Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber

How the Duke University law student became one of the most searched for people on the internet

A week ago, if you’d have mentioned the name Belle Knox at a party, the only people who would have looked in your direction would have been a few red-faced boys who spend too much time locked in their rooms frantically clearing their internet search history.

Now, she’s one of the biggest names on the internet – a veritable overnight success story with more hits on Google than Pope Francis and Justin Bieber combined.

Why? Because Belle Knox, an 18-year-old Duke University law student struggling to pay her way through school is, in fact, a porn star, who has funded her education by starring in blue movies by the names of ‘Lick My Lips’ and ‘How Do You Like It’.

“I really enjoy sex, and I’ve always loved watching porn, so it just seemed like I could pay my way through college doing something I really love doing,” Knox, a major in women’s studies and sociology, told the New York Daily News.

The $47,000-a-year tuition fees for the North Carolina school were too much for her family to fork out for, and she couldn’t, she says, risk the mounting debt she’d encounter by taking out a loan. And no amounts of shifts at MacDonald’s would have made up the amount.

 

 

“I didn’t feel like I had a lot of options,” she said, before describing her eureka moment.

“I literally just Googled, ‘How to be a porn star.’ It came up with all these modeling agencies, and I literally just sent in my pictures and my height and weight,” she recalled. “I was getting calls literally within days, with people saying they really wanted me.”

After arriving in Los Angeles, she quickly started her career as “Lauren”.

“The first porn I did was absolutely nerve-racking because it was really weird to have a photographer watch me have sex. I was super self-conscious, but then I just got into it,” she said.

 “The rhetoric that you hear is that pornography is bad, and it’s degrading to women. So I was almost expecting people to take advantage of me. But the people I met were all sweet, professional people.”

She declined to tell the paper what her family made of her career – possibly because she hadn’t yet told them.

But if they didn’t know then, they certainly do now – Knox revealed her true identity via a column for XOJane earlier this week.

The daughter of a local doctor in Spokane, Washington, she felt forced to ‘come out’ as a sex worker in a real-life The Scarlet Letter scenario after a male student revealed her secret profession to the rest of her campus.

“Because the bullies of the world - starting with that young Duke man who broke his promise to me -  do not dictate my life. Because my decision to do porn does not somehow mean that the world now ‘owns’ or deserves access to every single thing about me and every choice I make.”

Since she made her original confession, she's also been mercilessly trolled  - or ‘slut shamed’, as several resulting comment pieces have named the vitriol - for her chosen method of financing her education.

The relentless online bullies went as far as to tell Weeks she “deserves to get raped”, blasted her appearance and demanded that she use her real – rather than her stage – name in porn.

 “The Internet does not dictate my life,” she wrote. “My sexuality is not some sort of blackmail to be used against me, granting you ownership over my life or my story. It is my life. It is my story, so I'm refusing to let the bullies win.

“Instead, in revealing my performer name, I'm also going to let you know exactly the level of hate that exists in America regarding women who refuse to be quiet about their sexuality.”

She also revealed her intention to complete her legal studies and to start up a charity to help sex workers.

Whether you agree with how she makes her money or not, Knox is at the forefront of an ‘anti-slut shaming’ movement that the internet can't seem to get enough of. So, if you can excuse the pun, expect to see a whole lot more of her in the near future.

Read More: Lily Allen 'Why Are We Still Talking About Feminism?'
'Children To Learn Porn Reality', Charities Urge
UK Porn Trends - From 'Lisa Ann' To 'British'
 
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015