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Meet Meili Cady, a small-town girl from Washington State who—like many before her—moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Although you'd be hard-pressed to find an expat who hasn't fallen into Hollywood's starry party scene for a hot minute, Cady stumbled into it hard and hung out with the wrong people, namely Lisette Lee—an alleged Samsung heiress who coined herself the "Korean Paris Hilton" but is better known as the "Pot Princess of Beverly Hills."
Long story short, Lee allegedly lured Cady into the most notorious marijuana trafficking ring in BH, which resulted in Cady serving a short time in prison and a year of home confinement following her and Lee's headline-heavy arrest in 2010. Cady started a blog while locked up in her Hollywood apartment and, most recently, wrote a tell-all called Smoke, which hits bookstores on March 24th.
Here, Cady tells us more about her life with Lee, why she started a blog, how a Melrose consignment shop helped her identify designer knockoffs, and what she really thinks about that other Beverly Hills ring.
How did you meet Lisette?
I was introduced to Lisette through a mutual friend; that in itself gave some credibility to whatever she told me about her background. Everything she said was supported by someone I had already come to trust, so I wasn't as skeptical of her initially as I might have been. I was also very young and had no frame of reference for what the life of an heiress in Beverly Hills would involve. It all seemed incredibly strange—the way she seemed to live, the way she described her life—but then again I already viewed her as an outlier in all regards, so I accepted her life as being bizarre and unlike anyone else's.
Did she give you flashy gifts?
The first gift exchanges between us actually came from me. It was a purple and pink glass-blown weed pipe from Pike Place Market in Seattle. She told me that her maid had accidentally shattered hers, so I bought a replacement for her during a trip home. After that, she would give me gifts from time to time, like designer handbags and jewelry. She gave me some clothing, too. She never really bought things with me in mind; she just gave me things that she just seemed to have laying around.
What's the craziest situation you were put in?
I think being arrested by a veritable army of DEA agents wearing bulletproof vests and aiming sub machine guns at us ranks pretty high on my list of crazy experiences!
Which LA boutiques did you and Lisette shop at during that time? Where did you sell off your goods?
While I never sold anything, I took the items she gifted me to a consignment shop on Melrose called Decades to see if they were genuine, which they turned out not to be. One knockoff was a Chanel black quilted tote.
Lisette and I rarely shopped together. She was a recluse and preferred to spend time at home. The first time we ever hung out, we did some light shopping at a small, casual boutique on Melrose Avenue. I don't remember the name.
Do you keep in touch with Lisette?
Lisette and I haven't spoken since the day of our arrest.
What are your thoughts on the Bling Ring?
From what I know of the Bling Ring, I think it was a blindly selfish, egocentric group of people who saw their value and the value of others measured in materialism. Everyone was very young though, so hopefully they've grown up and learned from their experience.
Besides writing your blog, how did you kill time on house arrest?
I watched a lot of TV—lots of documentaries, lots of Breaking Bad and Dexter. For some reason, I was really into watching paranormal documentary shows. Not such a great idea when you're kind of trapped in your apartment if you get spooked! But I found them interesting. I was also a member of a cheese club and had a monthly delivery. That was fun and strange. It was all strange, but I decided early on to embrace the experience for what it was.
I had friends over a lot, and that helped switch things up. I had a gym in my apartment building also, and I worked out usually about an hour a day. One of the great things about my building was a bbq in the backyard, and during the summer I had friends over to barbecue shrimp and veggie skewers. I bought tiki torches and we lit them around the yard. It was fun. I made the best of it, and I had some memorable experiences. Writing regularly and having a structure for writing goals was probably the best thing I spent my time on. It really kept me sane and optimistic for the future.
Which blogs do you follow?
To be honest, I don't follow many blogs. I keep up with many of the major news sites, and I listen to NPR's Fresh Air via podcast. I am more into podcasts these days.
Who would you love to play you in the film adaptation of your book?
It's hard to beat Jennifer Lawrence for just about any role. I also really like Shailene Woodley!
Fascinated? Meet Cady at Book Soup (8818 Sunset Boulevard) this Thursday, March 26th at 7pm to get hear more tales and get your book signed.