Social media is in an uproar discussing the adult film industry, after former star Mia Khalifa revealed her earnings. Khalifa had a brief but popular career making adult films, and many thought she simply made the money she wanted and got out. In a new niterview, she explained that that is not the case.
Khalifa gave a wide-ranging interview with Megan Abbott, a life coach with a burgeoning YouTube channel. In the talk show-style video, Abbott and Khalifa talked for nearly an hour and a half about careers, public perception and social taboos. The big revelation, however, was Khalifa’s relatively low salary for the work she was doing.
“People think I’m racking in millions from porn. Completely untrue,” Khalifa tweeted along with a clip from the interview. “I made a TOTAL of around $12,000 in the industry and never saw a penny again after that. Difficulty finding a normal job after quitting porn was… scary.”
Readers and fans were blown away by this figure given Khalifa’s prominent place in the adult film industry. For those that do not follow, she shared her story in more detail than ever before.
Khalifa was approached by a casting director on the street in Miami and asked to audition as a model in 2014. As she recounted, she took some time to think about it, visited their offices, verified that everything was safe and professional, then began shooting adult films.
Khalifa said that she shot videos for “three or four months” without incident, though the work did wear on her emotionally. She described the intense cycle of feeling validated, disassociating, then starting all over again. All the while, she hoped that she could maintain a normal personal life and relative anonymity outside of the industry, but after a while her friends and family started to find out about her work.
I do not own the site/profit from it any way. I’ve never seen a penny from it. All I’ve wanted these last years is for the site to be changed from my direct name. (Porn) corporations prey on callow young women & trap them legally into contracts when they’re vulnerable. https://t.co/YShu7Y5H2o
— Mia K. (@miakhalifa) August 10, 2019
Khalifa wanted to leave the adult film industry then, but first she was signed on to shoot one more video — controversial scene where she wore a hijab. The provocative outfit got Khalifa threats from ISIS, banned from certain Muslim countries and world-wide attention. All of the sudden, her hopes of having any anonymity were gone, and her personal safety was in danger.
With her secret now exposed, Khalifa said that she decided there was nothing left to lose in continuing to make adult films. She worked in the industry for two more months before realizing that it was making her unhappy, so she resigned.
This added up to a total of about five or six months in the industry. In the ensuing discussion on Twitter, Khalifa noted that she does not operate her own website, and therefore does not get continuing income from her past work, in spite of her ongoing popularity after retirement.
Title is not misleading at all if you actually listen to the interview. I talk about the misconception of how much I/other girls make in the industry, I’m not lamenting on what I did earn. But you clearly have deeper issues with me past this, so good luck with your bitter life ?
— Mia K. (@miakhalifa) August 12, 2019
She made it clear that she was not implying that she was owed something, only trying to clear up misconceptions and shed light on an industry many people are happy to ignore.
“To clarify, I was never promised ‘millions,’ nor do I expect it,” she wrote. “I’m just clarifying common misconceptions about me, and in turn, about the industry.”
Many people praised Khalifa, both for telling a difficult personal story and for helping spread awareness about how performers are really compensated. However, a few users condemned the interview as “misleading,” saying that she is still profiting from the exposure she first got as an adult film star.
That’s worse than any terrible scumbag music industry deal in the last 20+ years. There should be some sort of stream or porn publishing deal. $1,000 a video???? Damn.
— BEN BALLER™ (@BENBALLER) August 13, 2019
Khalifa now operates a successful YouTube channel where she posts video blogs about her daily life. She is also on Twitch, Patreon and other creators’ content from time to time. She co-hosts a sports show called Out of Bounds on Complex News, which airs daily.
Still, many agree that these indirect benefits are hardly fair compensation for Khalifa’s work.