Is Farrah Abraham the Last Outsider Artist?
The 'Teen Mom' star created a critically acclaimed noise album and a bizarre erotic novel.
Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo
The most hated mom in America isn't Casey Anthony, Andrea Yates, or the mommy blogger who poisoned her son. It's a 23-year-old single mom who allegedly grew up in an abusive household, gave birth to a baby at age 17 because her mom refused to allow her to get an abortion, and lost her baby daddy in a car crash when she was eight months pregnant. A mom so controversial, the former Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Taylor Armstrong called her a "fucking rat."
America's current favorite Whore of Babylon is, of course, Farrah Abraham, the most controversial teen mom on MTV's very controversial Teen Mom.
This week Abraham released her first erotic novel, In the Making (Celebrity Sex Tape), about a reality TV star named Fallon Opal who purposefully releases her own sex tape. If the plot sounds familiar it's because last year Abraham starred in Farrah Superstar: Backdoor Teen Mom with porn star James Deen. Despite the fact that a cameraman clearly recorded the porno, Abraham has claimed the video was a "leaked sex tape" she made with a boyfriend: "I am not involved in porn," she said on VH1's Couples Therapy, while discussing the porno and her sex toy line.
Deen has called Abraham's bluff, telling TMZ that he never dated Abraham and she wanted to make a porno. Following the anal controversy, Abraham appeared on VH1's Couples Therapy, where her other alleged "boyfriend" failed to show up for filming. Unsurprisingly, the media accused Abraham of lying to star on a reality show. I would dismiss Abraham as another famewhore who sucks at lying, but in 2012 she released a critically acclaimed noise album, My Teenage Dream Ended. On the album, Abraham cathartically wails about her traumatic experiences against a confusing medley of sounds, creating heartbreaking songs The Atlantic compared to the music of Daniel Johnston and other outsider artists.
Is Abraham a broken starlet who pathologically lies because she grew up on reality TV or the last outsider artist—the Bjork of reality TV, as my friend called her—who is using interviews and an erotic novel to fuck with the public's perception of reality? I invited Abraham to the VICE office to find out.
Photo via the author's Instagram
Abraham unsurprisingly arrived wearing the same orange and gold dress Sydney Leathers, Anthony Weiner's mistress, wore to my college graduation. "I buy most my dresses at Dillard's," Abraham said. "We could do a 'Who Wore It Better!'" (For the record, Leathers wore it better.) After I settled down in a conference room with Abraham and her entourage—her publishing company's CEO, a make-up artist, and a security guard—we got down to a contentious interview about her porn history, traumatic past, and artistic output.
VICE: Why did you decide to write Celebrity Sex Tape?
Farrah Abraham: I think it was the perfect time to write about sexuality—a celebrity sex tape—because I had a lot of press ruin my life this year in regards to my sex tape, and I was like, "Wow! There's a lot that I learned from this."
Why did you decide to write a novel instead of a memoir, which could have set the record straight?
First of all, it's a whole legal reason, and second of all, I wasn't really going to grow from doing that, and as you're writing you're really making yourself work. I write, and I'm tired at the end of the day.
Did you write the novel on your own or with a ghost writer?
I wrote it myself, and all I need is editors.
I wanted to talk to you about your critically acclaimed debut noise album, My Teenage Dream Ended.
My album? I just create therapeutic music.
You did it for therapeutic reasons?
Yeah, usually everything I do, I do it for myself.
Do you listen to noise music? What are you listening to right now?
EDM or what is it called, BBM? I like a lot of dance and electric music too. If you came over to my house, I would be listening to Christian and hip hop and rock and heavy metal. I like remixes where it doesn't even sound like words but it just sounds like fun—or maybe I just tune it out.
The music video for "On My Own" from Abraham's debut album, My Teenage Dream Ended
Who do you look up to?
I don't look up to anyone.
Do you have a five-year plan?
I have a 20-year plan: I take care of my life insurance in case anything happens and my will and all that. I think my five-year plan is to keep writing—I really enjoy it. And then keep doing reality television and maybe some movies if the person is right.
You mean like movies-movies?
Yeah, like the ones you go to theater and watch with your friends. And then I'm also working on my restaurant and working on my portfolio there, not just staying with one type of restaurant but growing them.
What do you think the biggest misconception is about you?
That people think I'm a porn star. You're like, "What type of movies?" Those comments are—
I don't think you're a porn star. I think you're a reality TV star.
I'm just mainstream, and that's what it is.
There were also accusations by porn industry members that you weren't really paid $1 million.
You have to understand that the porn industry is not relevant. It's not relevant to talk about that because they purposefully do that to get attention and make me out to be a porn star.
At the same time you're writing a book about a sex tape.
It's a popular topic, and as a writer you want to stay relevant with the topic you're writing about.
Don't you think it's hypocritical to dismiss porn and then try to profit off a novel about porn?
Why would I feel bad about making the best choices? And that's why I'm sick of people looking down at women and saying that they can't move on with their lives.
I don't think there's a problem with porn. I think you're hypocritical.
Do you know what's behind the women [in porn]? I'm not hypocritical. You go through life phases and you learn from them.
So what's your philosophy going forward then?
I just really am Christian.
Have you studied psychology?
No, I just go to therapy. I like that stuff. Do you watch Dr. Jenn [on Couples Therapy]? I think when you're around a million doctors like them it helps you understand others and where they're coming from. Here's the problem with Couples Therapy: If you don't take the time to understand where the other person is coming from and have some empathy, then it just doesn't work out to connect and better yourself.
Several websites accused you of lying about having a boyfriend to star on Couples Therapy. Is that true?
I've been ditched so many times for some reason. They don't have enough balls to talk about it so they just don't show up. I don't really like to speak [about him]—I'm not going to say his name—but Dr. Jenn was like, "I'm so happy you stayed and could be here." She just wants me to find an amazing man—no DJ who lost his fucking brain is going to be good enough for me. I don't date DJs anymore.
Did you enjoy Couples Therapy?
I love that experience. I love therapy—I don't know why. Maybe I'm just so fucked up I need it all. You know what I'm dealing with right now? My grandpa is dying and I didn't know.
You just found out?
I was there last weekend, and he's in hospice—hooked up and stuff—and it's really sad. [It's] my mom's dad who's been very supportive the whole time I was growing up. I found out after I turned 18 that I had like six brothers and sisters from my mom. I was like, "This kind of thing is alarming." How do you handle that? I'm always thinking when—if ever—I find someone who's marriage material, I don't think I would want to say to Sophia, "This is your dad," because her dad is her dad.
Does it bother you when people ask you about your daughter's father and other traumatic experiences from your past?
No, it doesn't bother me because it's still very much an everyday thing, because as Sophia gets older, she looks like him. It's really hard for me, and I still go to counseling, but I'm moving on with my life.
Did dealing with that on reality TV alter your perception of what is real and fake?
I think I've had a lot of perceptions changed, with magazines, TV, and things with entertainment. I don't like to watch TV. I don't like to be part of those things now—and I used to be the girl that bought every magazine and watched my favorite show every night.
OK. I ask this question to a lot of people. Finish this sentence for me: Farrah Abraham is...
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