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Co-eds doing porn to pay for school: Is Belle Knox a bellwether?

Nineteen-year-old Duke University freshman Miriam Weeks caused a firestorm when she was exposed moonlighting as porn star Belle Knox to help pay her tuition. She ended up writing several blog posts defending her choice, made the talk show rounds, scored a gig hosting an online amateur porn competition, and landed a summer internship at a porn site.

So are other cash-strapped co-eds now following in her well-chronicled footsteps?

Mike Diaz, who manages a strip club where Knox performed, said the publicity surrounding Knox has caused his establishment to be “flooded with applications” from college-aged women. Porn site operator Colin Rowntree said he has also seen a spike in women contacting him “to explore being in our movies as a result of all the Belle Knox media coverage.”

And Dan Miller, Executive Managing Editor of adult industry news site XBIZ, said he expects to see a Knox-inspired spike in college students doing porn to pay the bills in the near future.

“There are lots of girls currently earning money in various areas of the adult entertainment industry … while taking college courses,” he added.

Several industry insiders said most porn performers don't say why they chose adult entertainment, so it’s hard to tell just how much impact Knox has had. X-rated film producer Axel Braun said that over the years he has met a few women who joined the profession to pay for school. But Braun thinks it’s a bad idea, and refuses to shoot anybody under 21 in sexually explicit roles.

“I don’t believe an 18-year-old has the correct perspective or mental development to make such a potentially life-changing decision,” he said. “Reading Belle Knox state: ‘I didn’t think anybody would recognize me’ is a pretty strong validation of my beliefs, if you ask me.”

 A rep for Knox did not respond to a request for further comment.

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