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From adult film star to style icon: Mia Khalifa

Vogue India interviewed the former adult actress about fashion and transformation.


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Mia Khalifa spoke to Vogue India about her long journey to becoming a fashion icon. Her turbulent trajectory alternates between astounding celebrity and persistent criticism. Originally from Lebanon, her 2014 debut in adult entertainment propelled her to sudden success on adult entertainment websites within two months.

Khalifa’s adult entertainment fame reached new heights in 2015, when she was named the top actress and searched on multiple platforms. Despite this passion, she left the adult film industry at a crucial point. After that phase, Khalifa transformed into a social media star, webcam model, and sports commentator.

Khalifa’s new life changed drastically after leaving adult films. Her 2023 Paris Fashion Week appearance in Jean Paul Gaultier and Schiaparelli outfits was a turning point in her career. In the face of constant scrutiny, Khalifa’s transformation shows her strength and determination to change the narrative.

She has remained a strong champion for the Palestinian cause despite opposition from official, verified Israeli X accounts and the public because of her resilience. Her outspokenness against Israeli atrocities stands out in a sea of brownnosing fear and self-interest. Khalifa has emerged from her cocoon, free from fear and humiliation, eager to conquer a new realm. In a conversation with Vogue India, she reveals this.

“Adversity builds character,” Khalifa says. I convince myself that I survived worse. Mostly mental. They create beta blockers for the rest, she jokes. “I handle it. Life gets hard when things are improving, not when they’re getting easier.

The influencer dismissed criticism of her KNWLS spring/summer 2024 runway appearance, repeating Chris Brown’s lyrics: “Girl, how can you hate from outside of the club? You can’t even get in.” Per the journal, her unabashed position places her in a lineage of groundbreaking women like Madonna and Dita Von Teese who’ve bucked convention and broken social norms.

Khalifa’s public image has fluctuated between admiration and criticism. She handles criticism well but is less comfortable with praise. She says, “I was waiting for Charlotte [the founder of fashion label KNWLS that gave Khalifa her runway debut] to notice that she booked me and not Mia Goth.”

Khalifa says, “I have collected fashion over the years and consumed it like stan accounts consume pop stars. Fandom immerses me in fashion. The chance to be in the same rooms, let alone front-row at events, was strange. Her off-white haul symbolized how retail therapy changed her look. She mixes GCDS and Ann Demeulemeester brands in her eclectic style.

She easily switches from vivid acetate eyeglasses and goth-inspired corset skirts and trousers to oversized button-downs. “Every time I dress, I cosplay,” she says. “I can be whoever I want to be.” Additionally, “One day, I’ll like to wear a whole yellow JW Anderson to appear like a chick out of an egg. The next day, I want to appear like Brendahashtag [Brenda Weischer, Instagram account].

Khalifa says, “I’d look like an all-American girl in Brooks Brothers and Sperry—all the things that didn’t align with me.” She seems to be finding her footing, whatever that is. The star says, “I prefer alien looks to copy-paste Instagram.”

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