Melanie And Miranda In The 7M TikTok Cult: Where Are The Wilking Sisters Now?


The first episode of Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult opens with a family making a video and telling the people about what they had gone through and how helpless they felt. Melanie Wilking, together with her parents, Dean and Kelly, put it out on social media that her sister, Miranda Wilking, was brainwashed by a cult run by Robert Shinn and that they hadn’t been in touch for a long time. It all started when the “Wilking Sisters” started their own TikTok channel, and they garnered a lot of popularity and a huge fan following. They worked hard, followed their passion, and showcased their skills, and slowly, the follower count started to increase. They started doing collaborations with a lot of famous social media personalities, and among them was an influencer named James “Bdash” Derrick. James made the Wilking sisters meet his friend Isaiah, who was the son of pastor Robert Shinn.

In the first few meetings, only Melanie realized that going to Shekinah Church and being a part of the group was not something that she wanted to do. She didn’t find anything wrong with what they were preaching, but she just wasn’t too religious. Miranda, on the other hand, stuck around, though it is not clear if she did so because she actually believed in what Robert Shinn said or if James’ presence was a huge factor. Miranda and James were romantically involved with each other at that point in time, and it could be possible that being around the latter could have been a motivation for Miranda for the initial few months. Miranda and James signed a deal with 7M Films, and soon, the talent management company started producing their dancing videos. Miranda cut all ties with her family, and Dean and Kelly realized that even if they wanted to, they couldn’t reach their daughter. They knew that she had been brainwashed, but since she was an adult, they couldn’t do anything about it. 

That was the biggest problem that the Wilkings encountered, as they were told by legal experts that in such cases, their hands were tied up unless and until they found out about some crime happening in the organization. Running a cult is not illegal unless and until the prosecution can prove that there was some crime happening there. The Lee sisters and other survivors who had escaped from Robert Shinn’s facility shared their story, and they combined their efforts in order to bring Robert Shinn into the radar of the law enforcement authorities. Dean even tried going to the Shekinah church in Los Angeles, but he was not allowed to meet his daughter. After allegations were made against Robert Shinn, he defended himself and said that whoever came to him came out of their own free will, and neither the church nor the 7M company were involved in any wrongdoing. The IRS initiated an investigation after a complaint was made against Robert Shinn for tax evasion. Robert took a majority of the earnings of the influencers in the name of donations and service fees, and even after earning thousands of dollars, the dancers were paid a petty amount of $100 per week.

If Miranda had spoken against the godman, then things would have been pretty different, but instead, she posted a video on social media where she said that all the claims made by her family were baseless and that she was extremely happy working with 7M. Since Miranda chose not to be a part of the Netflix documentary, we didn’t know what her perspective was or why she was choosing to be there when, quite evidently, it was a bad deal financially. Miranda chose to meet her parents and decided to be in touch only after they promised not to speak or ask her anything about Robert Shinn or her involvement in the Shekinah church. It could be speculated that maybe the godman had that kind of influence that could make a child go against their parents because otherwise, Miranda’s reactions could not be logically explained. The parents, who brought her up and sacrificed so much for her happiness, were abandoned, and she decided to trust someone like Robert Shinn over them. It was quite sad to see the parents going through such a thing, and the worst part was that they couldn’t do anything about it. Lawrence and Migdalia Raiano’s son, Nick, was also a part of the cult run by Robert Shinn, and they, too, were going through a similar ordeal. Once Priscylla Lee got to know about the influencers being brainwashed by Robert Shinn, she decided to raise her voice. When she told the other victims about her experiences, the first thought that came to Melanie’s mind was if her sister was also going through something similar. But Melanie knew that as long as she didn’t speak about it, not a lot could be done. 

As of now, Miranda Wilking and her husband, James, are still managed by 7M, and they are a part of the Shekinah church. The worst part was that the entire Willking family got to know through social media that Miranda had gotten married. She didn’t even feel like inviting her parents to her special day. This behavior is proof of the fact that she has undergone a drastic change. Until Robert Shinn comes to court and is questioned by the lawyers, the truth will not come out. Miranda still stays in LA, and though she meets her parents now, it is merely a formality, so nobody can claim that she is being held there without her consent. Melanie, on the other hand, decided to get over the trauma of her past life and build a family. She married Austin Ekeler, the famous American football player who, as of now, is a part of the Washington Commanders team. They had a surreal wedding a couple of days before the release of this documentary in Las Vegas. I truly desire that the efforts of all those who decided to speak up against the wrongdoings of Robert Shinn pay off and that the truth comes to light and justice is served when the trials finally begin in 2025. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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