Mia Khalifa Gets Real About PornHub Fame, ISIS Threats, And Why She Regrets Joining The Porn Industry

The ex-porn star bares all in an interview with Lance Armstrong
Youtube / Denlek Zunime

Who is Mia Khalifa? 

Chances are, you’ve heard the name before. She’s been a controversial pop culture figure since 2014 and a celebrity of sorts in the adult entertainment industry. She’s a woman with a story, and she’s not afraid to tell it.

The Lebanese-American Catholic immigrated from Beirut to the U.S. in 2000, and at first, her life trajectory was, some would say, pretty average for a woman living in the U.S. She married an American man soon after she turned 18 and attended the University of Texas for a degree in history. Altogether, it was a pretty traditional lifestyle.

So how did Khalifa make it into the spotlight? It all started when she was 21, newly-graduated, newly-divorced, and working at Whataburger in Miami to make ends meet. She was walking outside of a Fuddruckers at a strip mall when a man approached her about a nude modeling gig, but Khalifa knew what he really meant — he was asking her to be a porn actress. She sat on the offer, and two weeks later, she made the decision: she was going to become an adult entertainer.

“Looking back on it I don’t know what I was thinking … I was 21 and dumb,” she told Lance Armstrong when he interviewed her on his podcast.

But Khalifa probably didn’t have any idea how the industry was about to change her life for good. Over only three months in the adult entertainment industry, Mia Khalifa became one of the most well-known names in porn. With more than 1.5 million views on Pornhub in 2015, she became the site’s No. 1 ranked performer. She was officially Internet famous, but her notoriety didn’t stop there.

This is what happens when the restaurant is upscale, but the weather is downpour ☔️

A post shared by Mia K. (@miakhalifa) on

Khalifa’s huge online success brought plenty of attention her way, including plenty of bad press. After getting several tattoos to display her Lebanese pride, generated plenty of controversy in her home country. Some media criticized Khalifa and shamed her profession, with pundits using her name to debate pornography and the Internet. “They’re embarrassed I’m ‘claiming’ them—as if I had a choice,” she told Newsweek. “I was born there.”

But Khalifa didn’t only face backlash in her birth country — she also became a controversial figure worldwide, especially after one controversial pornographic film in which she wore a hijab. She soon became a target for ISIS, who sent her death threats and told her she would burn in Hell. Ultimately, it was these threats that made her quit the industry for good, just months after she entered it.

“It all started to spiral out of control when the death threats from ISIS started coming in,” she told Armstrong. “That’s when I stepped away.”

But even though Khalifa left the industry, she didn’t completely leave the spotlight. She continued doing work as a cam model and creating interactive content for fans on her Patreon account. And believe it or not, she’s still making a living in front of a camera — except generally fully-clothed this time around. In 2017, Khalifa landed a job at Complex News, where she hosted a daily sports show called “Out of Bounds” on their Youtube channel. She quit the show after a few months, though, to move back to Austin and launch her own show on streaming platform Twitch.

“I didn’t want to be in LA,” she told Armstrong. “It was my dream job but I walked away when I realized I wouldn’t watch my own show.”

Though Mia Khalifa may go down in history as one of the most popular porn stars of our time, her outlook on the adult entertainment industry and the women within it is pretty bleak: “Most girls go into it wanting the fame,” she told Armstrong. “That’s the saddest part… It’s all of these girls who think that’s the only way they can be popular or be liked and it’s so sad.”

Here’s Khalifa’s full interview with Armstrong, which looks in-depth at her time in the porn industry and what she’s been doing since she left:

You can also follow Khalifa on Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch. TC mark

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