After ‘LuLaRich’, new documentary LuLaRoe offers another take on controversial MLM
Releases in September 2021, the docuseries of Prime Video LuLaRich explored the inner workings of the multi-level marketing company LuLaRoe. Now another leggings empire documentary is here. The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe abandoned on discovery + on December 13. It covers roughly the same territory as its predecessor. However, this new LuLaRoe documentary includes new details that make it appealing to those interested in the controversial clothing retailer.
‘The Rise and Fall of LuLa Roe’ includes new interviews with MLM, cult pundits
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The starting point for The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe is the work of journalist Stephanie McNeal, who has written extensively on the company for BuzzFeed. (The documentary is produced in partnership with McNeal and BuzzFeed Studios.) McNeal is a leading talking head in the 105-minute film. Cult expert Rick Ross, Worship author Amanda Montell, and Jana Marie, host of The dream podcast, which explored the shady world of MLM in its first season, also appears.
In addition to the experts, we also hear from former LuLaRoe employees, including a man who worked in the company’s warehouse and shares the story behind the infamous moldy leggings scandal. There’s also Elijah Tucker, a young man who was recruited to work at the company’s high-energy events when someone spotted him dancing on a beach on vacation. Of course, several former LuLaRoe consultants appear. They share their experiences – good and bad – with the company that promised full-time pay for part-time work.
“The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe” vs. “LuLaRich”
If you’re screwed LuLaRich, a lot of The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe will feel familiar. This four-part series contained tons of behind-the-scenes details of the leggings company. It also featured exclusive interviews with founder Mark and DeAnne Stidham.
The discovery + series touches on some of the same notes. There are images of the surly Stidhams giving depositions in a lawsuit alleging the company was a pyramid scheme. There’s the clip of Samantha Bee poking fun at LuLaRoe’s comically evil cartoons. And there are images of consultants having a blast on cruises and conferences.
Corn The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe also brings something new to the table. Through interviews with experts like Ross, he demonstrates that the company operates like a cult. It touches on the prosperity gospel, or the idea that God wants you to be rich. He also addresses the issue of race and LuLaRoe through interviews with Tucker and business coach and entrepreneur Vivian Kaye.
Much of the world of LuLaRoe is white. But Kaye clearly points out how society has used the black vernacular in their posts. This is followed by a cut to various white consultants delivering a shredder, “Hey girl, hey!” as they try to sell leggings. The result is to reduce people of color to “seasoning,” Kaye argues. Tucker looks back on his experience as one of LuLaRoe’s few black employees. He jokingly describes himself as the “unicorn of LuLaRoe”. But then it becomes more serious, admitting that he definitely suffered “a kind of racism” during his time with the company.
Discovery + documentary LuLaRoe hits the bottom of the pyramid
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The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe also touches – but not too deeply – on a subject that has not been addressed in LuLaRich: Who makes the clothes? As one interviewee points out, the bottom of the LuLaRoe pyramid isn’t in consultants who just paid thousands of dollars to start a home-based business. Instead, it’s the low-paid workers who make the clothes the company sells.
We see brief but unsettling footage of DeAnne and others from LuLaRoe visiting a factory that makes the company’s clothing. âThey treat them very well. There is excellent air conditioning, âshe says. âWe don’t judge anyone,â she adds. “We just accept what they are doing in their country.”
So, is The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe worth watching? At 105 minutes, it’s less of a time commitment than LuLaRich but touches many of the same points. For those who found the early docuseries compelling, the new film sheds more light on why LuLaRoe was so successful and how it imploded so dramatically.
The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe is currently streaming on discovery +.
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