I Survived My Own R. Kelly Story
At first it seemed like the talent scout genuinely wanted to help. Before I knew it, I was trapped in a middle-aged man’s house with creepy rules and sadistic, cult-like punishment.
Illustrations by Anke Gladnick | Edited by Estelle Erasmus
Publisher’s note: This story contains depictions of abuse that may trigger some readers.
I was 21 and probably looked like just another young woman arriving in New York, waiting for someone to pick her up at LaGuardia Airport. My thick brown eyebrows had never been plucked, and preppy classmates in Ohio teased that I looked like a teenager who came from the mountains.
A month before winter break, I’d spotted a flyer on the college theater bulletin board from Paul, a talent scout and director of a children’s performing arts camp where acting, singing and dancing would be taught by industry professionals. He was seeking an unpaid intern.
I called Paul. He sounded older, caring and interested in who I was as a person. He asked what first brought me to the theater.
“I loved Annie as a kid. The plucky orphan was like me,” I responded.
I knew from writing and winning college scholarship essays that I had to trick out my trauma if I wanted…
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