In 2015, a Detroit-based exotic dancer called A'Ziah "Zola" King put out a series of tweets in which she detailed a supposedly true, but completely outrageous story about a trip to Florida that she took with another stripper named Jessica.
The story quickly went viral and now, Zola’s thread is coming to the big screen in an adaptation starring Taylour Paige as Zola and Riley Keough as Stefani (the movie version of Jessica).
But if you’re wondering what exactly happened to the real Zola since her story broke the internet, here’s everything you need to know.
Where is the real Zola now?
A'Ziah "Zola" King is the woman responsible for the viral 148-tweet thread that came to be known online simply as #TheStory. In 2015, Zola was waiting tables at a Hooters when she met Jessica. After the girls bonded “over [their] hoe-ism,” Jessica invited Zola to Florida to dance.
Despite knowing Jessica for only 24 hours, Zola agreed to go and what followed was a harrowing road trip to Tampa during which a series of increasingly wild events took place.
Although the story included a number of chilling details including sex trafficking and gun violence, it quickly gained popularity and was soon being retweeted by celebrities like Solange Knowles and Ava DuVernay.
Ever since her thread went viral, Zola has been very vocal about her experiences with her newfound fame and the process of adapting her Twitter thread into a movie.
Just months after the story made the rounds online, James Franco announced that he would be adapting the story for the big screen. Zola was set to be involved with the production from day one, with her mom and manager confirming to BuzzFeed News that “once things begin moving along, A'ziah will be involved 100 percent.”
After some sexual misconduct allegations against Franco, he stepped down from the project and Janicza Bravo took over as the movie’s director. It turned out to be a positive thing for Zola because Janicza fought for Zola’s involvement in the project even more, making sure the thread’s author got an Executive Producer credit along with her compensation.
Although Zola wasn’t on set for most of the filming because she was pregnant at the time, she said that Janicza would FaceTime her from the set to make sure they were getting the true authenticity of the story on film.
The same went for actress Taylour Paige, who plays Zola in the movie. “Taylour and I got close, on a personal level,” Zola explained to Time. “[S]he really wanted to do it justice. She could really get inside my head, so to speak.”
Zola has been heavily involved in the promotion of the movie, being present for cast interviews and even going to its premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. In 2020, Zola also released “a cute lil 5 track EP,” under the stage name Zolarmoon. You can listen to her musical debut on most music streaming platforms.
In addition to helping make her story a movie reality, Zola is also busy raising her two daughters in Atlanta, where the family live. It’s unclear what this talented woman will do next, but we’re expecting great things to come.
Zola releases in theaters on June 30, 2021.