Former male supermodel Hoyt Richards spoke out about how fellow supermodel Fabian helped him when he left a doomsday cult after 20 years. He shared the story in a new interview, recalling his years of living a double life, as a famous supermodel, yet subject to the total control and impossible standards of a destructive cult.
Now 51-years-old, Hoyt Richard has become an actor, filmmaker, producer and writer. Along with his friend Fabian, he has co-produced and co-stars in a new movie ‘Dumbbells’ out in theaters and VOD whose setting evokes Upper East Side’s Vertical Club, a 1980s fitness club scene which functioned as a thinly disguised singles scene.
But his rise to fame as a supermodel was a storybook tale. While still a student studying economics at Princeton University, the six-foot-two, blond haired Hoyt Richard — fitting the “all American” male model type — was discovered and signed by a modeling agency.
He quick rose to the top tier of modeling. As he describes it in an interview with with the New York Post, “At one point, I’m in a bustier, and I’ve got Naomi Campbell in a thong behind me, Christy Turlington in a thong in front of me…I’m thinking, ‘How many millions of guys would want to be where I am right now?’ ”
Yet during those same years, he was also member of Eternal Values, a cult which believed the end of the world was coming soon. He had been recruited by them when he was just 16 years old. Describing himself as “brainwashed,” he said, “I didn’t see my parents for 12 years. It was a nightmare…I lived the life of Johnny Supermodel, taking the Concorde all over the world. Meanwhile, my life was controlled. I was living a double life.”
He went on to note the extreme disparity of those two lives, “Everyone else was living it up. It was like, ‘Hey, let’s go to Madonna’s for the weekend!’…But I was like, ‘No, no. I can’t. The end of the world is coming.’ ”
He spoke about how it was that he came to leave the group, at age 37. “I bolted, and the funny thing was, one of the few places I knew I could go where I wouldn’t be asked a lot of questions was Fabio’s…I lived with him for a year. If I had to write a memoir, there would be a chapter about how Fabio saved my life.”
He eventually sued the Eternal Values cult in 2002 and was able to recoup some of the $4.5 million he had given them over the years, as they had complete control of his finances along with every other area of his life.
He went on to talk about the past ten years of his life, since leaving Eternal Values saying, it “has been about living my life on my own terms for the first time ever…That’s how I got into the writing and producing. One of my therapists told me to do something creative, because that’s how you rebuild your self-esteem.”
True to his word and to his commitment, Hoyt Richards has made a remarkable recovery as he continues his new career. His story goes a long way towards de-stigmatizing those who join cults and those who, through some means, find the courage and determination to leave. As a Princeton graduate and as a top supermodel, could there be a more stereotype-defying member of a cult? It goes to underscore that intelligence has nothing to do with it; it’s mind control, manipulation, and, as Richards himself said, “brainwashing” which can happen to anyone.
Hoyt Richard spoke in depth about his experience with the Eternal Values cult in a lengthy video interview which you can see below along with the trailer for his latest movie, ‘Dumbbells.’
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