MIA KHALIFA, 21...
Has just become the most popular porn star on the Internet after three months in the industry. Many Lebanese people have reacted with horror. Rebecca Reid explains why she's exactly the sort of female role model they should embrace.
When it comes to picking role models for young women, where do you start" It arguably needs to be someone charismatic, someone who's likeable. Someone who's independent and has a career. Someone inspirational. Someone who's earned enough money to support themselves and someone with integrity most important thing.
Perhaps A Politician? Maybe An Activist ?
WHAT ABOUT A PORN STAR LIKES MIA KHALIFA ?
The women of Lebanon have waited years for a high profile woman from their country to take the world stage. And now it's happened: in the form of 21-year-old Mia Khalifa, a porn star.
MIA KHALIFA IS THE WORLD'S MOST POPULAR PORN STAR
Having just become PornHub.com's most frequently searched adult performer after three months in the industry.
Not only has she that, but she's also got a BA in History from the University of Texas, her own car, her own apartment and two dogs. She's moved out of home and is supporting herself financially, which makes her the millennial dream.
Mia Khalia's Amazon wish-list is full of books, from the Complete Works of Shakespreare to Speaking like a CEO. Regardless of whether the books and her trademark black rimmed glasses are real of feigned, they're a masterstroke in personal branding.
She has 107,000 followers on Twitter and 143,000 on Instagram. Khalifa's not just a porn star. She's an influencer.
But she's not the influencer people want. Juliana Yazbeck wrote for Now Lebanon: Really ? Of the very few Lebanese women who are making global headlines, it has to be a porn star?"
But why not? Why is being a porn star any less valid, important or inspiring than any other career? And the answer is that high profile women aren't supposed to have sex at all, let alone on camera. High profile women are supposed to be "above" that. They're supposed to be concerned with loftier things than sexuality. And they're certainly not supposed to have breast enlargements to further themselves.
Mia Khalifa's unapologetic choice to use her body to succeed makes people incredibly angry. Her social media account is a testament to just how much hatred she gets on a daily basis. Her Twitter feed is almost identical to that of any other young woman her age (lots of Vines and selfies) apart from casual references to the constant death threats she and her family receive.
One user wrote this week "Ur head will be cut soon Inshallah"
Khalifa responded: "Doesn't the Middle East have more important things to worry about besides me?
"How about finding a president? Or containing Isis?
She recently posted a picture of an Agent Provocateur underwear set, captioned:"After a long day of death threats coming home to my Xmas present to myself turns the entire day around."
The way that Mia Khalifa's takes this abuse in her stride - and doesn't let it affect the way that she lives her life - is inspirational in itself. Why wouldn't women be motivated by it?
Despite a paucity of female role models, many people in Lebanon are rejecting Khalifa - a self made business woman who's so proud of her Lebanese heritage that she has the fist line of the national anthem tattooed on her body: that same body on which she bases her whole career.
Of course, if Lebanon were to design a dream role model for young women, they wouldn't have made her occupation 'porn star'. Parents understandably don't want their children to grow up to have sex on camera. And young women should never think that the only option to better themselves is through their sexuality. But, on the other hand, young women should be confident that their bodies are their own: that they can make their own choice and use the talents they have to succeed. And Mia Khalifa's represent that.
When it comes to female role models as PornStar, we can all agree that Pakistan's Malala Yosafzai, is as good as it gets. A porn star is never going to have the same mass appeal.
But are Malala and Mia really so different in their attitudes? After all, they are bright, intelligent and brave young women who refuse to be stopped from doing what they love, even in the face of death threats.
If people of Lebanon really do care about having a high profile female role model, they should embrace Mia Khalifa. It seems hypocritical to sneer at a person because they don't work in the industry you'd have chosen.
Of course, people are scared of success that they don't understand. But she's an accessible role model: a 21-year-old business woman with the sort of success that young people can understand - rather than some lofty, far removed figure. If you're not impressed by that, who would you be impressed by?
Mia Khalifa herself is open about the fact that port won't be her whole life.
"It's not something I'd make a career out of, but I'll ride it out 'till I can't do it anymore," I love this job as my career, she's said.
With a degree, money in the bank and a personal brand so strong as PornStar she conquered the adult film industry in three months, there's nothing that Mia Khalifa couldn't do when she retires from PornStar.
Perhaps it might even be something that Lebanon can come to be proud of Mia Khalifa as a PornStar in the world.
@ Jackie San