’s not right,” Sarah Edmondson said. “The next thing you know you’re on a table getting the leader’s initials seared into your body.”
You may recognize Edmondson’s image at the center of many NXIVM stories, where she bravely revealed her brand of Keith Raniere’s initials on her lower abdomen.
However, Sarah told NEWS10 ABC’s Stephanie Rivas that she had plastic surgery to fully remove the brand. Afterward, her skin was stitched back together, leaving nothing but a thin line of scar tissue.
“I touch it every now and then. And it just reminds me of what I’ve been through. And that’s also the irony; Keith used to say, “character is not character unless it’s tested.” Edmondson said.
Sarah and Ames, like many others, believed NXIVM was a self-help organization that was meant to build character to achieve goals. They both helped recruit others to the organization, and Edmondson worked her way up through the ranks to become co-founder of the Vancouver chapter of NXIVM.
“I do feel a responsibility to make sure that everybody gets out. I want to make sure that other people don’t join things like this,” Edmondson said. “And now I have a very clear message that I feel like kind of rights my wrong.”
Sarah has been out in the forefront of taking down NXIVM and bringing Raniere to justice, from the first New York Times article that broke in 2017 to her book, Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult That Bound My Life.
However, “Nippy” hasn’t always been as willing to share their story throughout this experience.
“I’ve been very reluctant to have our personal lives become other people’s entertainment,” said Ames. “But as long as it’s positive, and we can turn our story into some sort of wisdom, I’m okay with it because all you’re going find out is we are human beings.”
Although, the couple lives in Canada now, they previously lived in the Capital Region.
“There’s still a lot of ex-members living in Albany, they may be wearing ankle bracelets. Be kind to them, they’re victims also,” Edmondson said.
They both hope their NEWS10 interview and their podcast will reach some of those local victims.
Additionally, In a self-help-driven world, Edmondson and Ames dream their new podcast will reach a broader audience, making everyone more aware of abusers trying to exploit them financially, emotionally, or physically.
Throughout the episodes, they’ll break down everything from multi-level marketing schemes and mindfulness culture to the latest fads, like Lululemon, because you never know what might be a “littttttle bit culty.”