The podcaster and member of the infamous 'Bling Ring' robbers opened up to ET about her experience.
It's been more than a decade since a group of young burglars known as the Bling Ring targeted celebrities' houses in a series of high-profile crimes that fascinated the nation. Now, a new Netflix docuseries is looking inside the true story of the crimes, and one of the members, Alexis Haines, is opening up about her involvement in the series and looking back at the infamous crime spree.
Haines -- who gained infamy while going by the surname Neiers and pleaded no contest to first degree burglary in 2010 and served one moth of a six-month sentence -- recently sat down with ET's Denny Directo, and reflected on why she participated in the new series, The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist.
"I think it's just a testament to recovery. I certainly was not ready 11 years ago to have this conversation. I wasn't capable back then of really being honest with myself and about my journey," Haines shared. "So when I was presented this opportunity over a decade later, I felt like this was it, that it was the time."
Haines was one of seven members of the infamous crime ring, who targeted celebrities in Hollywood and Calabasas, and stole over $3 million in cash and personal belongings over the course of a year and dozens of break-ins. Haines, however, maintains that she was only ever involved in one of the burglaries at the home of Orlando Bloom.
Despite this, it was Haines who was painted as one of the main ringleaders of the spree. In the 2013 crime dramedy The Bling Ring, Emma Watson portrayed the fictionalized character based on Haines, and many seemed to paint her as the focal point of the group.
"I was never charged with any other houses, but I became the face of it?" Haines said, expressing her frustration with the way her involvement has been portrayed in the press. She credits "misogyny [and] sexism" for why the media has placed so much of the crime spree on her shoulders.
"Honestly, I don't think the story of the Bling Ring would have lasted more than a hot minute in the news cycle had it not been about a young, you know, conventionally pretty girl who had her own TV show on E!," Haines said, referring to her participation in the reality show Pretty Wild, which she was filming at the time of her arrest and subsequent trial.
"This scandal happened and then an article was written and then eventually a book and then eventually a movie, and now here we are, 11 years later, doing a docuseries about it for Netflix," Haines said. "I’m not sure why this scandal has lasted as long as it has."
According to Haines, she has "never seen the film" based on the crime spree, and doesn't feel any fictional retelling could truly convey the real story.
"The story of the Bling Ring is so much more nuanced and complex than how its portrayed in the book or in the movie, and that’s why I’m so excited for the docuseries," she shared. "Because it really talks about the complexities that were happening that were missed."
Haines admitted that it was a "a very, very dark time in my life," when she was convicted, and recalled how she was battling severe addiction -- which was also one reason she took a plea deal when it was offered.
"I was a full-blown heroin addict. There was no way that I was gonna stand trial," Haines said, adding that the plea deal and subsequent jail time "was the best thing that ever happened to me."
"I’m so glad I took a plea deal and so glad I went to jail. I don’t think I would be alive today had I not gotten that sentence and finally gotten sober," she shared. "I honestly don’t think I would be alive."
Her own recovery, and efforts to rebuild her life, is one reason she's looking forward to seeing what the documentary might be able to do to motivate and help those who watch it.
"I just hope that people feel inspired to heal, if that’s what they need. I think millions of Americans are suffering with mental health and addiction issues and I think many feel stuck. I think many feel ashamed and scared and I just hope that people can see and hear my story and feel inspired to take that action to get better. Because they deserve it," Haines shared. "You're deserving and worthy of healing, no matter what choices you’ve made in your life."
The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist premieres Sept. 21 on Netflix.