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This article is about the film. For ring upon which the film is based, see Bling Ring.

The Bling Ring is a 2013 satirical crime film written, directed and produced by Sofia Coppola.[4] It features an ensemble cast, led by Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, and Claire Julien. It is based on the 2010 Vanity Fair article "The Suspects Wore Louboutins" by Nancy Jo Sales, which dealt with a real-life gang known as the Bling Ring. The story follows a group of fame-obsessed teenagers who use the internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their homes.

The film is an international co-production by producers in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. Coppola began a developing a screenplay based on the real-life burglaries in December 2011. Casting took place in early 2012, before principal photography began in March that same year in Los Angeles, California.

The Bling Ring had its world premiere in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2013.[5] The film was theatrically released in limited theaters on June 14, 2013 by A24, before opening in a wide release on June 21. The film received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, with many praising the cast and Coppola's "stylish" direction; Watson received critical acclaim for her performance. However, others criticized the film for its "shallow" and morally ambiguous approach towards the subject matter.[6]

The Bling Ring represents the final work of cinematographer Harris Savides, who died of brain cancer while the film was in post-production. The film is dedicated to him.[7]


Quiet teenager Marc Hall arrives as a new student at Indian Hills High School in Agoura Hills, California. He is befriended by fame-obsessed Rebecca Ahn. While at a party at Rebecca's house, the pair check unlocked vehicles on the street, taking valuables such as cash and credit cards.

When Marc mentions that one of his wealthy acquaintances is out of town, Rebecca persuades him to join her in breaking into his house. Rebecca steals a handbag, mentioning that her idol, Lindsay Lohan, has the same one. She also steals cash and the keys to a Porsche, which the pair use to flee the scene. With the cash, the two go on a shopping spree, affording themselves the luxury lifestyle they admire in magazines.

Marc visits a nightclub with Rebecca and her friends Nicki Moore, Nicki's adoptive sister Sam, and Chloe Tainer, where they rub shoulders with celebrities such as Kirsten Dunst and Paris Hilton. While researching Hilton on the Internet, Marc and Rebecca realize that she will be out of town. The pair go to her house, and finding the key under the doormat, they go through Hilton's belongings, taking some jewelry. Rebecca then flaunts a stolen bracelet to Nicki, Sam, and Chloe at a party.

At Nicki's request, Rebecca and Marc take her, Sam and Chloe back to Hilton's house. The group marvels at the excess of Hilton's lifestyle, and steals shoes, bags, dresses, cash, and jewelry. Marc and Rebecca return to rob Hilton's house on a third occasion. The pair also decides to rob the home of Audrina Patridge, once again using the Internet to determine when she will not be home. The entire group uses the same method to burgle the home of Megan Fox, with Nicki's younger sister Emily squeezing through a pet door to gain access to the home.

The group enters the home of Orlando Bloom and his girlfriend, Miranda Kerr. The girls proceed to steal similar items, while Marc finds a case filled with seven of Bloom's Rolex watches along with a roll of cash. Chloe then helps Marc sell the watches to her friend, a night club manager named Ricky. The group returns once again to Hilton's house, with Sam's boyfriend Rob, who also steals from the home.

A news report releases captured CCTV footage from the robbery at Patridge's home. This concerns Marc, but Rebecca is undeterred and instigates a burglary at the home of Rachel Bilson. Word spreads amongst the group's social circles, and the girls boast of their accomplishments at parties, also posting photographs of the stolen items on social media sites. The group ultimately breaks into Lohan's house and robs it. Shortly after, Rebecca moves to Las Vegas with her father due to troubles at home, leaving some of her stolen items with Marc, who inadvertently helps Rebecca transfer stolen items across state lines.

News reports of the Hollywood Hills burglaries intensify, with the media labeling the group "The Bling Ring". CCTV from several robberies in addition to the evidence on social media allows authorities to identify the group. Police arrest Marc, Nicki, Chloe, Rebecca, Rob, and Ricky, but Sam is not identified in the footage and avoids arrest. Marc cooperates with the police, informing them on the details of the burglaries, much to the chagrin of Rebecca, who has been identified as the ringleader. A Vanity Fair journalist interviews Marc, who is remorseful, and Nicki, who vehemently suggests the others were at fault, and that she was simply involved with the wrong people. Rebecca also denies being at fault and tries to pass the blame for all of this to Marc and her other friends. The group is ultimately prosecuted, receiving varying amounts of jail time and is ordered to collectively pay millions of dollars in restitution for the stolen items.

The group serves their jail time, and Marc and Rebecca each go into seclusion and never see or speak to each other again, both of them steadfastly blaming each other for the robberies.

In the final scene, set a few months later, Nicki is on a talk show talking about her time in jail, and reveals that her cell was next to Lohan’s. After digressing, she turns to the audience (and the viewers) as she finds a way to enhance her newfound notoriety, telling them to visit her now-popular website detailing her life after "The Bling Ring".




In December 2011, it was reported that Sofia Coppola was developing a screenplay for a film based on The Bling Ring burglaries, to be directed and produced by herself. Her father, Francis Ford Coppola, executive produced the project through his American Zoetrope production company.[9] In April 2012, it was announced that financing had been set up with NALA Films, and Roman Coppola would also serve as a producer.[10]


Emma Watson joined the cast of the film on February 29, 2012,[11][12] and on March 1, Taissa Farmiga was reported to have joined the main cast.[13] Also in early March, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the casting of Leslie Mann and Israel Broussard.[14] On March 16, Claire Julien joined the cast, and Katie Chang and Georgia Rock were also confirmed for roles.[15] That same month, Carlos Miranda was cast in a supporting role.[16] In late March, Kirsten Dunst and Paris Hilton were both confirmed to make cameos in the film, as themselves.[17][18]Gavin Rossdale was spotted on the set of the film on March 27, 2012.[19]


Production primarily took place in and around Los Angeles, California in March and April 2012; notably in West Hollywood, Lynwood, and Venice.[20]Paris Hilton, who was a victim during the actual Bling Ring robberies, and Kirsten Dunst, both made cameo appearances in the film.[21] Some scenes were shot in the celebrity victims' homes and at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California.[22]


"I spent a few months listening to everything that is out now, and then going back a bit to when the story actually happened. So the Kanye stuff was fair game, as well as the newer stuff. The Can stuff is interesting, because the other side is the score, the sound of L.A. at night when they're driving around. I thought that it would be really cool to use Klaus Schulze and some of the German stuff that I really, really love, and it's amazing how well those tracks fit next to each other."

– Reitzell, on the variety of music[23]

The Bling Ring: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was supervised by frequent Coppola collaborator Brian Reitzell. The film's soundtrack album was released on June 11, 2013 by Def Jam Recordings.[24] It contains a mix of music ranging between such genres as hip-hop/rap, krautrock, and electronic.[25]

The musical score for the film was written by Reitzell in collaboration with Daniel Lopatin, known mostly under the recording name of Oneohtrix Point Never.[26] Coppola's husband's band, Phoenix, also contributed the title track from their album Bankrupt!.[23]

In addition, Reitzell worked closely with Coppola to find contemporary music that would fit within the film's setting. After being contacted for song contributions, rapper Kanye West recommended Reitzell use Frank Ocean's then-unreleased "Super Rich Kids".

1. "Crown on the Ground" Alexis Krauss, Derek E. Miller Sleigh Bells 3:49
2. "9 Piece" William Leonard Roberts II, Dwayne Carter, Lexus Lewis Rick Ross featuring Lil Wayne 5:17
3. "Sunshine" Ryeisha Berrain, Maya Arulpragasam Rye Rye featuring M.I.A. 3:22
4. "212" Azealia Banks, Jef Martens Azealia Banks featuring Lazy Jay 3:26
5. "Ouroboros" Daniel Lopatin Oneohtrix Point Never 2:02
6. "Money Machine" Tauheed Epps, Christopher Gholson 2 Chainz 4:42
7. "Bad Girls" Mathangi Arulpragasam, Nate Hills, Marcella Araica M.I.A. 3:48
8. "All of the Lights" Kanye West, Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Yusef El Shabbaz Jones, Scott Mescudi, Warren Trotter Kanye West 4:59
9. "Drop It Low" Christopher Maurice Brown, Ester Dean, Jamal F. Jones Ester Dean featuring Chris Brown 3:14
10. "Gucci Bag" Gemar Akoto, Kwadwo Boateng, Reem Oweti Reema Major 3:54
11. "Halleluhwah" Michael Karoli, Jaki Liebezeit, Irmin Schmidt, Holger Schweizer, Kenji Suzuki Can 5:36
12. "Power" Kanye West, Larry Griffin Jr., Mike Dean, Jeff Bhasker, Andwele Gardner, Ken Lewis, Francois Bernheim, Jean-Pierre Lang, Boris Bergman, Robert Fripp, Michael Giles, Greg Lake, Ian McDonald Kanye West 4:52
13. "Freeze" Klaus Schulze Klaus Schulze 6:39
14. "FML" Joel Zimmerman Deadmau5 6:35
15. "The Bling Ring Suite" Brian Reitzell, Daniel Lopatin Brian Reitzell and Daniel Lopatin 6:52
16. "Bankrupt!" Thomas Mars, Deck d'Arcy, Laurent Brancowitz, Christian Mazzalai Phoenix 6:56
17. "Super Rich Kids" Christopher Breaux, Malay, Thebe Neruda Kgositsile, Kirk Robinson, Nathaniel Robinson Jr., Ray Hammond, Mark Morales, Mark Rooney Frank Ocean featuring Earl Sweatshirt 5:04
Total length: 1:19:44


Coppola at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for the premiere


In January 2013, A24 acquired domestic distribution rights to the film.[27] The film opened the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on May 16.[5][28] The film is Coppola's third in a row that deals heavily with the famous, following Marie Antoinette and Somewhere, a drama about a renowned actor and his 11-year-old daughter. About the premiere in Cannes, she said, "It seems like the perfect setting for The Bling Ring when you see people walking around in their heels. It's a glamorous place, so it feels appropriate." The film closed the 39th Seattle International Film Festival on June 9, 2013.[29][30]

Home media[edit]

The Bling Ring was released via digital download on September 6, 2013, and on DVD and Blu-ray on September 17, 2013, by Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The extras include a behind the scenes making of the film, an interview with Coppola, and a tour of a crime scene by Bling Ring target Paris Hilton.[31]


Box office[edit]

In its debut weekend in the United States, the film opened in five theaters with 4,395, for a per-theater average of ,879.[32] It was Coppola's best opening per-theater average, beating out Lost in Translation's intake of ,221 from 23 locations in 2003. The following weekend, The Bling Ring expanded to 650 theaters, making million for a per-theater average of ,080.[33] The film went on to gross .8 million domestically and .1 million worldwide.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Emma Watson received considerable acclaim for her performance as Nicki Moore.

The Bling Ring received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 59% approval rating, based on reviews from 200 critics, with a weighted average of 6.25/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "While it's certainly timely and beautifully filmed, The Bling Ring suffers from director Sofia Coppola's failure to delve beneath the surface of its shallow protagonists' real-life crimes."[34]Metacritic has assigned the film an average score of 66 out of 100, based on 40 reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "generally positive reviews".[35] The film has drawn comparisons to the Day-Glo cinematography of Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, which was also released under A24 Films.[36]

Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly had a positive opinion, writing, "Watching The Bling Ring, the audience is invited to understand the impulses of these child-woman thieves, even as Coppola stands firmly apart from their craziness and sees them for who they are."[37] Robbie Collin from The Daily Telegraph said, "Everything comes together for the good here: visuals, performances, raucous soundtrack, Coppola's teasing flirtation with, yet ultimate lack of commitment to, some kind of concrete morality."[38] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said, "Coppola's attitude toward her subject seems equivocal, uncertain; there is perhaps a smidgen of social commentary, but she seems far too at home in the world she depicts to offer a rewarding critique of it."[39]

Emma Watson's performance as Nicki received critical acclaim. Richard Roeper called her "comedic gold",[40] while Gleiberman wrote that Watson "proves that her willingness to take chances is only growing, and that she's an actress serious enough to turn a line like 'Your butt looks awesome!' into something that reveals character." Cath Clarke of Time Out commented positively on Watson, saying, "The real story here isn't the good-girl-goes-bad stunt casting; it's that Watson can act. Against the odds, the Harry Potter star gives a sharp, knowing smart performance as Nicki."[41]Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote, "Emma Watson is sensational as Nicki, an underage club girl and actress wanna-be, who lives in a universe of Valley Girl narcissism eons away from Hogwarts."[42] Even critics who gave the film overall negative reviews singled Watson out for praise, with Peter Howell from the Toronto Star saying, "The undistinguished young cast of The Bling Ring has just one standout, and that's Emma Watson, who plays one of the most vacuous of the juvenile thieves. We know her best as the brainy Hermione from the Harry Potter movies, and she can obviously do brainless equally well."[43] Joe Neumaier of New York Daily News wrote, "Watson, though, does a great imitation of hollow-eyed gaze; her character is the one who tries to parlay notoriety into success (everyone else can, she figures). The one-time Harry Potter star captures the slack-jawed fan only too well."[44]



  1. ^ "THE BLING RING (15)". British Board of Film Classification. April 24, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  2. ^ Galloway, Stephen (May 8, 2013). "'The Bling Ring's' Sofia Coppola: The Trials, Tears and Talent". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "The Bling Ring (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  4. ^ Gilbey, Ryan (July 4, 2013). "Sofia Coppola on The Bling Ring: 'What these kids did really took ingenuity'". The Guardian. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "'Bling Ring' Will Open Cannes' Un Certain Regard Sidebar". Deadline Hollywood. April 17, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  6. ^ Ryan, Tim (June 21, 2013). "Critics Consensus: Monsters University is Certified Fresh". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  7. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (June 21, 2013). "The Bling Ring Movie Review & Film Summary (2013)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  8. ^ "Emma Watson auf Diebestour in The Bling Ring". Moviepilot (in German). April 24, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  9. ^ Blodgett, Lucy (December 5, 2011). "Sofia Coppola's Bling Ring Film In Development: Report". The Huffington Post.
  10. ^ McNary, Dave (April 2, 2012). "Financing set for Sofia Coppola film". Variety.
  11. ^ Kit, Borys (February 29, 2012). "Sofia Coppola Recruits Emma Watson for 'The Bling Ring'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  12. ^ "Emma Watson's magic new look". The Sun. March 22, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  13. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 1, 2012). "'Horror Story' thesp Farmiga lands 2 roles". Variety. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (March 6, 2012). "Leslie Mann, Israel Broussard Cast in Sofia Coppola's 'Bling Ring' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  15. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (March 16, 2012). "Claire Julien Joins 'The Bling Ring'". Deadline Hollywood.
  16. ^ Lyttelton, Oliver (March 22, 2012). "'Warrior' Actor Carlos Miranda Joins Sofia Coppola's 'The Bling Ring' Plus Details On The Script". IndieWire. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  17. ^ Dang, Simon (March 28, 2012). "Kirsten Dunst Hits The Set Of Sofia Coppola's 'The Bling Ring'". IndieWire.
  18. ^ Eames, Tom (March 29, 2012). "Paris Hilton 'to cameo as herself in Emma Watson's The Bling Ring'". Digital Spy.
  19. ^ Gicas, Peter (March 27, 2012). "Gavin Rossdale Arrested for Role in Bling Ring...the Movie!". E! News.
  20. ^ Miller, Lindsay (March 23, 2012). "Emma Watson on The Bling Ring Set in LA". Pop Sugar.
  21. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (January 16, 2013). "Distributors A24 Pick Up Sofia Coppola's 'The Bling Ring,' Slated For June Release". IndieWire.
  22. ^ Shaw, Lucas (January 16, 2013). "Sofia Coppola's 'The Bling Ring' Goes to A24". TheWrap.
  23. ^ a b Mertens, Max (June 6, 2013). "Inside 'The Bling Ring' Soundtrack". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  24. ^ "The Bling Ring: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Explicit] [+digital booklet]". Amazon.com. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  25. ^ Pelly, Jenn (May 16, 2013). "Sofia Coppola's Bling Ring Features Kanye, Frank Ocean, M.I.A., More, Score by Oneohtrix Point Never". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  26. ^ "The Bling Ring Movie Soundtrack To Be Released June 11th By Def Jam Recordings". Def Jam Recordings. May 16, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  27. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (January 16, 2013). "The Bling Ring release date – June Target for Sofia Coppola Film". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  28. ^ Rosen, Christopher (May 16, 2013). "'The Bling Ring' Reviews: Sofia Coppola's Burglar Bunch Film Debuts At Cannes". The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  29. ^ "Sofia Coppola's 'The Bling Ring' to Close Seattle Film Festival". TheWrap. April 30, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  30. ^ "'Bling Ring' To Close 2013 Seattle Film Fest". Deadline Hollywood. April 30, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  31. ^ "The Bling Ring (2013)". Amazon.com. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  32. ^ Brooks, Brian (June 16, 2013). "Specialty Box Office: 'Bling Ring' Sparkles With A Haute Debut". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  33. ^ Subers, Ray (June 23, 2013). "Weekend Report: 'Monsters' and Zombies Both Win On Busy Weekend". Box Office Mojo.
  34. ^ "The Bling Ring (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  35. ^ "The Bling Ring Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  36. ^ Coyle, Jake (May 17, 2013). "The Bling Ring at Cannes Film Festival 2013: Sofia Coppola's movie about celebrity starring Emma Watson opens". The Independent. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  37. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (May 16, 2013). "Cannes 2013: The girls have gone wild in 'The Bling Ring,' Sofia Coppola's most provocative film yet". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  38. ^ Collin, Robbie (May 16, 2013). "Cannes 2013: The Bling Ring, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  39. ^ McCarthy, Todd (May 16, 2013). "The Bling Ring: Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  40. ^ "The Bling Ring Review". RichardRoeper.com. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  41. ^ Clarke, Cath (July 2, 2013). "The Bling Ring (15)". Time Out. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  42. ^ Travers, Peter (June 13, 2013). "The Bling Ring". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  43. ^ Howell, Peter (June 21, 2013). "The Bling Ring review: Lifestyles of the Vacant and Greedy". Toronto Star. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
  44. ^ Neumaier, Joe (June 13, 2013). "'The Bling Ring': movie review". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 1, 2013.

External links[edit]

Like many of us who dream of a career change, Sarah Harris was hungry for a job away from the desk and the glare of the computer screen. So the 27-year-old gave up her steady pay cheque to re-train and starts a new year with a new career.

I was walking home from work in August last year when a blonde woman smiled and waved at me.

She was a police officer, and I was surprised by how feminine she looked with a face of mascara and blush.

Sarah made the change from reporting crime and social issues to being on the front line. Photo / Jason Oxenham Sarah made the change from reporting crime and social issues to being on the front line. Photo / Jason Oxenham

She didn't fit the stereotype. And she made me think - if she can do it, why can't I?

Before then I'd been working as a social issues reporter at the Herald and I found the job frustrating.

I was either interviewing amazing people who made my life seem boring, or talking to people who desperately needed help and offering them little more than a 500-word article.

I was hungry for a job away from the desk and the endless glare of the computer screen.

Policing appeared to be perfect.

You get off your arse and out of the office, you use your brain and social conscience, you get to help people, you can work anywhere in New Zealand and there are countless opportunities within the organisation.

A normal day at the office has changed drastically for me now.

Instead of stressing over my corporate ensemble (I was always a scruff) I get to put on my purpose-built uniform, which contains a delightful number of pockets. Instead of meeting memos, my work phone is full of photos of drugs, offenders, crime scenes and injuries.

I've been inside flash houses and dirty houses. I've looked through every piece of clothing and shoe in a man's closet during a meth search warrant. I've rubbed the backs of crying girls and been hugged by those needing comfort. I've sped all over Auckland in car chases and weaved in and out of traffic to keep the public away from gun-wielding offenders. I've been into a morgue and seen dead people propped up on hospital beds facing the wall, like they're waiting to get a haircut.

In August 2017 I started the application process to join the police. It was like a treadmill that didn't stop. The biggest hurdle was the run. I had to run 2.4km in less than 11 minutes and 50 seconds to pass the fitness test.

And I hated running.

Somehow the excitement of a whole new career motivated me - I trained every second day for months and I ended up with a decent time of 11 minutes and 11 seconds.

Now, I'm a keen runner.

In May last year I was shipped off to the Royal New Zealand Police College, filled with anticipation and apprehension.

I was part of Wing 317, a group of 60 which was split into classes of 20 and barracks of six.

At college you're like an animal in a zoo. You have everything you need: a gym, pool, classrooms, lecture theatres, TV lounge, laundry, a firing range and three hearty meals a day. You can go weeks without needing to leave.

Classes ran from Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm. Dinner was at 5.30pm. After that you needed to fit in some fitness training. Any spare time was devoted to study, sleep and gasbagging in the corridors.

There's a life-sized "crime house" that replicates a trashed house on the bottom floor and has an observation deck for your classmates to watch your pain on the second floor. You enter and attempt to deal with knife-wielding, cushion-throwing imposter-offenders. More than one recruit "lost their life" in that place.

That's where I had my Taser assessment. The instructor was dressed in a huge black suit so he wouldn't get pierced by the prongs. But that suit doubled as an intimidation tactic, he looked like the monster from under your bed.

The black monstrosity started swearing at me, then biffed a cup of water at me. I tried to talk him down.

The talking stopped when he grabbed a knife and lumbered towards me. I Tasered him. Except I was so tense that I pushed the button twice sending out a double Taser - an automatic fail!

Sarah with her proud father Chris Harris as she graduates from Police College. Photo / Supplied Sarah with her proud father Chris Harris as she graduates from Police College. Photo / Supplied

I was gutted. My dad thought it was hilarious that his gentle daughter failed due to "an excessive use of force". Fortunately, with a bit of practice I passed the re-sit.

The tactical skills were a small part of college compared with the academic grunt work. I've been to university but the intensity of study far surpassed that. Our rooms looked like the scene from A Beautiful Mind with Post-it notes and flash cards tacked up on every wall. We'd test each other at random and spend hours memorising which law goes with what section number. The hard work paid off when every one of my wing-mates passed the final exam.

I've always been a bit of a dork - not really into drinking or partying, I'd rather go hiking than hit the clubs. At college I found some equally-sensible kindred spirits. Beautiful friendships were forged through mud runs, firearm drills and testing each other on New Zealand legislation.

There's a stereotype that people become cops for the guns and car chases, but almost every one of my classmates said they chose the job to help others.

The recruits were diverse and, while fit, weren't picked on brute strength. Some tiny women were in my wing who were just as kickass as anyone. Both the leadership award and top-of-the-wing award went to petite women.

Prior to college I'd never touched a gun in my life. In two weeks on the gun range I learnt that shooting bullets smells like hair dye, that your fingers peel from handling the oiled metal, that the weight of an M4 assault rifle makes your back ache, and that aiming is hard.

The target posters were amusing mock-ups of classic balaclava-wearing, shotgun-toting "baddies". It was motivating as we progressed through the days to see the bullet spray get tighter and tighter on our targets.

Although, I could never master the damn pistol. You're meant to keep the tension in your non-dominant hand (my left) and relax the trigger hand, pulling only very gently with the tip of your finger to release the trigger. For the life of me, my trigger hand would not relax.

But still, I managed to get through the assessment with 19/20 shots on target.

I came out of college, keen to hit the streets, thinking I could be useful straight away - wrong. I had the same misgivings when I went from my month in the field training unit to the frontline. I underestimated how much there was to learn - and that's what makes the job so interesting.

Now I work frontline at Avondale Police Station. We respond to your 111 calls. When we don't have a job to go to we hunt for people causing trouble. And that's balanced with a never-ending tide of paperwork.

To bust some myths:

• No we don't have a "partner" who stays with us for life, we mix it up every day.

• People can't choose to "press charges" on someone else. Police decide when to press charges based on having enough evidence for a chance of successful conviction.

• There is no ticket quota.

• The stereotype of eating doughnuts is not true - it's cake we binge on.

A cop once told me "cake is currency". You bring cake when you start on section (your team), when you finish on section, if you get into the media (yes I need to bring a big cake for this) and sometimes "just because". Cake is around more often than not.

'There's a stereotype that people become cops for the guns and car chases, but almost every one of my classmates said they chose the job to help others.' Photo / Jason Oxenham 'There's a stereotype that people become cops for the guns and car chases, but almost every one of my classmates said they chose the job to help others.' Photo / Jason Oxenham

Working all night and sleeping all day can have its perks - like being able to go to the beach when it's sunny and getting errands done when shops are open.

But being sleep-deprived can haunt you for days. I really struggled at the beginning to get enough sleep. My routine has since improved and I'm proud to announce I slept for six hours straight after my last night shift. It's a work in progress.

Family harm is one of the most common incidents we go to. It used to be called family violence but we use the term 'family harm' now because it encompasses all types of destructive behaviour in unhealthy relationships, including non-physical stuff like financial control and emotional manipulation.

Family harm jobs are meant to make up 60 per cent of our time and police get about 100,000 calls a year.

What struck me when I started is that it's not always the stereotypical man beating his missus.

People like thinking about these incidents as black and white, good and bad, someone's the victim and someone's the offender. But family dynamics are complex and often they're shades of gray where no one is 100 per cent wrong or 100 per cent innocent.

I've arrested a tiny woman with no criminal record for holding a knife to her boyfriend. I've been called to fights that started over him criticising her makeup, when to wash the bedsheets or someone spilling the KFC. I've seen parents in despair with their out-of-control grown-up children.

There are the people who you worry about. The ones who won't let you in. The ones who bear scars on their faces from a brutal assault, but insist they don't want their partner arrested for smashing the door in with a rock.

You see the damage alcohol does. One of my busiest night shifts came after a beautiful Saturday. Perfect drinking weather. Everyone we arrested that night was drunk. You get used to repeating yourself because intoxicated people struggle to comprehend what they've done.

'One of my busiest night shifts came after a beautiful Saturday. Perfect drinking weather. Everyone we arrested that night was drunk.' Photo / Jason Oxenham 'One of my busiest night shifts came after a beautiful Saturday. Perfect drinking weather. Everyone we arrested that night was drunk.' Photo / Jason Oxenham

It seems obvious, but it's taken some getting used to - people lie to police. They lie about their names, where they live, what they are doing. It's amazing the number of people who don't know their friends' names or where they live. Or how almost every unregistered motorist has "only bought the car a couple of days ago".

One man I pulled over looked me in the eyes and swore on his life that he had nothing to do with the petrol drive-off his car was seen at. Then I read out the description - male, Caucasian, slim build, blue eyes, black jacket, blue jeans. It fit him to a T. He crumbled and admitted it all.

When I got out of college I thought we were going to fight for our lives every day. They prepare you for the worst by playing out life-and-death scenarios, having to Taser, pepper spray or even shoot people. I've been pleasantly surprised by how rarely people kick up at work. Policing is more about communication skills than anything else. The best cops can talk their way out of almost anything.

But you have to accept that part of the job is the risk you may have to take drastic action to prevent something tragic from happening. To shoot someone is my personal nightmare, fortunately it rarely happens, but I accept that it comes with the territory.

I love the job because it's real. You're dealing with real people, real problems and constantly solving issues to get the best for everyone. It brings so many new experiences, from the tragic to the joyful and the bizarre.

I'm not hungry for fulfilment any more.


As of August 2018 there were 330 police stations around the country with nearly 12,000 staff who respond to more than 800,000 emergency 111 calls each year.

New Zealand Police is divided into 12 districts; nine in the North Island and three in the South.

In 1941 the first 10 policewomen were recruited

In December, the number of female constabulary officers reached 2000 for the first time

The average expected service is 23 years for women and 22 for men

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