Mia Khalifa

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Mia Khalifa
ميا خليفة
Mia Khalifa in 2019
Khalifa in October 2019
Born1993 (age 29–30)[1]
Beirut, Lebanon
Alma materUniversity of Texas at El Paso (BA)
Years active2014–2019; 2023

Mia Khalifa (/mə kəˈlfə/; Arabic: ميا خليفة, romanizedMiyа̄ Ḵalīfah [mijaː χaliːfa(h)]; born 1993)[1] is a Lebanese-American media personality and former pornographic film actress and webcam model. She began acting in pornography in October 2014, becoming the most viewed performer on Pornhub in two months. Her career choice was met with controversy in the Middle East, especially for a video in which she performed sexual acts while wearing a hijab.

Early life and education

Khalifa was born in Beirut, Lebanon[1] and raised Catholic in what she describes as a "very conservative" home,[2] Khalifa attended a French-language private school in Beirut, where she also learned to speak English.[2] She moved with her family to the United States in 2001,[3] leaving their home in the wake of the South Lebanon conflict.[1][2]

After moving to the United States, her family lived in Montgomery County, Maryland,[2][3] where she played lacrosse in high school.[4] She has said she was bullied at school for being "the darkest and weirdest girl there", which intensified after the September 11 attacks.[2]

She attended Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia, and later graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Arts in history.[2][5] She supported herself while there by working as a bartender, model, and "briefcase girl" on a local Deal or No Deal-esque Spanish game show.[2]

Pornographic film career

Khalifa entered the professional pornographic film industry in October 2014.[6] Her stage name was taken from the name of her dog, Mia, and American rapper Wiz Khalifa.[7]

She came to widespread attention after the release of a scene from Bang Bros in which she wears a hijab during a threesome.[2] The scene brought Khalifa instant popularity, as well as criticism from writers and religious figures, and led to her parents publicly disowning her.[2][8] Alex Hawkins, vice president of marketing for xHamster, said, "The outrage it caused in the Arab world ended up being a bit of a 'Streisand effect'. Suddenly, everyone was searching for her. The effort to censor her only made her more ubiquitous."[2] With more than 1.5 million views, the 22-year-old Khalifa became the most searched-for performer on the adult video sharing website Pornhub.[9]

On December 28, 2018, Pornhub revealed that she was the No. 1 ranked performer on their website."[10] After becoming the most searched-for actress on Pornhub, Khalifa received online death threats, including a manipulated image of Khalifa being held captive by an Islamic State executioner and a warning that she would be "the first person in Hellfire", to which she jokingly replied, "I've been meaning to get a little tan recently."[11] Lebanese newspapers wrote articles critical of Khalifa, which she considered trivial due to other events in the region.[12]

In an interview with The Washington Post, Khalifa said the controversial scene was satirical and should be taken as such, claiming that Hollywood films depicted Muslims in a far more negative light than any pornographer could.[11] Among those who publicly spoke out to defend her decision to become an adult performer was British-Lebanese author Nasri Atallah, who stated, "The moral indignation ... is wrong for two reasons. First and foremost, as a woman, she is free to do as she pleases with her body. As a sentient human being with agency, who lives halfway across the world, she is in charge of her own life and owes absolutely nothing to the country where she happened to be born."[1][10] Khalifa said, "Women's rights in Lebanon are a long way from being taken seriously if a Lebanese American porn star that no longer resides there can cause such an uproar. What I once boasted to people as being the most Westernized nation in the Middle East, I now see as devastatingly archaic and oppressed."[11]

According to data from Pornhub, from January 3 to 6, 2015, searches for Khalifa increased five-fold. Around a quarter of those searches came from Lebanon, with substantial searches also from nearby countries Syria and Jordan.[13] Almaza, a Lebanese brewery, ran an advertisement showing a bottle of their beer next to Khalifa's signature glasses, with the slogan: "We are both rated 18+."[14] In January 2015, pop-rap duo Timeflies released a song titled "Mia Khalifa" in homage to her.[15]

In January 2015, Khalifa signed a long-term contract with Bang Bros' parent company, WGCZ Holding, who also own the largest free porn site XVideos. The contract required her to perform in multiple films each month. However, two weeks later, Khalifa had a change of heart and resigned.[2] The negative attention she received from her global attention prompted her to leave the industry: "It was an eye-opener for me. I don't want any of this, whether it's positive or negative—but all of it was negative. I didn't think too much into it about how my friends and family and relationships were suffering."[2] WGCZ Holding own a web page with a domain name using her stage name. Khalifa said it does not pay her for rights, even though it is written in her first-person voice.[16]

In a July 2016 interview with The Washington Post, Khalifa stated that she had only performed in pornography for three months and had left the industry over a year before, changing to a "more normal job." 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."[4] She said she continued to perform as a webcam model for Bang Bros for eleven months after she stopped shooting scenes before Complex Networks offered her to host a sports show.[17] Carter Cruise, a former performer who became a disc jockey, criticized Khalifa for reinforcing the social stigma against sex work in distancing herself from her previous career.[17]

In January 2017, xHamster reported that Khalifa was the most-searched-for adult actress of 2016.[18] In 2018, three years after leaving the industry, she was still the second-highest-ranked person on Pornhub.[19] In August 2019, Khalifa stated that she made $12,000 working in porn by making an estimated $1,000 per scene – standard contractor compensation from production studios in the industry, according to Alec Helmy, president and publisher of adult entertainment industry news site XBIZ – and that she did not receive residuals from BangBros or from Pornhub and other free sites where BangBros uploaded the videos.[16][20] While PornHub has not stated how much revenue Khalifa's videos had generated for the site, according to a 2019 estimate by Social Blade CEO Jason Urgo based on YouTube-like advertising revenue per view, she could have made over $500,000 had she been a PornHub partner.[20]

In July 2020, more than 1.5 million people signed a Change.org petition campaigning for her videos to be removed from sites like Pornhub and BangBros and her Internet domains returned to her.[21] BangBros sent her a cease and desist letter and set up a website to dispute statements she made about the company.[22][17] BangBros says that Khalifa earned over $178,000 from them and their affiliates and was in the adult industry for more than two years.[22]

Other work

After three months working as an adult-film actor,[2] Khalifa worked in Miami as a paralegal and bookkeeper.[2] She transitioned into a career as a social media personality, webcam model, and sports commentator. She runs a YouTube channel; live streams on Twitch, including performing as a non-pornographic webcam model; sells photoshoots, merchandise, and access to exclusive content on membership website Patreon; and sold explicit photoshoots and videos on the social media website Findrow.[2] Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post wrote in 2016 that, despite Khalifa's change of career, her social media feed was "still a bit more risqué than that of, say, Ben Bernanke."[4]

She has used her social media presence to support professional sports teams from the Washington, D.C., area.[4] She and Gilbert Arenas hosted Out of Bounds, a daily sports show on Complex News's YouTube channel, from October 2017 to February 2018.[23] Khalifa then co-hosted Sportsball with Tyler Coe on Rooster Teeth. Its final episode was released on October 30, 2018.[24][25]

In May 2020, she had a guest appearance as herself in the Hulu show Ramy.[26]

In June 2023, Khalifa launched a jewelry line called "Sheytan" alongside Sara Burn, a former Virgil Abloh collaborator.[27]

Personal life

Khalifa married her high school boyfriend in February 2011.[1] They separated in 2014 and divorced in 2016.[2] In 2019, she married professional chef Robert Sandberg; they separated in 2020.[7] As of 2022, she is in a relationship with Puerto Rican rapper Jhayco.[7] She said in 2015 that she was no longer a practicing Catholic.[13]

Khalifa has a tattoo of the opening line of the National Anthem of Lebanon and another of the Lebanese Forces Cross. She got the latter after the October 2012 Beirut bombing, stating it was to "show solidarity with [her] father's political views." Both tattoos have come under scrutiny by her detractors.[11] She has revealed that her parents stopped speaking to her because of her career choice.[11][8] Her parents released a statement disassociating themselves from her actions and blaming her decision to enter the porn industry on her residence in a foreign country which had a different culture than theirs, and that her actions did not reflect her upbringing. They also said that they hoped that she would leave pornography, believing that her image did not honor her family or home country.[1]

In popular culture

In November 2016, an online petition called for Khalifa to be appointed by President-elect Donald Trump as the next United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.[28]

In 2018, the musical duo iLoveFriday released a diss track called "Mia Khalifa," in response to a fake tweet posted by a user impersonating Khalifa. The song became an internet meme after the "hit or miss" snippet gained popularity on the TikTok app.[29][30] At the time, it was said to be one of the most well-known viral TikTok memes in the Western world, and had been used in over four million TikTok videos.[31]

At the 2021 CPI on the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil, Senator Luis Carlos Heinze mentioned that a study published in The Lancet on the effectiveness of chloroquine as a COVID treatment was carried out by a company whose sales manager was a pornographic film actress.[32][33][34][35] In response, senator Randolfe Rodrigues jokingly proposed "summon[ing] Mia Khalifa".[32][36] Khalifa then wrote on Twitter, "I'm not a doctor, so don't take medical advice from fake memes of me you found on WhatsApp."[32][37][38]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Smith-Spark, Laura; Alhenawi, Roba (January 8, 2015). "Songs and death threats for Lebanese American porn star Mia Khalifa". CNN. Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Bella, Timothy (April 9, 2018). "You Don't Know Mia Khalifa". Playboy. Archived from the original on June 24, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Jones-Cooper, Brittany; Cosgrove, Jacquie (October 14, 2021). "'I was naive': Mia Khalifa on life after adult films and reclaiming her power with OnlyFans". Yahoo Life. Archived from the original on October 15, 2021. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d Steinberg, Dan (July 13, 2016). "A former porn star has become one of D.C.'s loudest sports fans on social media". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 13, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  5. ^ Wofford, Taylor (January 6, 2015). "Meet Mia Khalifa, the Lebanese Porn Star Who Sparked a National Controversy". Newsweek. Archived from the original on January 6, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  6. ^ Ogilve, Jessica (July 24, 2015). "Inside Mia Khalifa's Mysterious Rise to Porn Superstardom". Complex. Archived from the original on January 2, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Please Respect Mia Khalifa's Rebrand". Bustle. May 10, 2022. Archived from the original on May 10, 2022. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Mia Khalifa: 'Porn is not reality'". BBC HARDtalk. September 6, 2019. Archived from the original on September 4, 2020. Retrieved July 15, 2020 – via YouTube. Stephen Sackur: 'And I guess this is a very stupid question, but of course your family had no clue as to what you were doing?' Mia Khalifa: 'No, and they disowned me when they did. When they found out.'{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)[time needed]
  9. ^ Weisman, Carrie (January 15, 2015). "Why porn is exploding in the Middle East". Salon. Archived from the original on January 16, 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Taylor, Adam (January 6, 2015). "Analysis | The Miami porn star getting death threats from Lebanon". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e Saul, Heather (January 7, 2015). "Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 12, 2022. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  12. ^ "Lebanese porn star Mia Khalifa sparks controversy in Lebanon". Lebanese Examiner. January 3, 2015. Archived from the original on August 1, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Butterly, Amelia (January 8, 2015). "Mia Khalifa, a Lebanon-born porn star, is getting 'scary' death threats". BBC News. Archived from the original on March 14, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  14. ^ Kotecki, Nick (January 7, 2015). "Lenanese American porn actress Mia Khalifa receives death threats". Pittsburgh Sun-Times. Archived from the original on January 19, 2015.
  15. ^ Kaufman, Gil (January 7, 2015). "Hijab-Wearing Porn Star Mia Khalifa Got Her Own Theme Song Courtesy of Timeflies". MTV News. Archived from the original on January 10, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  16. ^ a b Horton, Alex (August 16, 2019). "Mia Khalifa is among the world's most-watched women. Yet the porn industry is keeping the profits". TheWashington Post. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  17. ^ a b c Snow, Aurora (July 14, 2020). "The Porn World Exposes Mia Khalifa". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on July 15, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  18. ^ Brown, Jessica (January 5, 2017). "Meet the world's most popular porn star – they're from Lebanon". The Independent. Archived from the original on February 28, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  19. ^ Hay, Mark (June 27, 2018). "Mia Khalifa Only Did Porn Three Months But She's Still a Pornhub Sensation". Vice. Archived from the original on April 8, 2020. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  20. ^ a b Cowen, Trace William (August 13, 2019). "Mia Khalifa Reveals She Only Made $12,000 as an Adult Film Star". Complex. Archived from the original on December 29, 2019. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  21. ^ Khalil, Shireen (July 3, 2020). "Ex-porn star's fans help remove X-rated videos". News.com.au. Archived from the original on July 9, 2020. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Cole, Samantha (July 10, 2020). "BangBros Is Staging a Public Relations Campaign Against Mia Khalifa". Vice. Archived from the original on July 10, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  23. ^ Steinberg, Dan (October 10, 2017). "Gilbert Arenas and Mia Khalifa will co-host a daily sports talk show for Complex". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 12, 2019. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  24. ^ "Sportsball". RoosterTeeth. Archived from the original on June 2, 2020. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  25. ^ "Mia Khalifa on Co-hosting Sportsball and Working with Tyler Coe". GameRevolution. July 19, 2018. Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  26. ^ St. Félix, Doreen (May 18, 2020). "'Ramy''s Comedy of Spiritual Errors". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  27. ^ "Can Internet 'It Girl' Mia Khalifa Build a Lasting Business?". The Business of Fashion. July 17, 2023. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  28. ^ "Petitioners suggest Trump name US-Lebanese ex-porn star as Saudi envoy". The Jerusalem Post. November 29, 2016. Archived from the original on November 30, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  29. ^ "A TikTok trend is probably why you've been hearing the phrase 'hit or miss' yelled in public lately". Business Insider. December 20, 2018. Archived from the original on February 1, 2019. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  30. ^ Manavis, Sarah (January 9, 2019). "TikTok: The unlikely meme-generator you're about to see everywhere". New Statesman. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  31. ^ Cooper, Duncan (February 12, 2019). "How TikTok Gets Rich While Paying Artists Pennies". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on May 26, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  32. ^ a b c Ramos, Ana Paula (June 8, 2021). "Bingo do Heinze: Entenda como Mia Khalifa virou assunto da CPI da Covid" [Heinze Bingo: Understand how Mia Khalifa became the subject of Covid CPI]. br.noticias.yahoo.com (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  33. ^ Hailer, Marcelo (May 26, 2021). "Citada por senador, atriz Mia Khalifa ironiza: 'Não aceite conselhos médicos de meme do WhatsApp'" [Cited by senator, actress Mia Khalifa quips: 'Don't accept medical advice from WhatsApp meme']. Revista Fórum (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  34. ^ "Citada na CPI de novo, Mia Khalifa diz: 'Sou a política brasileira, queridinho'" [Quoted in the CPI again, Mia Khalifa says: 'I am Brazilian politics, darling']. Último Segundo (in Brazilian Portuguese). São Paulo: Internet Group. Agência O Globo. September 30, 2021. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  35. ^ "Notas Taquigráficas: 25/05/2021 - 11ª - CPI da Pandemia". Brasília: Senado Federal. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  36. ^ "Mia Khalifa responde Randolfe Rodrigues sobre CPI da Covid-19: 'Estou a caminho'" [Mia Khalifa answers Randolfe Rodrigues about Covid-19's CPI: 'I'm on my way']. Jovem Pan (in Brazilian Portuguese). July 19, 2021. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  37. ^ Ávila, Flávia (July 19, 2021). "Mia Khalifa responde Randolfe Rodrigues sobre a CPI: 'Estou a caminho'" [Mia Khalifa answers Randolfe Rodrigues about the CPI: 'I'm on my way']. O Fuxico (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  38. ^ Mia K. [@miakhalifa] (May 25, 2021). "Ummm I don't know who needs to hear this (Brazil), but I'm not a doctor, so don't take medical advise [sic] from fake memes of me you found on WhatsApp... tchau♥️" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

Further reading

External links