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Sounds Like A Cult

Author: Amanda Montell & Isa Medina

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A podcast about the modern day "cults" we all follow. Do you think SoulCycle is a cult? What about Elon Musk stans? Or the Royal Family? What about spiritual influencers? Is Instagram itself a cult? We’re Sounds Like a Cult, a podcast that analyzes a different zeitgeisty group every week to try and answer the big question: This group sounds like a cult, but is it really? And if so... how bad is it?
16 Episodes
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Season 2 Is Coming...

Season 2 Is Coming...

2021-09-2801:311

Season 2 of Sounds Like A Cult is coming December 7th! We are so grateful for all you loyal Culties who tuned in to Season 1 and sent us scores of suggestions for Season 2 “cults” of the week. We have a juicy, thought-provoking lineup of zeitgeisty “cults” on deck (from Landmark, to Disney adults, to CrossFit), as well as some extra special guests, so make sure you subscribe wherever you listen to your pods to get notified as soon as we’re back. In the meantime, stay culty, but not toooooooo culty ;)
The Cult of LuLaRoe

The Cult of LuLaRoe

2021-10-1933:38

In the wake of the zealously consumed LuLaRich docuseries on Amazon Prime, we’re releasing a bonus episode on the leggings multilevel marketing company that shook American suburban boss babes throughout the 2010s: LuLaRoe. Ex-MLMers (and fascinated docuseries viewers) keep saying LuLaRoe is nothing but a massive “cult”… but is it really? And if so, how bad is it? This week, we’re unpacking all the culty elements of this fanatically followed group with the help of a special guest: former LuLaRoe retailer Roberta Blevins, who identifies as the company’s “public enemy #1” and who you might recognize from the LuLaRich docuseries or her own “cult-followed” podcast Life After MLM. Follow us on socials! @soundslikeacultpod @amanda_montell  @isaamedinaa
The Cult of Tony Robbins

The Cult of Tony Robbins

2021-08-1736:592

Super-wealthy motivational speaker Tony Robbins physically towers over his thousands of adoring acolytes, boasting a booming voice and omniscient life advice about everything from love to business to trauma, which he espouses at his world-famous conferences… but in light of recent abuse allegations, his cult status is starting to look a lot more predatory than inspiring. Special guest Kate Kennedy of the Be There In Five podcast joins us this week to unpack the cult of motivational speaking and Tony Robbins, discussing peer pressure and forced vulnerability, the connection between Robbins and disgraced self-improvement star Rachel Hollis, and so much more.
The Cult of Astrology

The Cult of Astrology

2021-08-1038:263

Omg, is mercury in retrograde?? Or is this week’s episode analyzing the “cult” of astrology just *that* intense? Co-hosts Amanda (Aquarius) and Isa (Pisces) didn’t realize how little they truly knew about the culture of zodiac signs and horoscopes until discussing with special guest, Jessica Lanyadoo, an astrologer, medium, and podcaster, who’s here to illuminate the culty aspects of astrology in the age of social media (both for good and for ill), explain what astrology even is in the first place, and play a few rounds of “Guess That Cult Leader’s Sun, Moon, and Rising.
Welcome to the world of fitness trackers, high-performance athletic gear, nutrition goo, obsessively comparing your stats, and trying to  beat your PR… it’s the “cult” of marathoners. Is the seemingly healthy practice of running as pure as it‘s made out to be, or can it take over people’s lives in a disturbingly culty way? With the help of a special guest, fitness influencer (and Isa’s comedy pal) Lydia Keating, we’re talking all things athletics, competition, capitalism, and Tik Tok to try and assess how cultish the running community really is.
The Cult of Feet

The Cult of Feet

2021-07-2026:29

A slightly NSFW episode of your favorite cult podcast comes courtesy of this week’s two special guests: the ever-so-charismatic podcaster/writer Gaby Dunn and actor/sex worker Bree Essrig, who both have experience with the “cult” of foot fetishists. Most of our episodes focus on seemingly harmless groups that might actually be more sinister than they appear, and this one’s all about a seemingly freaky, underground community that might actually be quite positive! After listening, be sure to follow Gaby and Bree on Instagram @gabyroad and @breeessrig, subscribe to Gaby’s pods Just Between Us & Bad With Money, and feel free to check out Bree on Only Fans :)
Ask and you shall receive! This week, we’re covering our single most listener-requested topic: The “cult” of multi-level marketing (aka MLMs). Most of us have a former high school classmate or two who got sucked into a pay-and-recruit organization like Amway, Mary Kay, or Young Living. MLMs are at once the butt of countless jokes about pyramid schemes and brainwashed #girlbosses, and yet they maintain a profound hold on a certain slice of aspiring entrepreneurs, who’ve been promised that some shadily structured “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” will guarantee them the American Dream (and more). MLMs are certainly scammy, but are they culty? And if so, what kind of “cult” are they? In this episode, we attempt to find an answer...
“Why does it feel like everything that has to do with tradition is actually a cult?” Such is one of our many musings from this week’s episode on the “cult” of Greek life. We call it “hazing” and “pledges” rather than “brainwashing” and “cult members,” but aren’t these highly exclusive groups with unchallenged power imbalances and bizarre often dangerous (even deadly) rituals—whose culture of “paying your dues” bleeds into the rest of American society—not low-key just a deep-rooted “cult” dressed up as a socially accepted college “experience?” With the help of listener call-ins, insightful facts and figures, and Isa’s own personal sorority stories, that is just the question we’re aiming to answer...
Intense secrecy and exclusivity, unquestioned protocols and rituals, deception, isolation, hierarchies, and soooo much money… nope, we’re not talking about Satanism or Scientology, we’re talking about The Royal Family! ;) This week, with the help of brilliant British journalist Afua Adom, Isa and Amanda attempt to unpack the Meghan Markle interview and other windows in the centuries-old monarchy to determine how “culty” it really is.
These days, the lines between celebrity, religious figure, political leader, lifestyle guru, and best friend have blurred so hardcore that enthusiastic celebrity fans have morphed into a whole new kind of beast: rabidly loyal, obsessed stans. Is worshipping and defending megastars like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and Elon Musk a harmless pop culture phenomenon, or is it decidedly cultier than that? On this episode, Amanda and Isa analyze the “cult” of celebrity stan culture with the help of insightful and hilarious listener call-ins. Which celebrity do you think has the most extreme stans? And does that make them a “cult leader” of sorts??
We always thought of “flat earthers” as nothing but a bunch of spoofable Devil advocates with too much time on their hands... but after closer examination, this community of conspiratorial believers sounds a whole lot more like a cult. In this episode, we engage in an enlightening, guffaw-worthy interview with Abbie Richards (@tofology), a Tik Tok sensation known for her knowledge of conspiracy theories and misinformation, to try and determine how destructive the flat earth community *really* is.
The Cult of The Bachelor

The Cult of The Bachelor

2021-06-0832:311

A heavily controlled, totally isolated group of polygamists who worship one charismatic figure and aren’t allowed to read magazines, watch TV, or speak to their families… is this a cult or the most popular reality dating show in history? This week on Sounds Like A Cult, we’re discussing the “cult” of The Bachelor Franchise with a very special guest, former contestant Kendall Long… and she did not hold back. We got the juicy inside scoop on how culty The Bachelor *really* is to try and figure out whether this objectively bizarre pop culture phenomenon is a Live Your Life, a Watch Your Back, or a Get the Fuck Out-level “cult.”
The Cult of SoulCycle

The Cult of SoulCycle

2021-06-0125:07

SoulCycle is without question a “cult-followed” brand, but is this exclusive boutique workout studio actually more insidious than that? This week, resident cult skeptic Amanda and real-life SoulCycle attendee Isa engage in a hilarious, well-informed debate about the intense, inspiring (and potential sinister) cult of SoulCycle to try and figure out what category along the cult spectrum it falls into: Live Your Life, Watch Your Back, or Get the Fuck Out?
Welcome Trailer!

Welcome Trailer!

2021-05-1300:59

Do you think SoulCycle is a cult? What about Elon Musk stans? Or the Royal Family? What about spiritual influencers? Is Instagram itself a cult? We’re Sounds Like a Cult, a podcast about the modern day cults we all follow. Join us every week as we analyze a different zeitgeisty group to try and answer the big question: This group sounds like a cult, but is it really? And if so, how bad is it...? 1) Live your life, 2) Watch Your Back or 3) Get the f*ck out !
One of our favorite topics to date: In this can’t-miss episode, we’re unpacking the wave of trendy evangelical church groups (like Hillsong, Mosaic, and Churchome), which use Silicon Valley-savvy marketing, celebrity endorsements, charismatic pastors, and a slew of doubtlessly culty recruitment techniques and power structures in an attempt to make Christ “cool” for masses of modern young people. Here to help us understand the cultishness of hipster Christianity is special guest Grace Baldridge, a musician and documentarian behind Refinery29’s “State of Grace” series, which tackles faith, queerness, and American culture. Be sure to follow @GraceBaldridge on Instagram!
Sneak Peek!

Sneak Peek!

2021-05-2503:29

This is Sounds Like A Cult, a podcast about the zeitgeisty cults that have inducted us all—from SoulCycle and Peloton to spiritual influencers to fraternities and sororities to flat earth conspiracy theorists, and beyond. Each episode, your co-hosts Isa and Amanda discuss a different modern-day “cult,” and with the help of guests, games, and legitimate research, we attempt to answer the big question: this group *sounds* like a cult, but is it really? And if so, what category of cult does it fall into? Live Your Life, Watch Your Back, or Get the Fuck Out. Here’s a sneak peek of the show, premiering June 1…
Comments (3)

DrRayTay

I think the real leader of the Bach cult is Mike Fleiss and all the producers are his minions. The producers get close with everyone on the show to get them to open up and then they manipulate whatever the contestants say to create a false reality. They also set up situations for maximum drama. I realize it’s a reality show but the contestants ARE real people.

Sep 29th
Reply

Liz Kardon

lololol. I'm Jewish, I'm Conservative, and I believe in science. Grow up.

Jul 26th
Reply (1)
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