At just 22 years old, Lebanese-American former adult film actress Mia Khalifa was one of the most popular female talents in the industry. But looking back now at age 25, Khalifa wishes she could take it all back.
In a new interview with Lance Armstrong on The Forward Podcast Khalifa recalled how she left the industry after just three months following death threats from the terrorist group ISIS.
"It all started to spiral out of control when the death threats from ISIS started coming in," Khalifa said. "That's when I stepped away.
"As soon as I started to gain popularity that's when I was like, 'Get the f— out of this. This was not what I was trying to do whatsoever.' I just wanted to let loose and rebel a little bit. It didn't validate me. Nothing like that ever does. That's not what you should be doing to try and build your self-esteem," Khalifa added.
Khalifa entered the industry in October 2014 after a customer approached her while working at Whataburger and asked if she'd consider doing adult films. By the end of 2014 she was already the most-searched talent on multiple popular adult film websites.
Following her departure from the business she joined Complex in 2017 as a host for the YouTube show Out of Bounds, though she left that gig after just two months.
"I didn't want to be in LA," Khalifa said. "It was my dream job but I walked away when I realised I wouldn't watch my own show. I love Complex but they were understanding when I said they wanted to leave."
"This is where her career will go to die," Khalifa said. "I have no respect for the WWE. I don't think it's a real sport. ...You go from real fights to wearing a sequin unitard and pretending to fight?"
Khalifa's comments earned a wave of backlash from professional wrestlers on social media, and even prompted former WWE talent Eva Marie to come on the show and defend the business.
"You have to put your body through a lot of physicality with wrestling," Marie said. "Like you're saying, you think it's fake, however when you get in the ring you're really taking those bumps, you're really taking a clothesline, you really get thrown out of the ring."
"It is a sport," Marie continued. "You know how your whole preception will change is if we get in a ring and you train for four weeks. This is where the difference shakes... NFL, NBA, they all have offseasons. Wrestling doesn't have an offseason. We're on the the road 290 days out of the year, performing in different cities every single night."
As for her next venture, Khalifa told Armstrong she might pursue a career as a cook.
"I'm a cook - I've been cooking since I could walk, all different cuisines," Khalifa said. "I'm in process of writing sample chapters. It's a story of my life through recipes."