‘Companies Wouldn’t Shoot Me Without Hijab’: A Muslim Porn Star’s Story

Posted on August 2, 2016 in Culture-Vulture, Video

Shuffling through supermarket aisles, with a pink backpack slung over one shoulder, Nadia Ali looks like your average girl-next-door. You’d never suspect the young woman picking out groceries has been banned from Pakistan for performing ‘adult scenes’ in Islamic wear.

Ali came under fire for her role in a porn film called ‘Women of the Middle East,’ which was uncomfortable not because of the sex, but because of the narrative of abuse it employed. While the whole thing was simply a performance – something the actors can walk away from – the reality of domestic abuse that so many women suffer is hardly something to base your porn on. But aside from that, there’s no doubt that the Pakistani actor is woke about how so much of Middle Eastern or South Asian culture deprives women.

“I was told guys can get away with things and girls can’t,” says Ali, who didn’t want the life her sister was made to lead – a life of subservience to a husband. By donning a face veil, and incorporating other ‘middle-eastern’ elements in her performances, Ali makes a deliberate statement about enjoying her sexuality as a Muslim. In an interview with the Daily Beast, she asks “If a Hijabi were to be horny and wanting to fuck how would she fuck?” But there’s also a huge issue with it: hypersexualised images of Muslim women bring all the creeps to the yard. And Ali is aware of this. But the income from adult films was far better than what she got from her previous job threading eyebrows. And for Ali, getting to choose what she does with her body is empowering, and why shouldn’t she get to exercise that choice?

This article was originally published here on Cake.

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