Clipped: What Are Sanctuary Parties? Are They Real?

The fourth episode of FX on Hulu’s sports drama ‘Clipped’ opens a window into the life of V. Stiviano before she became the personal assistant and alleged girlfriend of Donald Sterling, who owns the Los Angeles Clippers. While Stiviano was struggling to run a food truck, she met Deja, who eventually became her best friend and confidante. The former MTV Spring Break veejay took V to a “sanctuary party” so that she could meet potent and influential figures who could turn her life around. The ambiguity around the party makes it an intriguing part of the episode that demands an exploration into its roots in reality!

Sanctuary Parties: Where Ambition Meets Power

In ‘Clipped,’ the sanctuary parties are introduced as the meeting place of women with ambitions and men with power, wealth, and influence. The women who attend these parties are the ones who dream of a career in show business like V. Stiviano. Regardless of their talent, skills, and ambition, the door to show business remains closed for them until they make the significant people who run the industry “satisfied.” Even Deja, who wrote an inspirational book about making a mark in the industry with her aspirations, entered the business by satisfying the men who attended these parties. She invited V to the same so that the latter could follow in the footsteps of the former.

Before attending the party in the fourth episode, V was under the impression that she could become a reality TV star with her beauty and talent. The sanctuary party she attended with Deja was nothing short of a wake-up call for her as she perceived that she needed to enter the good books of people in the industry by offering them sexual favors. The realization led her to make a bond with the unnamed character of Fred Melamed, the host of the party. She then put an end to her life as a food truck operator to focus on finding a way to become a star like Deja.

The Reality Behind Sanctuary Parties

There aren’t any public records about “sanctuary parties” that were attended by V. Stiviano. Furthermore, Deja leading her to one of these parties is a fictitious detail since the former is a fictional character. Having said that, according to journalist and sportswriter Ramona Shelburne, V did try to become a reality TV star by meeting influential figures in the industry. Shelburne investigated V’s life for ‘The Sterling Affairs,’ the ESPN podcast that serves as the source material of the FX on Hulu series.

“V had been trying desperately to climb out of the poverty that she’d grown up in. She’d been running a food truck business and trying to work her way onto reality TV shows — and cozying up to [whoever] was the most relevant, powerful, or famous,” said Shelburne in ‘The Sterling Affairs.’ Therefore, if sanctuary parties aren’t real, they can be a fictional representation of V’s meetings with the “relevant, powerful, or famous” figures in the show business. Her efforts to make it on TV seemingly lasted only until she met Donald Sterling at a Super Bowl party in 2010.

Even if sanctuary parties are fictional, along with V’s participation in these events as the series depicts, several individuals have revealed the existence of similar programs in Hollywood. One that resembles the sanctuary parties the most is Damon Lawner’s Sanctum, which is known as SNCTM. The similarities between the two don’t start and end with the names. According to a Men’s Health feature, Sanctum is described as “so ‘Eyes Wide Shut,’” referring to the erotic final film of Stanley Kubrick, just like the sanctuary parties, which are masked events like the ones in the movie.

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