No Such Thing as a Good Cult w/ Mark Vicente Part 1

Pyramid schemes, sex trafficking operations and cults, oh my! Mark Vicente, an award-winning director who was part of the NXIVM cult, became one of its whistleblowers and has vowed to continue to shed light into the atrocities that happened within the confines of Keith Raniere. Mark reveals how he was manipulated and coerced into joining NXIVM, and how Raniere and other senior members gaslit its female members and ran an underground sex trafficking rink. In part 1 of 2 of this episode, Mark explains how anyone can get wrapped up into a situation like this and why it took him so long to see how much of a narcissist Raniere really was.

Host Information: 

Instagram: Dr Ramani’s IG – @doctorramani

Facebook: Dr Ramani’s FB – @doctorramani

Twitter: Dr Ramani’s TW – @DoctorRamani 

YouTube: Dr. Ramani’s YT – DoctorRamani

Guest Information: 

Instagram: Mark Vicente’s IG – @markvicente

Twitter: Mark Vicente’s TW – @markvicente 

Guest Bio:

Mark was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1965. Taking his first photograph at age four, he quickly discovered his passion for being behind the camera. After attending film and drama school in South Africa, he began working his way up the ranks of the camera department. His first big break came as Director of Photography on the musical SARAFINA, starring Whoopi Goldberg. In 1992, he relocated to Los Angeles to shoot his first studio picture for Disney; FATHERHOOD, starring Patrick Swayze and Halle Berry.

Over the next few decades, he went on to shoot an additional 14 feature films and numerous documentaries, music videos and commercials. Mark soon discovered untold stories he needed to express as a director. He was driven by the conviction that tales of greatness, nobility and introspection could be exciting and financially successful.

Growing up during the Apartheid era in South Africa and its widespread iniquities, Mark learned early on to question fundamental assumptions and beliefs about human behavior, cosmology, existentialism, and mysticism. While that bold curiosity served him well, the path found him in direct contact with truly malignant pathologic personalities masquerading as forward-thinking philosophical leaders teaching self-improvement while inflicting unthinkable damage to their followers… and to Mark himself.

His recent defection from the NXIVM cult was chronicled in the HBO series THE VOW. Mark and a few courageous whistleblowers exposed the criminal activities of this organization, resulting in multiple arrests and indictments.

Mark is currently in production on a number of films including one on Narcissism and Narcissistic abuse.


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This podcast should not be used as a substitute for medical or mental health advice. Individuals are advised to seek independent medical advice, counseling, and/or therapy from a health care professional with respect to any medical condition, mental health issue, or health inquiry, including matters discussed on this podcast.

Navigating Narcissism is produced by Red Table Talk Podcasts. EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jada Pinkett-Smith, Fallon Jethroe, Ellen Rakieten, and Dr. Ramani Durvasula. PRODUCER: Matthew Jones, ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Mara De La Rosa. EDITORS AND AUDIO MIXERS: Devin Donaghy and Calvin Bailiff. 

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