When Escaping Polygamy premiered in 2014, people were shocked with how Andrea Brewer, Jessica Christensen, and Shanell DeRieux lived. The three girls grew up in a polygamist group in Salt Lake City known as the Order, all with Daniel Kingston as their father. Initially, Andrea and Jessica broke free from the Order, and eventually Shanell followed suit.
Years after the girls escaped the polygamous cult, they began filming the A&E docu-series Escaping Polygamy. The show, which has had three seasons, documents the women meeting with others who are trying to escape polygamist families and doing everything in their power to help them break free.
Since the series first started airing, Andrea, Jessica, and Shanell have all come a long way. The women have grown more confident and have each come into their own, fulfilling their dreams and pursuing life outside of their polygamist past. Here’s what the cast of Escaping Polygamy is up to today.
Andrea, who’s the third of 12 children to Daniel and his sixth wife Heidi Mattingly Foster, left the Order when she was 12. With the help of her aunt, who filed a protective order against Daniel for both she and her sister Jessica, Andrea was placed in foster care and eventually adopted. Currently, Andrea is in law school in Seattle, pursuing a career in public service law. Andrea continues to speak out agains polygamy on her Twitter, and is usually happy to answer any questions anyone asks her about her old life on social media.
When she was 14, Jessica was engaged to her 42-year-old uncle to be his third wife, but with the help of her aunt, managed to escape before they were married. Jessica, who’s the oldest of Daniel and Heidi’s children, was adopted the day after her 18th birthday and currently is married with two adorable daughters. She’s pursuing a masters in social work and continues to fight against polygamy. Also, according to Jessica’s Instagram, she’s a pretty big foodie and fitness fanatic.
Shanell is the second child of Daniel and his seventh wife, Shirley Snow. When she was 18, she married one of her first cousins. During the marriage, Shanell’s then-husband was verbally and physically abusive, so she made the brave decision to leave both her husband and the Order. After she left, she was shunned by her father, but her mother has supported her fully. Today, she’s remarried and has two daughters. Like her half-sisters, she’s not shy about speaking out against the Order and polygamy on social media. In fact, her Twitter bio reads, “I’m not just going to sit down and shut up.”
Even though she wasn’t one of the original ladies, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Shanell’s younger sister, Kollene. Kollene married her second cousin when she was 16 years old. At the time, she was her husband’s only wife, but about a year later, he expressed interest in getting another wife — because his father told him he had to — and at that point, Kollene left. Initially, she tried to bring her husband with her, but he chose the religion over her. Since then, Kollene has become an esthetician and killer makeup artist, and has been working to help others wanting to escape polygamist families. Sounds like she definitely made the right decision.