We interview Belle Knox, college student turned porn star, to get the full story about her career choice
University isn’t cheap. Millions of students around the world face the prospect of starting working life with a huge debt on their shoulders. One 18-year-old student at the prestigious Duke University, Belle Knox (her porn name), chose a career in porn to pay for her studies. However, after one of her classmates revealed her porn secret on campus, Belle decided to go on the offensive and went public. We spoke to Belle to get the full story.
MTV Staying Alive: Hey Belle, we’re intrigued as to how you ended up working in the sex industry? Was it something you’ve always been interested in or was it really just a way to make a quick buck to pay for college?
Belle Knox: Well, I found myself in a bind that millions of middle-class and upper-middle class students find themselves in. The cost of studying at Duke University is US$60,000 a year. On paper, my family makes too much money to qualify for sufficient financial aid, but in reality, we cannot afford Duke’s $60,000 a year price tag.
Each month, my family was faced with a staggering $4300 a month tuition bill. I didn’t qualify for any government loans, so I had the option of taking out private loans at the rate of 11% interest or simply paying out of pocket. In today’s economy, and everyone can attest to this, finding a job is nearly impossible—especially if you are an 18-year-old full-time student with no formal job skills and no transportation.
I knew that sex work was lucrative, but it wasn’t something I fully considered until I found myself needing a way to pay for tuition. I half-heartedly sent in my pictures to a few adult modelling agencies, and within days I was being barraged with calls from agents telling me that they saw potential for me in the industry.
I saw that porn could give me the financial independence I needed. Porn was not my only option. It was not my last resort or some type of desperate exchange. I could have easily taken out loans, but I chose not to. I am 18 years old, and I did not want to be saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt for the rest of my life.
MTV: There are positives to your job like any, but what would you say are the negative aspects of your job?
BK: Porn can be physically exhausting, but on the whole, the industry is very supportive of what is needed to support us as performers in our staying power, longevity, and overall health and safety.
MTV: Does what you do empower you? Is it possible (in your opinion) to be a feminist while working in the porn industry?
BK: Yes, and absolutely. Feminism is not one size fits all. For me, feminism is about having no shame and not being stigmatised because I work in the X-rated industry. It’s empowering for me to not be afraid to express my sexuality and to take pride in being both a sex worker and a college student at an elite university. Women don’t need to be put into boxes of “Madonna” or “whore.” They can be anything they want, and I think my story is one example of that.
Read Belle’s sex education horror story here.
For more on the porn debate, click here.
What do you think about Belle’s choice to go into porn to pay for her university fees?