Melanie Lee: Where is the Ex-Shekinah Church Member Now?

Melanie Lee met Robert Shinn, along with her sister, after moving to the US from South Korea. What she initially thought would be a haven turned into a nightmare that profoundly changed her life and her as a person. In Netflix’s ‘Dancing For The Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult,’ she comes forward to share her story, determined to ensure it is not forgotten. Melanie alleges that she was subjected to various forms of abuse while part of the church. Hearing the stories of the TikTok dancers being allegedly exploited in similar ways compelled her to share her experiences.

Melanie Lee Left the Shekinah Church With the Help of a Friend

Melanie Lee and her sister, Priscylla Lee, were born in South Korea. When their mother started struggling with alcoholism, their father abandoned the family. Their mother moved to the United States with her two daughters for a better future, but her struggles proved overwhelming. Melanie recalled how she and Priscylla were left to fend for themselves, finding adapting to a new country and environment challenging. In the early 2000s, they joined the Shekinah Church, where they initially felt a sense of community and camaraderie. Soon, the church became their entire life, and Melanie became fully involved in its daily operations.

Melanie alleges that the church demanded absolute obedience, stripping her of much of her autonomy. The church’s founder, Robert Shinn, had his hands in several businesses and did her work for them with little to no payment. Such behavior was highly normalized within the group, but things went too far for her when Robert informed her that she had to marry someone else in the church. At that moment, she knew she had to leave. Melanie called her friend Marque Richardson packed her things, and left. She shared that she had planned to take her sister Priscylla with her, but Priscylla refused to leave.

After leaving the church, Melanie worked on rebuilding her life and making sense of everything she had experienced. For years, she remained under the radar, but in 2021, Melanie was overjoyed when her sister Priscylla also decided to leave Shinn. She knew they had a long way to go in building their relationship, but she was hopeful and grateful for the opportunity. When Melanie heard Dean and Kelly Wilking alleging that their daughter, Miranda Derrick, was a victim of 7M, a talent agency run by Shinn, she knew she had to help. Understanding their plight, Melanie reached out to help them see what they were going through. She extended a helping hand and joined her sister in filing a civil suit against Shinn.

Melanie Lee is an Entrepreneur Today

After leaving the Shekinah Church, Melanie Lee began working as a transaction coordinator in 2009. Finding a job was relatively easy for her, as she had graduated from West Los Angeles College. In 2011, she joined TM 1031 Exchange as a Project Director and stayed there for about three years. In 2014, she discovered her calling in real estate, joining Kennedy Wilson as a Retail Leasing and Sales Associate and later working as a Leasing Associate for Macerich. By 2019, after making significant progress in her career, Melanie founded her own company, Elevate Retail Group. This full-service advisory agency works with retailers and landlords. She has been the CEO of the firm since then and is now comfortably settled in Los Angeles, California.

Working and participating in the Netflix series allowed Melanie, who goes by the name Melanie Lee Goldman now, to connect with others who had been in contact with Robert Shinn and had alleged experiences similar to hers. She has become good friends with many of them, especially Aubrey Fisher and the Wilking family, whose stories she sees as reflections of her own. Additionally, Melanie has publicly joined groups and forums dedicated to uncovering the true workings of the Shekinah Church and 7M. She uses her voice to amplify the noise surrounding the church and supports others who have faced similar ordeals.

Melanie is still working on her relationship with her sister and wants to help her in every way possible. She is a mother to a young daughter, Devyn, who is the light of her and her husband’s life. Although she has not made her husband’s identity public, the couple is eagerly awaiting the arrival of their second child. The civil lawsuit that Melanie filed against Shinn and his close associates, along with her sister and other former members of the talent agency, is still pending. The hearing is reported to start in 2025. Melanie is ready for the battle ahead and is helping everyone gear up for it, too. She remains committed to seeking justice and supporting others who have faced similar experiences.

Read More: Kevin “Konkrete” Davis: Former 7M Member is Also a Musician Today