You may not know Bonnie Piesse by name, but if we tell you that she played the young version of Luke Sky Walker’s aunt, Beru Whitesun Lars, in two of the Star Wars movies and now reprising her role in the new Star Wars installment of Obi-Wan Kenobi, maybe it starts to ring a bell. However, the young actress has gone down in history for something very different. For years she was a member and victim of a well-known sect: NXIVM. She too, she and her along with her partner Mark Vicente – the same one for which she entered the organization – she was the instigator of the founder ending up sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking, slavery and organized crime.
Bonnie Piesse is, in fact, one of the protagonists of The oath. An HBO Max documentary that tells the ins and outs of the sect that survived between 1998 and 2012. The Star Wars actress was one of the highest-ranking members of NXIVM and one of the first to break out of the circle of Keith’s criminal organization Raniere, known as “Vanguard” among the members. Some time later, Mark Vicente would do the same with an added problem: he was a close friend of the leader of the sect. Both characters would spend years living in anonymity and hiding for fear of the repression that the leader of the sect could exert on them. Meanwhile, and taking advantage of Vicente’s role as film director, they prepared what would later be the essential material to create the HBO Max series.
The case of Bonnie Piesse, in the role of Beru in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and now Obi-Wan Kenobi, is not the only celebrity within NXIVM. The sect had an important role in personalities of the moment, along with the actress from the George Lucas universe, also one of the protagonists of Smallville. Allison Mack positioned herself as one of the most active disciples of the sect. She is now sentenced to 3 years in prison for recruiting women for Keith Raniere’s sexual sect. Under NXIVM’s executive success program, the cult also reached out to international political leaders. Carlos Emiliano Salinas (son of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari) was the organization’s ambassador to the country.
Bonnie Piesse, the instigator of the end of NXIVM
Bonnie Piesse joined the Keith Raniere sect in 2010 after meeting Mark Vicente at a film conference 3 years ago. At that time, the film director was already an active part of NXIVM – which was presented as a platform for personal branding and marketing work methodology. Piesse, going through a rough patch with her music career, was invited to one of the 5-day workshops. She was already inside the organization.
From there, everything started to get bigger and more complicated. Keith Raniere himself, the couple’s intimate partner, even wrote their marriage vows. He decided everything that involved his life as a couple.
Leaving the initial mirage of the personal brand platform, it was Bonnie Piesse herself who began to notice that something was wrong. The promise of messianic miracles that Vanguard trumpeted, supposedly based on science, was nothing more than stories. The actress had never been particularly thin, considering the standard beauty canon. Several members of the organization began to obsess over their weight and physical appearance. In addition, he noticed that the leader had a certain tendency to be surrounded by a large group of women: in fact, the entire structure of NXIVM was aimed at satisfying the sexual desires of the leader – this division of the sect was known as DOS (Dominus Obsequious Sororium).
Bonnie Piesse was one of the few who raised her voice against Raniere’s role within the organization. the actress of starwars denounced to the leader that he felt the organization was more focused on guilt and coercion: sleep deprivation, caloric restriction and other tools to control its members were very common mechanisms to control members of the sect . It was the beginning of his departure in 2017.
Some time later, the couple began the investigation that ended in trial. Keith Raniere was sentenced in 2020 to 120 years in prison.
What happened next with Bonnie?
After the broadcast of The Juramento, Bonnie Piesse had no plans to get back in front of the cameras. As she herself explained in the documentary, she was still in the process of recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to NXIVM. The actress never thought that she would return to the role of the young version of Aunt Beru in Star Wars.
As stated in an interview in she It was Deborah Chow herself, director of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who contacted her. She had not considered returning to Hollywood until she was invited to reprise her role in the new starwars on Disney+.
Outside the world of cinema, Bonnie Piesse has dedicated her time to other tasks that have nothing to do with the show. She living in Portugal with her husband for a long time, the actress of starwars has been dedicated to the world of tarot. Soul + Sky is Piesse’s new company as she continues her career as an actress and folk singer. According to her website, she calls herself a second generation tarot reader who has deepened her intuitive connection after the awakenings she has had in her life.