Melanie Wilking tried contacting Miranda Derrick after Dancing for the Devil came out: ‘I’ve never lost hope’

Melanie Wilking tried contacting Miranda Derrick after Dancing for the Devil came out: ‘I’ve never lost hope’

The previous day, Miranda, in a social media statement, denied belonging to a cult, claiming her family’s rift started over a strong disagreement about religion. “I have been getting together with them over the past couple years to make amends, move on and work things out as a family,” she wrote on June 4. “This documentary has created a further challenge between us as I work to overcome this public attack. No one likes to be portrayed as their brainwashed/not in control of her own life/shell of herself/human trafficked daughter/sister when that just isn’t the truth.”

For her part, Melanie doubts her sister has seen the documentary. “I feel it is very clear that she did not watch it because it’s so much bigger than just our family situation,” she says. “It was very sad when I read that.”

One week after the release of Dancing for the Devil, Melanie Wilking (now Ekeler) opens up about her current relationship with Miranda, her reasons for participating in the documentary, and what comes next. While Melanie is clearly excited about life as a newlywed and her recent cross-country move to DC, the dancer fights back tears when discussing the future she still envisions with her sister: “Someday we will all be together again and we’ll look back on this as just a crazy period of life.”

Glamour: When I spoke to Dancing for the Devil director Derek Doneen and executive producer Jessica Acevedo, they said your family was reluctant to take part in the documentary. Can you tell me what gave you pause and what led you to take part?

Melanie Wilking: I think we were hesitant because it is such a delicate situation to navigate. There’s no guidebook on how to [proceed] when you have a family member in a cult. And so we didn’t want to make the wrong move. And after going live, we’re like, “we put ourselves out there, how do we continue to keep the story alive?”

And so then we ultimately decided to join the project because we wanted to make sure that my sister had a voice in this. It would be very easy to place the blame on her or some of the other people in the in the church, but they’re all victims. And we wanted to make sure that was, you know, properly said and we could be a voice for them.

And we just immediately connected with Jessica and Derek, and they just approached the situation so respectfully and delicately. Yeah, it was kind of a no-brainer that if we are going to do some sort of documentary or project it was going to be with them.

Some people on social media believe BDash actively recruited your sister and other dancers for 7M. Do you see him as a victim of the situation?

I think, hands down, he’s still a victim. I mean, I think it was the perfect storm that my sister was in a relationship with him. He was, you know, having his friends join this group with him because ultimately he thought this was a good situation. So, hands down, he’s most definitely a victim of the situation as well.

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