As such, she seems in awe of their presumed ingratiation. Even before they’ve been in their homes, they’re on a first-name basis with these people: it’s all “Lindsay got another DUI” or “Lindsay has this one” or “I literally love Audrina’s style” (best of all, when Rebecca finds out the victims have been contacted after her arrest, she has only one question: “What did Lindsay say?”). They think of themselves in the same terms, even when modified; at one point, Marc confesses, “I never saw myself as an A-list-looking guy.”
They see themselves in the same light as those celebrities because they live in the same city, because they go to the same clubs, because they have some kind of wealth and attractiveness. They don’t see the Paris Hiltons and Audrina Patridges and Heidi and Spencers as elevated from them in any way, and for good reason: it’s not like these people have some discernible talent that eludes their followers-turned-robbers. Hilton’s wealth was inherited, and what she earned came from people of equal vapidity who bought products and went to clubs because she endorsed them. No wonder the Bling Ring thought nothing of taking things from her — the way they saw it, that stuff was barely hers to begin with.
In one scene, after a trip to stately Hilton manor, Nicki proudly displays a newly acquired bracelet at a party. “Look what I got,” she announces. Not look what I stole — look what I “got.” It’s not that they didn’t know what they were doing was illegal. But it certainly didn’t strike them as immoral, since the world, for a certain kind of rich, attractive young person, is theirs for the taking. That’s the kind of thinking that, writ large, ends up sinking housing markets and, as a result, economies. That’s the kind of thinking that leads to giant bonuses for people who run sinking companies while low-level employees are “downsized.” And that’s the kind of thinking that causes a millionaire presidential candidate to spend months wondering how he could have lost his bid (and blaming weather and/or poor people) — he wanted it, so why couldn’t he have it?
The people who inspired The Bling Ring longed for celebrity, and its spoils. When their story came to an end, they were doing time in jail and paying giant penalties. But they’d also been photographed by paparazzi, featured on TMZ, and profiled in Vanity Fair. The case became the focus of Pretty Wild, a reality show featuring Alexis Neiers (who inspired the Watson character). And now, there’s a movie about their escapades. There are easier ways to get famous. Ask Paris Hilton.