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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. Each episode asks the culty questions we’re all wondering… 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? Sounds Like A Cult, hosted by Amanda Montell, author of Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism, 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? 

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Podcast Instagram - @soundslikeacultpod

Host Amanda Montell - @amanda_montell (Preorder her new book!)
114 Episodes
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You're sure to *devour* this week's episode analyzing four generations of wealthy men who, in our little opinion, represent a stunning example of how a powerful American family can resemble a cult. This week, Isa and Amanda are joined by a third co-host of sorts, true crime TikTokker and friend of the pod Lauren Skae (@thezenblonde), who's here to help tell the harrowing story of The Hammer Family, including actor Armie Hammer, who was exposed for a bunch of power-abusive behaviors. Sometimes murder-y, sometimes cannibal-y (allegedly!!!), this one is not for the faint of heart. To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Or follow us on IG @soundslikeacultpod @isaamedinaa @amanda_montell Thank you to our sponsors! Get free shipping on orders over $75 at SKIMS.com  Go to Zocdoc.com/CULT and download the Zocdoc app for FREE. Go to Kosas.com/CULT for 15% off your first purchase of $50 or more plus FREE shipping
It sounds like an episode of Black Mirror: 18-year-old kids are sacrificing their futures and signing their incomes away for the chance to move into a #sponsored Southern California mansion and dedicate every waking moment to the pursuit of online virality. Are TikTok Social Houses an innocuous influencer trend or something more like Heaven's Gate for the 21st Century? This week, Amanda and Isa are joined by performer and Scam Goddess host Laci Mosley to figure out if these uncanny little dystopias are a Live Your Life, a Watch Your Back, or a GFTO-level cult! To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, go to https://linktr.ee/soundslikeacult ! Sponsors: Dipsea: For listeners of the show, Dipsea is offering an extended 30 day free trial when you go to DipseaStories.com/cult. Stitch Fix: Try Stitch Fix today at StitchFix.com/cult and you’ll get 25% off when you keep everything in your Fix. BetterHelp: Visit BetterHelp.com/CULT today to get 10% off your first month.
The Cult of Survivor

The Cult of Survivor

2023-05-2346:192

Volunteering to subject yourself to isolation, starvation, and desperation on a remote island under high-pressure circumstances, all in pursuit of money and fame (aka today's spiritual enlightenment)… is that a dangerous cult we're describing or the premise of America's OG "cult-followed" reality show? Survivor is the topic of discussion on this week's episode, and Isa and Amanda are analyzing everything from the sacrifices contestants make to the behind-the-scenes production to the fanatical fandom to figure out if the show is a Live Your Life, a Watch Your Back, or a Get the Fuck Out-level cult. To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Get 20% off your first order of $40 or more at NextEvo.com/cult  Dipsea is offering an extended 30 day free trial when you go to DipseaStories.com/CULT You can find Julie at your local CVS Target or Walmart or by visiting Juliecare.co  
The Hippocratic Oath says do no harm. Explain elitism, secret societies, and debilitating physical and mental exhaustion to the point of potentially harming both doctor and patient, then?? Such is the "cult" of med school, this week's in-demand topic, which Amanda and Isa are discussing with insights from listeners who've survived this seemingly prestigious, but sneakily damaging (allegedly!!!) everyday "cult." To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Click HERE To get YOUR tickets to Sounds Like A Cult Live in London on May 26th! Thank you to our sponsors! Get $10 off your first month of Nutrafol by visiting nutrafol.com and entering promo code CULT  Visit article.com/CULT for $50 off your first purchase of $100 or more Go to DAILYHARVEST.com/cult to get up to $65 dollars off your first box!  Visit BetterHelp.com/CULT today to get 10% off your first month.    
America's favorite buxom, rhinestone-clad Southern songstress, Dolly Parton, has a "cult following" like no other celebrity. Thanks to her unmistakable image, her "Dollyisms," her theme park, her illustrious music, and her ability to transcend politics, "Saint Dolly" has become so much more than your average country star. But are there any risks to worshiping a singer as your spiritual idol? Tune in as Amanda, Isa, and special guests Claire and Ashley from Celebrity Memoir Book Club attempt to break down Dolly Parton's iconic "cult." To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Go to Zocdoc.com/CULT and download the Zocdoc app for FREE. Visit AURA.com/CULT for a 14 day free trial. Get 10% off your first order sitewide & free shipping on orders over $60 with code CULT at OSEAMalibu.com.
This *highly* requested topic has all the makings of a modern-day cult: mystery, unquestioned loyalty, and the future of children's hearts and minds at stake. But does that make it dangerous?? This week, Amanda and Isa dive into the cult of Montessori education, those idyllic primary schools where kids allegedly (!!!) access transcendant knowledge with nothing but wooden blocks and hippie vibes (oh, and $40,000 annual tuition). Are Montessori schools a brilliant alternative approach to learning or something insidiously culty? With the help of listener call-ins, @amanda_montell and @isaamedinaa are aiming to unpack just that. To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Get 20% off your first Liquid Death apparel purchase available exclusively at LiquidDeath.com/CULT Dipsea is offering an extended 30 day free trial when you go to DipseaStories.com/CULT  
The Cult of Coachella

The Cult of Coachella

2023-04-2557:07

What began as a Woodstock-esque alt music fest in the '90s for fans of indie electronica to get freaky in the California desert has swiftly morphed into more of a celebrity horror show/Instagram museum, where people pay thousands of dollars to gather on a hot slab of corporate-sponsored land, wear disposable outfits, and pretend to have fun. Has Coachella just become obnoxious or something more like a cult?? As we come down from the festival hype this month, with the help of no-holds-barred listener call-ins, Isa and Amanda aim to find out! To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Get free shipping on orders over $75 at SKIMS.com  You can find Julie at your local CVS Target or Walmart or by visiting Juliecare.co Get $10 off your first month of Nutrafol by visiting nutrafol.com and entering promo code CULT   
The Cult of Heterosexuality

The Cult of Heterosexuality

2023-04-1801:09:522

One of our fav episodes to date tbh. The promises include acceptance, stability, and fertility, but the reality = rigidity, conformity, and oftentimes outright shunning. Thinking about heterosexual culture as a "cult" might seem far out at first, but teasing it out with comedian Ashley Gavin, whose hilarious comedy special is viewable April 23 on YouTube, Isa and Amanda unpack sooooo much culty oppression that comes with our society's narrow standards for sexual expression (and also how the insidious "cult" of hetersexuality empowers some of the most f*cked religious cults of all time)! To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Visit article.com/CULT for $50 off your first purchase of $100 or more. Visit AURA.com/CULT for a 14 day free trial. Go to DAILYHARVEST.com/cult to get up to $65 dollars off your first box!  Get 20% off your first order of $40 or more at NextEvo.com/podcast and use promo code cult.  
It's time to dynamically synergize mission-critical alignments. Let's go ahead and fungibly communicate client-centric potentialities. If you can even half-way understand either of these sentences, then you might be a member of this week's "cult": Corporate America. With the help of special guest, Jamie Jackson of the cult-followed @humorous_resources Instagram account, Amanda and Isa are picking apart corporate culture's hyper-controlled rules, rituals, and hierarchies to tease out if this "leading-edge, credibly cultivated, turnkey market" is a life-ruiner or not. To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Go to Zocdoc.com/CULT and download the Zocdoc app for FREE. Visit ritual.com/CULT to start Ritual or add Synbiotic+ to your subscription today. Dipsea is offering an extended 30 day free trial when you go to DipseaStories.com/CULT
Fame, wealth, fraud, backstabbing, plastic surgery, hidden power hierarchies... are we talking about one of reality television's most successful franchises or a full-blown cult??? Host of the Reality Life podcast Kate Casey, an unscripted TV connoisseur who's been analyzing The Real Housewives for years, joins Isa and Amanda this week to unpack the inner workings and potential damage of this notoriously clique-y "cult." To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Get 20% off your first Liquid Death apparel purchase available exclusively at LiquidDeath.com/CULT. Get $20 off your fertility test when you go to ModernFertility.com/CULT. Visit BetterHelp.com/CULT today to get 10% off your first month. Download SmartNews for free today in the app store to get the news that matters most.
The Cult of Fine Wine

The Cult of Fine Wine

2023-03-2801:08:161

Pinkies up and wallets out for this week's quaffable "cult": the elitist, jargon-packed, ritual-soaked world of fine wine. Amanda and Isa were always highly intrigued but knew very little about this top-shelf "cult" until chatting with special guest Cristie Norman, certified sommelier, Wine Enthusiast's "educator of the year," and creator of The Online Wine Course. The fine wine world is certainly mysterious and exclusive, but how "dangerously culty" is it? Drunk on Cristie's insights, we're ready to find out... To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Visit article.com/CULT for $50 off your first purchase of $100 or more. Visit AURA.com/CULT for a 14 day free trial. Get 10% off your first order sitewide with code CULT at OSEAMalibu.com.
The Cult of Wall Street

The Cult of Wall Street

2023-03-2101:04:281

Stocks? The economy?? Don't get us started! Look, any industry that allowed the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, aka Bernie Madoff, to literally *thrive* is an automatic sounds like a cult to us. Members willing to "sell their soul" to Wall Street in exchange for the American Dream enter a world ripe for corruption, deception, and exclusivity, and this week, ex-trader turned "finfluencer" Vivian Tu (aka, Your Rich BFF) joins Isa and Amanda to spill all the *insider trading* on what makes Wall Street such a cult. Be sure to check out Vivian's new podcast, Networth and Chill, dropping March 22nd! To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Get 20% off your first order of $40 or more at NextEvo.com/podcast and use promo code cult. Dipsea is offering an extended 30 day free trial when you go to DipseaStories.com/CULT. Get 50% off your first DoorDash order up to a twenty-dollar value when you use code CULT at checkout.
The Cult of Church Camp

The Cult of Church Camp

2023-03-1401:21:00

Kayaking, friendship bracelet making, and oh yeah, threats of eternal damnation! What better way for a kid to spend the summer than at church camp? These pricy summer experiences for God-fearing kiddos might look all wholesome from the outside (a little *too* wholesome, in fact), but there have been enough allegedlys over the years to make Amanda and Isa think church camps might be serving up their 'smores with a side of cultiness. But are Christian summer camps a Live Your Life, a Watch Your Back, or a Get the Fuck Out-level cult? Actor, writer, and former church camper Joel Kim Booster joins this week's episode to help us figure it out! To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Go to Zocdoc.com/CULT and download the Zocdoc app for FREE. Visit ritual.com/CULT to start Ritual or add Synbiotic+ to your subscription today. Download SmartNews for free today in the app store! Sounds Like A Cult listeners get 20% off your first Liquid Death apparel purchase available exclusively at LiquidDeath.com/CULT. 
As Keenan Thompson said in a recent SNL parody of the Miss Universe pageant, "Welcome back to Miss Universe, one of several shows still on the air where we rank women. But it's not what you think—we do it based off of looks." Welp when you put it that way :/ In our humble little opinion, it's hard to believe that the conformist, objectifying, and sometimes downright exploitative "beauty contest" business—perpetuated by the likes of Donald Trump and P.T. Barnum (yep, the circus guy)—is still a thing. Beauty pageants can be prettyyyyyyy cringe, but are they dangerously cultish? This week, Amanda and Isa aim to figure that out! To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here!
The Cult of Peloton

The Cult of Peloton

2023-02-2801:03:071

Did the first episode of HBO Max's Sex And The City reboot turn you off of Peloton? That makes one of us. This week, Amanda and Isa unpack the fanatical riders, worshipped instructors, and dystopian nature of the highly fetishized fitness brand that has been described as “SoulCycle via Zoom.” Peloton is definitely hardcore, but does that make it dangerous? With the help of insightful listener call-ins, your hosts explore just that. To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you so much to our sponsors! To receive 50% or more off your first month of therapy, go to modernfertility.com/CULT.  Dipsea is offering an extended 30 day free trial when you go to DipseaStories.com/CULT.
The Cult of Child Stars

The Cult of Child Stars

2023-02-2157:151

Selena Gomez, Drew Barrymore, and Daniel Radcliffe are all survivors of today's "cult," and so is our guest, Mara Wilson, star of 1990s cinematic classics like Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire. Mara was only five years old when she started appearing in major commercials, and the next ten years of her life were a dream come true—full of glamour and accolades... and intense pressures, isolation, creepy stalkers, and other shocking experiences that make the world of child stars seem VERY culty. This week, with Mara's help, Amanda and Isa attempt to figure out if this secretive wing of the entertainment industry—responsible for what former child star Alyson Stoner once called the "toddler to trainwreck pipeline"—is as cult-like as it seems. To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, donate to Isa’s fundraiser or visit our website, click here!  Thank you so much to our sponsors! Download SmartNews for free today in the app store! To receive 50% or more off your first month of therapy, go to cerebral.com/cult. 
The Cult of Self-Help

The Cult of Self-Help

2023-02-1457:555

In 2005, this week's guest Sarah Edmondson joined what she thought was a personal development program devoted to helping her overcome her "limiting beliefs." Little did she know it'd turn out to be one of the most notorious and scrutinized groups of all time, NXIVM. "Self-Help" is a distinctly optimistic American pursuit and a majorly profitable industry. Sooo many culty groups start out with the innocent promise of helping their members become their best self. This gray area between positive self-improvement program and dangerous sect is exactly what hosts Isa and Amanda discuss on this week's can't-miss episode with Sarah, host of the podcast A Little Bit Culty and star of The Vow on HBO (Season 2 streaming now!). To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsors! Get 10% off your first OSEA order sitewide with code CULT at OSEAMalibu.com Visit ritual.com/CULT to start Ritual or add Synbiotic+ to your subscription today. Sounds like a Cult is sponsored by BetterHelp. Visit BetterHelp.com/CULT today to get 10% off your first month.
Allegations of right-wing dogma, unquestioned power dynamics, charismatic leaders, freaky rituals, and physical abuse... are we talking about a serious cult or the Boy Scouts of America? Potato, po-tah-toe? That's the question on the docket this week, as Amanda and Isa dissect this prestigious but potentially sinister after-school organization for all-American boys. To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you to our sponsor, ZocDoc! Go to Zocdoc.com/CULT and download the Zocdoc app for FREE.
The Cult of Momfluencers

The Cult of Momfluencers

2023-01-3101:09:014

Motherhood is hard, lonely, and exhausting... except, apparently, if you're a momfluencer. Since the mid-2000s, a crop of seemingly perfect, all-knowing mommy goddesses in billowy tunics have emerged on social media—and we can't help but feel that their highly monetizable (often misinformation-ridden) internet presences basically exist to make other moms feel less than. This week, with the help of journalist and real-life mother Sara Petersen, author of the forthcoming book MOMFLUENCED, Isa and Amanda spill the (organic, non-toxic, totally baby-safe) tea about how famous internet moms have become their own kind of 21st Century cult leader. To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you so much to our sponsor, Modern Fertility! To receive 50% or more off your first month of therapy, go to modernfertility.com/CULT. 
The Cult of Preppers

The Cult of Preppers

2023-01-2449:041

The end of the world... but make it cute and consumerist! "Preppers" are the latest iteration of doomsday survivalists, who band together on social media to talk canning, stockpiling, and first aid, but also multi-million-dollar bunkers in rural New Zealand?? Um, yeah, there are also billionaire preppers, and if the apocalypse weren't coming already, these guys are definitely speeding up the process. This week, Isa and Amanda are unpacking the so-called "doom boom" to judge how cultishly bananas (freeze-dried, obvi) modern-day "prepping" has gotten.  To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa's live comedy, buy a copy of Amanda's book Cultish, or visit our website, click here! Thank you so much to our sponsor, Cerebral! To receive 50% or more off your first month of therapy, go to cerebral.com/cult. 
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Comments (69)

Miroslava

this epizode was disturbing. not because of Kardashians, but the guest who wants to destroy capitalism via revolutionary means. I am from a former Soviet colony. Even 30 years after doing away with the totalitarian communist regime the country struggles with justice, democracy and human rights. The ignorance and zeal of the lady proposing this idea was shocking. Learn some history & economy before spewing this bullshit. revolutions of this type always brought about bloodshed and suffering. wtf.

Mar 14th
Reply

Amber Laila

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Feb 5th
Reply

LV

Do these women even listen to these recordings before releasing them? They say "like" almost every other word! It absolutely detracts from intelligent commentary.

Nov 27th
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LV

Very intelligent and articulate young women, but their interjection of the word "like" into every sentence is so distracting and detracts from the presentation of the material.

Nov 21st
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LV

No real substance to this episode, just people chatting about their personal thoughts on veganism. Had to bail on the me, me,me.

Oct 25th
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LV

I enjoy this podcast. The hosts are refreshingly articulate. However, it would be great if they could minimize the vocal fry and saying "like" all the time.

Oct 23rd
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alli lent

I would give up so much to be able to be a stay at home mom 😭 I only have 2 weeks left of maternity leave and I cry about it daily

Sep 11th
Reply (4)

Becky Simpson

this episode won't download or play

Aug 30th
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Maureen A

Lume Schmume. lol How many millions are spent annually to make us believe we stink? Could you be more selective with your sponsors? Think about it. Thanks!

Aug 15th
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amp

"doctors have a corps of nurses" 🙄🙄🙄

Aug 8th
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Christian Robards

not all rich ppl are white. not all white ppl are rich. racist bitches.

May 2nd
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Jeanette Mullins

A frustrating listen that often tends to get distracted, miss background details and not get to the point. The presenters have a habit of not letting those they interview actually fully answer the questions which gets really frustrating. So often they go off on a tangent with a personal story which to be honest is not that interesting.

Mar 31st
Reply

alli lent

the culty-est part of Apple is how you say iPhones and iPads instead of phones and tablets when you aren't talking about Apple

Mar 1st
Reply (1)

Suzanne dm

You are talking about woman getting scammed, fear mongering, pseudo science and all very legit problems in our society today. Yet you are in the commercial break promotion a company that does food sensitivity testing? Please do some more research before promoting that nonsense... Those test are a cult on themselves.. Please inform yourself and do better...

Feb 10th
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Josh Phillips

The BSA actually put a lot of rules in place years ago to prevent child abuse. No adult is ever allowed to be alone with a child, for instance. Anyone who has been involved with Scouting in the last 35 could have told you that.

Feb 7th
Reply

ID18949927

I listened to an ep recently, and they mentioned that Mexican parents are “naming their kids Usdollar” for some sort of clout or class-conscious reason. That sounds like one of those racial used myths (have heard similar myths spread about black parents). Anyone wanna help me out on the source?

Feb 6th
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LucieLemon

I’m not a Kardashian fan at all. I agree they are problematic. But WTF? The goal is not ‘to abolish the police and prisons’. That’ll happen when we abolish crime. Kim is also not ‘deciding who deserves to be free and who doesn’t’. She is advocating for a prisoner who she believes (and likely is) wrongfully convicted.

Jan 8th
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Hannah Riches

The amount of ads on this is ridiculous

Dec 28th
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ID25757340

About you fearing the swiftie fandom! Hi! Swiftie here! I Wanted you to cover her fandom, since we are a bit culty sometimes hihi. Love you guys dw ever

Dec 27th
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Jeanette Mullins

Generally an interesting podcast but the presenters can be frustrating when interviewing their experts by moving on or interjecting before a question is fully answered. It's very clear they love the sound of their own voices and are not always paying attention to the topic at hand well enough to guide the interview properly.

Dec 4th
Reply
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