From Mimi Faust to Montana Fishburne: Post ‘sex tape’ stardom is limited

Opinion

The X-rated shower acrobatics of Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta cast member Mimi Faust have many unfavorably comparing the small business owner’s career trajectory to Kim Kardashian.  But it’s not really a fair comparison because the two women did not start from the same place.

Kardashian comes from a wealthy family and when her sex tape went on sale, her career wasn’t the least bit damaged because her only job at the time seemed to be getting photographed by paparazzi while shopping, clubbing and vacationing. In fact, after the sex tape, the then-twenty-something dove into reality television, snagged several endorsement deals, became a boutique owner with her sisters and mastered the art of turning social buzz into actual dollars in her bank accounts.

Her recent Vogue cover with her rap star fiancé Kanye West had some upset, but Kim Kardashian is in her own lane.

Even Paris Hilton, also a 20-something (at the time) wealthy socialite with a sex tape, couldn’t parlay her sex-tape-to-reality-star career into Kardashian-level fame.

Meanwhile, Faust owns a cleaning service and her sex tape has come to light after spending two years on the reality show Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta.  She’s not a 20-something year old socialite twiddling her thumbs while lounging in daddy’s money.  She’s a beautiful, business-owning mom who gained reality television stardom for being one part of a messy love triangle.

Now that Vivid Entertainment is involved (which is apparently the go-to place for professionally shot “leaked” sex tapes), it’s only a matter of time before the entire video is available for downloading. What happens next for her?

If nothing else, she’s secured a prominent spot on the upcoming season of the show and perhaps she could turn this increased interest into a spin-off.  From the tomfoolery that exploded on Twitter after the trailer for her sex tape made the rounds, a hashtag-laden t-shirt could be in the works too. But other than that? Eh.

Only Kim Kardashian can be Kim Kardashian and perhaps Mimi Faust has no interest in that type of fame and would rather not have such an intimate part of her life made public.  She has some decisions to make. Faust should probably take a gander at the career of Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham.

Again, Faust is demographically not similar to Abraham, but Abraham’s post-sex-tape choices are more attainable than the Kardashian trajectory.

Since leaving Teen Mom, Abraham got tons of plastic surgery, picked up a smattering of endorsement deals from various companies that you might not have heard of and filmed a porno made a deal with Vivid Entertainment after her “sex tape” “leaked.”  She then somehow got onto Couples Therapy without having a partner, she put out a sex toy line, she is working on her second book and she’s been dabbling in the music industry.

Abraham is likely not close to a Vogue cover or private jets to Paris for Fashion Week, but she is a regular on blogs and weekly tabloids and she is surely doing better financially than the average woman who was a teen mom.  Abraham has carved out a very specific career for herself (inspired by KK no doubt) that hinges on reality show stardom and staying “relevant” on social media.

Not everyone who follows the Kim Kardashian plan finds any measure of success though. Montana Fishburne, daughter of acclaimed actor Laurence Fishburne, learned that the hard way. The young woman filmed a porno (she never went the “leaked sex tape” route) in hopes of being the next Kim Kardashian, but found nothing even close to that fame or fortune.

“I don’t encourage people to go into the porn industry. You’re not going to be famous, or be a movie star. You may end up having a really sucky life. If you look at the celebrity sex tape, these girls are not your average girl next door jumping into porn and for the average girl to get into porn and have those results [it] won’t happen,” said Fishburne to Fox News.

Faust is probably not trying to start a porn career, but if Faust wants to maintain her reality show stardom and parlay it into other opportunities, her next moves will be very important. Blogs will create a narrative for you if you don’t create one yourself.  She has to decide what she wants her public image to be and how she can capitalize off of public interest in a manner that lets her sleep at night. It’s not super stardom, it’s reality show stardom. Reality cast members’ “celebrity” is based on personality. So, once someone leaves a show, they generally disappear from public life and have to go back to being a regular person who earns a paycheck outside of semi-scripted reality television. That can be a hard adjustment and doubly so with a leaked sex tape to manage.

Kandi Burruss, singer/songwriter and Real Housewives of Atlanta star, has said repeatedly that people who do reality television need to use their time in the spotlight to build their brand or business so that they can keep going when it ends. Those are wise words. A sex tape doesn’t exactly help Faust’s cleaning service business. A grown black woman having sex with her chosen partner on her own terms is not the worst thing in the world, but a sex tape distributed by a porn company is perhaps not the best way to show off your grown woman status. Plus, fans seem to like Faust and root for her happiness.

Perhaps she can walk away without too much damage and hopefully this won’t trigger a string of leaked sex tapes from reality show stars looking to extend their time in front of the camera. We already get nude photos from “hacked” phones. We’re not feeling it.

Also, the trailer for Faust’s sex tape is not a clutch your pearls kind of thing.  It’s just two people having sex.  The shower rod and Faust’s core and upper body strength are the stars of the show for sure. Perhaps a fitness video or shower rod endorsements are in her future.

Follow Demetria Irwin on Twitter at @Love_Is_Dope and connect with her on Facebook.