Farrah Abraham came to national attention when she was on the inaugural season of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. From there, she went on to do sister show Teen Mom before breaking through in a big way in May with her sex tape, Backdoor Teen Mom. Vivid Entertainment reportedly paid $1.5 million for the “leaked” tape, which co-star (and porn star) James Deen maintains was entirely funded by Vivid from the beginning. He also said he refused to pretend like they were dating as part of the marketing campaign. She says she won’t talk about it because they were dating at the time.
We caught up with Abraham in advance of her August 20 hosting gig at Crazy Horse III for the 2013 Gentlemen’s Club Owners Expo & Tradeshow. She talked about building her own business empire, her sex tape, and her ambivalence toward fame—even though that’s what fuels her earning potential.
When you did your tape and you worked with James Deen—
I wasn’t working with James Deen. I was with James Deen and I made a sex tape.
OK. Were you aware he was becoming a crossover phenomenon into some of the mainstream, and what was that experience like?
I realized he was kind of using me for that and it was pretty hurtful. I don’t care to talk any further about him.
With the whole Anthony Weiner situation, it came out the girl he was sexting, Sydney Leathers, is talking about doing a sex tape now. What would your advice be to someone in that position?
Who is that? What is that?
Anthony Weiner, the mayoral candidate in New York City.
He wants to have a sex tape? Well, good for him. I don’t care.
Not him, the girl he was involved with.
If she wants to do her own sex tape, there’s no advice. Go have sex, and good for you.
What’s your plan moving forward? What kind of direction do you see things going for you?
Whether I do appearances at gentleman’s clubs or whatnot, I feel that gentleman’s clubs are great and fun places and I’m comfortable there. I do feel that I’ll be continuing doing TV shows, which I’ve already done, that will be coming out later this year and next year. Hopefully I get into film work. I’m working on another book. It’s actually going to be the first romance novel I’ve written. I thought because of all the sex talk and everyone making a big deal about sex, I would write a novel about romance. I’m getting settled into Austin, Texas, right now. I just bought a house here, and I plan on opening up my restaurant. I’m very excited about my passions. I’m an entrepreneur.
Is the book going to be a traditional romance, or is it going to go in like a 50 Shades of Grey direction?
I think it would be similar to 50 Shades of Grey with more edge and more depth. I read some of those books. Maybe I felt a little competitive, because I’m like, I know I could write something way more impacting of sex and exploring and rawness. So I look forward to writing that. We have the title and it’s being written and everything right now, but I’m not going to give so much of that away.
What was your motivation for going on 16 and Pregnant in the first place?
I was acting and modeling at the time. One of my agents was like, ‘You got pregnant, let’s see if there’s something else there for you. You work hard and you want to do other things.’ So I applied and I got casted and I think the motivation for that was just to show others you can get through being a teen and pregnant and survive and [succeed] and make a way of life for [your] child.
So you were on a path where you were pursuing at least some aspect of fame. Was that always an end goal for you?
You know what? It wasn’t really fame. The reason I was involved with it is because I was getting money to do it. Because I was getting
money and I was being successful and booking things, I continued to do it. Fame and wealth are not the same thing. I’m about work and creating things and having income generated consistently. Fame is something if you need attention, and I personally don’t like attention.
People have drawn comparisons with you to Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.
I’ve considered that I’ve done better than both of them in different areas. But we all lead our own lives and we will all make different
choices, do different projects and everything else. I think if I were going to look at somebody’s career and compare myself, or go off of their path I would do more of a Bethany Frankel or even Oprah or Martha Stewart. I think those are people I’m more interested in.
You got a lot of media attention for not knowing who Trayvon Martin was. What was your reaction when that story blew up after the radio interview?
The radio person who was interviewing me should have stuck to the topic of why I was on the phone. I work on a million things. Right now while I’m talking to you, I’m working on three other contracts. If I don’t realize or recognize a name right away… if I’m like ‘Oh, I can’t really remember who that is’ or whatever, I am not to blame for not remembering somebody’s name. I am only human. I think everyone else who is like ‘Oh my God, you didn’t remember somebody who passed away,’ you know what? My boyfriend also died, too. Certain things mean more to others. I’m not saying one person’s life doesn’t mean anything. It’s more or less saying I’m a normal human being. There are plenty of more men dying every day. Trayvon is not the only one who died in those scenarios. I think others need to really pay attention to the bigger picture, maybe not even listen to my interviews, because they’re not that important.
Anti-bullying is an issue you focus on. How did you get involved with that, and why does that, in particular, jump out at you?
I think from all the experiences, and being out in the public, it shows you people say really horrible things even though you are doing
so well and your life’s amazing. You still have people ripping you apart from your looks to what you do. That’s just bullying all the time. I feel that others in our community every day are thinking it’s just in schools or cyberbullying and all these other things. I’m just trying to bring that more to light…for people so they can make changes in themselves and not pick on others. I think that’s why I moved to Austin, Texas. It’s not like L.A. or New York or like some of the Midwest states that are consistently rude, consistently picking on people and just discriminating, really. Austin embraces everyone for who they are, and there’s no bullying going on. That’s why I love where I live.
It sounds like you’re not entirely comfortable with being in the spotlight.
I’m comfortable, believe me. I’m comfortable with everything. But I don’t feel that putting up with wrongdoing is ever OK.