Mia Khalifa was an grownup movie star for under three months. However in that brief time span, she had a dizzying ascent throughout the business that, as she has spoken out about through the years, was laced with exploitation.
On PornHub, Khalifa’s movies have garnered greater than 1 billion views. Regardless of pulling in large income for manufacturing corporations and websites, Khalifa claims to have made solely round $12,000. However what in the end led to her stepping away from the grownup business in 2015 was receiving demise threats from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria for doing a intercourse scene whereas sporting a hijab—one thing she voiced her considerations about on the time, however as a newcomer she felt like she wasn’t ready to say no. It additionally didn’t matter to producers (or ISIS) that Khalifa is Catholic, not Muslim.
Since leaving the standard grownup leisure area, Khalifa has used her platform to highlight the inequitable energy buildings throughout the business in addition to to transition into different areas of curiosity resembling activism, which in a roundabout manner has helped her reconcile her relationship to grownup leisure.
Final August, Khalifa put the glasses she used to put on in a few of her grownup movies up for public sale on eBay to lift cash for the Lebanese Pink Cross following the huge explosion in Beirut that killed greater than 200 individuals. However when the $100,000 sale fell through, Khalifa, a Lebanese American, turned to OnlyFans as a “fast cash seize” to make good on her promise to donate to the humanitarian group working in Lebanon—albeit not with out some hesitation.
“I used to be nonetheless at a really bizarre level the place I shied away from a variety of issues that have been overtly grownup, as a result of I didn’t know the best way to reconcile that inside myself,” says Khalifa of the platform that’s open to all creators however has grow to be synonymous with specific content material.
Nevertheless, the extra time she spent on OnlyFans, the extra she found herself comfortable. “I simply actually began having fun with my time on the platform,” she says. “My favourite half is the community. After I was on Patreon, I by no means spoke to any followers. I really feel just like the OnlyFans community actually takes care of one another.”
For instance, Khalifa says she’ll typically check posts by sending them to a different creator she met on the platform earlier than sending it out to her personal subscribers. She says she additionally feels much less stress to create shiny productions, which, in a manner, hearkens again to what OnlyFans CEO Tim Stokely noticed for his firm to start with: a social media platform like every other except a fee button.
“With Patreon and the opposite platforms that I used to be on, my content material was much more produced. I might rent a photographer, a hair and make-up artist, all of these things. It made me not take pleasure in doing these issues. It felt like a chore,” Khalifa says. “So my strategy to OnlyFans from the start has been no matter I might publish on Instagram or no matter I might publish to my shut associates. No matter makes me really feel good is what I resolve to share. I take pleasure in it much more as a result of it’s not an enormous manufacturing. It’s all simply my digicam roll.”
Combined in along with her common posts, Khalifa has continued to make use of OnlyFans to lift cash for varied organizations, together with the Los Angeles Boys & Ladies Membership. “My favourite factor has been seeing extra suggestions on posts for these fundraisers than an image of my butt or one thing,” she says.
General, Khalifa’s time on OnlyFans has been a a lot wanted reminder of consent.
Her temporary stint in additional conventional grownup leisure was marred by the rampant exploitation of performers that has largely coloured the business. Whereas OnlyFans hasn’t been with out its personal controversies—specifically the abrupt 180 from banning specific content material on the positioning that many noticed because the erasure of the grownup content material creators who constructed it—the platform has actually given creators resembling Khalifa extra management in what they publish.
“I used to have a lot disgrace surrounding my previous and the grownup business basically, to the purpose the place I resented something that needed to do with that. Being on OnlyFans and assembly and speaking to a variety of the creators has opened my thoughts and made me really feel utterly completely different about it,” Khalifa says. “But it surely all comes again to consent. These ladies are doing what they’re doing independently and not with predatory corporations. That’s the place my shift was.
“As an alternative of hating something that has to do with porn,” she continues, “I’ve come to understand that there’s a distinction between moral and unethical methods to devour porn.”