And you were 21 years old, you were just leaving childhood.
The human brain does not fully develop until age 25. Then the decision-making part of my brain still needed training. There was no one to tell me what to do.
You became the number one star in this business. Didn't he have royalties or rights to get some kind of reward for your popularity?
None. None at all.
In the video of the hijab, the most popular, three young people participate. You were one of them and you wore the Islamic scarf. You had to know how provocative that was.
I literally told them that they will kill me.
Why didn't you say you weren't going to do it?
Intimidation. I was afraid. No one forces you to have sex, but I was still scared. Have you ever felt nervous about saying something in a restaurant when the food is not right and the waiter comes and asks "how is everything"? I was intimidated. Was nervous.
You say that the concept of consent makes no sense in the dynamics of power between the men who control the porn industry and a young 21-year-old actress like you.
Absolutely. When there are four white producers in the room and you tell them something like that, and everyone laughs, it's devastating and makes you not want to talk or say anything. It is the same when you sign your contract, you know the president and CEO of the company in the room, he is with you waiting for you to read it and when you are reading it you do not understand anything that is written, because you are very nervous, because people make you He is watching.
When you left the filming set at the end of that particular movie, did you know deep down that this was going to be a disaster for you?
He didn't hit me until the next day, because the adrenaline was still very high.
But immediately after its launch, my whole world was shattered. The reason I thought it was good to do porn was because I thought nobody would find out. There are millions of girls who record themselves having sex and do things like that, and nobody knows their names. No one knows who they are. No one recognizes them that way. I wanted to do it as my dirty little secret, but it exploded in my face.
Khalifa says he assumes 100% responsibility for having participated in the porn industry, which he considers today to be a mistake.
From the point of view of filmmakers and distributors, it was a triumph.
They said I was like lightning that fell into a bottle.
The reality for you was that your face was known throughout the world as the porn star wearing hijab and suffered threats.
Oh yeah. I will not say about EI, because I don't think everyone who is very involved with EI has a Twitter account. They put a picture of me on someone who was beheaded and said ... I don't know exactly what they said. They said something that would be next.
I can't imagine how alone you must have felt at that moment, because you couldn't discuss this with your family.
No. It was scary. But my mechanism to deal with these things is humor. So my answer was: "Well, as long as you don't cut my tits. They are worth a lot of money."
You were 21 years old. Now five years have passed. How much personal responsibility do you assume for what you did?
The 100%. I made the decision. Of course the industry is imperfect and we must do something to protect other girls so they don't fall into the same trap as me. But it was my choice.
Going out of business when that viral video was so well known and associated with something so provocative, and you received the threats ... Was it a very quick decision for you?
I wouldn't say very fast, because I was still nervous. I didn't know how to react to that. In fact, I summoned them all at a meeting a month later and I had a resignation letter for each one and told them about my feelings. They tried to convince me to stay and they told me that all this would happen and that I was safe, that I was exaggerating.
Then these guys saw you frankly as a money machine.
Do you think you suffer some type of post-traumatic stress from this experience?
Yes. And I think it is activated mainly when I go out because I feel that people can see through my clothes and I feel very ashamed and it makes me feel like I have lost all my privacy. Because I am on a Google search.
The suicide of porn actress August Ames at the end of 2017 led some female colleagues to protest their situation and the pressures they face.
You have no right to delete the images, even if they are deeply personal to you. It is very difficult.
This story is your story. But frankly, it's also the story of other porn actors and actresses.
Honestly, I started to realize that p agoOco. People started communicating with me. My manager checks emails and when he receives things like that, he filters them and sends them to me. Reading the words of some of these girls who have been trafficked and forced into pornography, all these stories of girls whose lives have been ruined (...) makes me feel that it was good to start talking and to do this interview.
Consecutive deaths of 5 porn actresses who set off alarms about the harsh conditions of the adult entertainment industry in the US
There is a school of thought that says that in many countries young people are so exposed to pornography that it is changing the way men and women interact. What do you think?
Of course it affects relationships. Porn addiction is very frequent. The things that men see in the videos are expected of women in their lives, and that is not the reality. Nobody is going to be so perfect, nobody will do those acts on a Wednesday night.
If you could talk to that 21-year-old girl, Mia Khalifa, walking down the street in Florida, stopped by the boy who said, "You are beautiful, lovely. I can work with you," what would you tell her to do today?
There is a pepper spray of gas in your bag for a reason. Use it. Run!