Mia Khalifa is one of the biggest names in porn. Last year, PornHub announced she had become its most searched star. All of this despite her starring in relatively few sex videos compared to the majority of workers in the porn industry.
An investigation into the rise and rise of 23-year-old Khalifa by Complex attempted to shed some light on how she rose to fame so quickly.
Born in Lebanon, she moved to the United States with her parents in 2000, spending time at Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia before graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Married at 18, Mia Khalifa began her career in the adult entertainment industry by posting photographs to Reddit's notorious 'gonewild' thread. Her first film, She's Lovin' It And Havin' It Her Way, was uploaded to porn site Scoreland on 17 October, 2014.
She appeared in fewer than 10 videos on the site before she began uploading pornography onto her own website. One of these featured her enacting a 'fantasy', involving a threesome with a man, her step-mum and herself.
Captioning the video, she said: "I've always had a fantasy that went a little something like this: when my step-mom finds out I'm dating an American man, she's just about lose her shit. Thankfully, we're a sweet conservative family that is level headed and reasonable.
"So naturally we have a competition to see who can please my boyfriend better to determine whether I could keep dating him or not. Totally normal, right?
"I was apprehensive about having a threesome in general let alone with my STEP MOM, but taboo seems to be my middle name. Making a reenactment of this fantasy opened a mental door for me that lead me to want to venture out into the other side of threesomes... I'm so happy I get to archive all my dirty deeds and deepest, darkest fantasies in one place for you guys."
The video, in which Khalifa wears a hijab, was brought to the attention of the public in Lebanon, Mia's home country, sparking outrage among local conservative groups. The story was widely reported on news outlets such as the BBC and she received death threats from organisations including ISIS.
Ironically, that publicity helped to springboard her to international fame. Complex reports that a number theories have been offered on why Khalifa caught on the way she did. But the most common is that she represents something taboo. Khalifa not only wears a hijab, but has tattoos of the Lebanese National Anthem and the Lebanese Forces cross. All these together make something of an enigma. She is actually a Christian, but her Middle Eastern background creates an aura for a market not widely filled in the porn industry.
But, although she continues to feature in Pornhub's top three pornstars, she left the industry last year after becoming disillusioned with it, and while she continues web-camming, her hardcore pornstar career appears to have finished.
In a July 2016 interview with The Washington Post, Khalifa revealed she had only performed in pornography for three months and had left the industry over a year before, changing to a "more normal job".
Speaking about porn, she said: "I guess it was my rebellious phase. It wasn't really for me. I kind of smartened up and tried to distance myself from that."
Featured image credit: Instagram
Topics: Mia Khalifa