Most jobs college coeds choose to help pay for tuition don't make national headlines, but when Duke University freshman Miriam Weeks' secret was revealed, it caused an uproar.
"I went to my freshman year of college at my dream school and I started this national scandal. Within a four-month span, I was on 'The View' and hugging Whoopie Goldberg," Weeks said during a lengthy interview. "I needed a way to pay for school and my bill was about 50 grand a year! I Googled 'how to be a porn star' and up popped a bunch of different modeling agencies. I applied and I got in."
With that, her adult film star alter ego - Belle Knox - was born. Then 18-years-old, Weeks had found a way to pay for her expensive private university degree.
She tried to keep her off-campus life as a porn star a secret, but once news broke the backlash was almost more than she could take. Her campus critics took to the internet to vent, some even threatening her.
"People said that I deserved to be raped and murdered. I had people threatening to run me over with their cars. Probably the most hurtful thing was there was a suicide countdown for me on one web site, of people making bets on when I'd succumb to all the harassment and kill myself," Weeks said, "The negative voices are the loudest."
Miriam didn't succumb to those voices and instead decided to make a different kind of film. She allowed producers from a video production company to produce a "docu-series." The reaction to that glimpse into her life brought about a new round of voices in support of the now sophomore.
"I think what a lot of people are connecting to is in this economy - everyone has their hustle. We all do what we need to do to make our money and I think that is what a lot of people related to. Most college students graduate $30,000 in debt, working 60 hours a week. I think people respected what I was doing and providing for myself in a legal way," Weeks said of reaction to the docu-series.
In the series, you see both sides of Weeks' life: the college student staying up late working on homework and preparing for tests, and the young adult film star shuffling from conventions to movie shoots on her days off from school.
"I would never say my academics have taken a back seat. I would say my social life has taken a backseat," Weeks said, "I think that to be a college student who isn't on campus every weekend and to be a college student who basically has another life and another world all over the country has been something that has made it harder for me to adjust to going to college."
There are portions of the series that show a vulnerable young lady who has come to grips with the fact that her decision comes with a hefty price.
"There's no turning back," she said with a laugh, "I once was told by a very famous porn star, 'Porn is like getting a tattoo right across your forehead - it will never go away and it will follow you for the rest of your life.' So it's definitely a permanent decision."
When asked if there was anything she would do differently, the 19-year-old said she would have paid more attention to something she was told the first day she shot an adult film when someone told her to "Make sure you're willing to lose someone you love if you're going into the porn industry, because you will."
"I have a lot of my family members who won't talk to me. I've lost probably half of my best friends because of my choice to do porn, because of this stigma associated with my job," Weeks said. "I've lost a lot of people who were really close to me, and I think it's something anyone who is thinking about getting into this industry should keep in mind."
For now, Weeks says she's having a great first semester in her sophomore year at Duke University and that her career couldn't be better. She says she's building her brand and, so far, her college bills are paid for she said.
Weeks says she plans to go to law school after college, but when asked if she would still be doing adult movies in five years, she said flatly, "I can't answer that question."