Miriam Weeks, A.K.A. Belle Knox: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Miriam Weeks, Belle Knox, Belle Knox 2016, From Straight A's to XXX, From Straight A's to XXX subject

(LinkedIn/Miriam Weeks)

In early 2014, Miriam Weeks was at the center of a scandal after the Duke University freshman was revealed to be Belle Knox, a porn star. Her story is back in the spotlight thanks to a new Lifetime movie called From Straight A’s to XXX. The film first aired on Saturday, February 11 and will remain in Lifetime’s rotation of movies.

Today, the 21-year-old Weeks is not working in the porn industry but has aspirations to help sex workers. She also returned to Duke to earn a B.A. in sociology. In 2016, she confirmed on Twitter that she is retired from pornography.

General Hospital actress Haley Pullos stars as Weeks in From Straight A’s to XXX.

Here’s a look at Weeks’ life and what she’s up to today.


1. Weeks’ Porn Name Was a Mash-Up of Belle From ‘Beauty and the Beast’ & Amanda Knox


I Googled How To Be a Porn Star | Becoming Belle KnoxAs a college student, Miriam Weeks faced the reality of being an adult the moment she turned 18 and found herself on the hook for a costly education. Choosing to tackle her debt, rather than drown in it, she became a porn star. Still haven’t subscribed to The Scene on YouTube? ►► bit.ly/subthescene CONNECT WITH…2014-09-16T13:00:35.000Z

Weeks’ decision to become a porn star started in fall 2013, when she realized she would have trouble paying Duke tuition. She told the New York Daily News that her parents were supposed to pay the tuition, but that plan fell apart.

She claimed she was not eligible for government loans and didn’t want to take out a private loan because it would leave her family in debt. She also found that typical student jobs wouldn’t pay enough. She once said in an interview that she felt waitressing was more demeaning than being in porn.

When the time came to chose a stage name, she came up with “Belle Knox.” The “Belle” part was a reference to the princess in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. She told Rolling Stone that the “Knox” part came form her obsession with the Amanda Knox case.

“I tried to find a name that wouldn’t really stick in people’s minds,” she told Rolling Stone.

Weeks also wrote a column for Time Magazine about her decision to use porn to pay for her $47,000/year tuition bill:

But my porn work pays the exorbitant tab for one simple reason: Demand for porn actresses, especially extremely young ones like myself, far exceeds supply. How interesting that the same basic principle explains why my tuition bill is so high in the first place.


2. She Received Death Threats Once Other Duke Students Learned of Her Identity


Why Duke Porn Star Belle Knox Got Into PornIs the high price of higher education pushing young people into porn?2014-04-03T17:15:09.000Z

Weeks’ identity was revealed by a male Duke student. When he recognized “Belle Knox” as a Duke student, he told his fraternity brothers and the news quickly spread across the university. In March 2014, The New York Post reported that the male student spent $1,000 a month on a hard-core porn site called FacialAbuse.com.

When the spring semester started, Weeks found that she had over 200 Facebook friend requests and she realized that her secret had been revealed. At first, Weeks told her story to the Duke Chronicle student newspaper and was identified as “Lauren A.” On February 21, 2014, she wrote a XOJane.com blog post, admitting that she is the “Duke University Freshman Porn Star.” However, she still did not reveal her true name.

In the XOJane post, she wrote that she was a victim of bullying, receiving death threats and name calling. However, nothing prepared her for the reaction online. She wrote:

What I did not expect was that I would be brutally bullied and harassed online. I did not expect that every private detail about my life would be dissected. I did not expect that my intelligence and work ethic would be questioned and criticized. And I certainly did not expect that extremely personal information concerning my identity and whereabouts would be so carelessly transmitted through college gossip boards. I was called a “slut who needs to learn the consequences of her actions,” a “huge f**king whore,” and, perhaps the most offensive, “a little girl who does not understand her actions.”

Weeks tried to keep her real name a secret for as long as she could. In a follow-up XOJane.com piece, she explained that she didn’t want the bullies of the world to run her life. The follow-up piece was the first time she revealed that the Duke Porn Star’s performer name was “Belle Knox.”

“So I’m refusing to let the bullies win,” she wrote. “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.”

“I’m scared, because I’ve already been getting stalked and threatened,” Weeks told Playboy after revealing her stage name. “One of two things will happen: Either people will be like, ‘Well, she revealed herself. We don’t need to terrorize her with, ‘We know your identity.” Or it’ll get worse.”


3. Duke Said There’s No Restrictions on Off-Campus Employment & She Continued to Attend Classes There


Belle Knox on The View talk showBelle Knox latest interview by The View talk show's panel arranged on monday 17 march 2014.2014-03-18T00:21:37.000Z

As HLNTV reported at the time, Duke’s response to Weeks’ outing was that it did not have any restrictions in the Duke Community Standard for off-campus employment.

Keith Lawrence, Duke University Executive Director of News and Communication, told HLN that Duke provides resources to help Weeks.

“We are committed to protecting the privacy, safety and security of our students. Whenever we identify a student in need of support, we reach out to them and offer the many resources that we have available on campus to assist them,” Lawrence said.

He also noted that Duke has “an expansive financial aid program that meets 100 percent of every student’s demonstrated [need] based on a careful review of his or her individual family circumstances. More than half of all Duke students receive some form of financial assistance from the university to cover the cost of their education.”

Weeks was allowed to take some time off from Duke, and returned when the controversy died down. According to her LinkedIn page, she graduated from Duke in 2016 with a B.A. in Sociology.

The LinkedIn profile hasn’t been updated recently, so it still reads: “In my leisure time, I model for adult magazines and act in adult entertainment films. I believe that being active in the adult film industry is crucial in empowering women to achieve their fullest potential.”


4. She’s Now a Libertarian Activist & Hoped to be an Advocate for Sex Workers


ADULT FILM STAR BELLE KNOX INTERVIEWDuke University student and porn star Miriam Weeks "Belle Knox" interview on Piers Morgan show2014-03-07T03:24:00.000Z

In her Rolling Stone interview, Weeks said she identifies as a libertarian, although she was a member of the Duke College Republicans group.

In a 2015 interview with Business Insider, Weeks explained that she wanted to become a libertarian activist, now that the controversy has died down.

“I think that my work and being in the porn industry definitely hits on so many libertarian themes like free speech, and censorship, and, you know, choice and autonomy over our bodies,” Weeks told Business Insider. “So I think that I’ve really become passionate about libertarian issues because of the intersection.”

Although she is “very socially liberal,” she said she’s an economic conservative. In between her freshman and sophomore years, she joined Students for Liberty. She even told Business Insider that she planned to support Senator Rand Paul for President in 2016. “He actually graduated from Duke, so that’s just another reason for me to love him,” she said.

At the height of her fame, she told the New York Daily News that she wanted to become a women’s rights or civil rights lawyer. She even thought about starting a foundation for sex workers.

“I think it’s hard for people to understand the people who do pornography,” she told the Daily News in 2014. “They’re not always desperate or drug addicted. Some of them really, really enjoy their jobs.”


5. Haley Pullos Said She Wanted to Play Weeks Because the Story is ‘So Heavy and Important’

Belle Knox actress, Haley Pullos, From Straight A's to XXX, From Straight A's to XXX Lifetime

Haley Pullos stars as porn star Belle Knox in From Straight A’s to XXX. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for NATAS)

The 18-year-old Haley Pullos plays Weeks in From Straight A’s to XXX for Lifetime. She’s best known for her role as Molly on General Hospital. In an interview with Soap Opera Digest, Pullos explained what attracted her to the role:

I’m a huge feminist and so I’m all about women empowerment and being able to make your own choices and that’s what I feel like this whole movie focuses on. Miriam was just terrorized and abused by everybody for making her own choice and I wanted to be able to tell that story because it’s so heavy and important.

Pullos said that it wasn’t like anything she had ever done before and the movie only took 16 days to film. She said that she went back to the interviews Weeks did at the height of the controversy for research.

When asked why she thought the film was important for people to see, Pullos told Soap Opera Digest:

This movie is so important because it shows you the depth and the hardship of being hated simply for making a decision for your own life, and I think everybody needs to understand that that is the message. [What she did] was legal. It was fully legal. It’s not like she did anything legally wrong. You might have different morals, and that’s okay, that’s your own decision with your own life, but this woman made a legal decision with her own life. That’s her choice and she shouldn’t have been harassed the way that she was, and that’s why I think it’s important.


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