The Wild True Story Behind ‘Zola’, The Viral Twitter Thread About Strippers That’s Now A Movie
The 'Zola' Twitter thread was one of the most iconic internet moments in recent history.
The trailer for the long-awaited Twitter-thread-turned-feature-film, Zola, was finally released today — and it looks like it’s going to be just as wild as the original story.
“Y’all wanna hear a story about why me and this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense,” both the trailer and original Twitter thread starts.
Keeping somewhat true to the original story, Zola follows the 148-tweet tale shared by A’Ziah ‘Zola’ King back in October of 2015. The plot of the film details the truly wild story of Zola (Taylour Paige), a Detroit waitress, and her nightmare roadtrip to Florida with a customer she meets called Stefani (Riley Keough).
While Zola thinks the pair are going on the spontaneous trip to make some quick cash by dancing in Florida strip clubs, Stefani actually thrusts Zola into so much more chaos than ever imaginable.
As the official synopsis explains: the glamorous trip full of “hoeism” quickly turns “into a 48-hour journey involving a nameless pimp, an idiot boyfriend, some Tampa gangsters and other unexpected adventures in this wild, see-it-to-believe-it tale”.
What Actually Happened In The Original Twitter Thread?
While the film itself may sound way too wild to be real, A’Ziah ‘Zola’ King’s 148-tweet thread had the exact same energy. The thread, while long, was “full of suspense” as Zola warned.
As unbelievable as the whole thing seems, Zola is a real person and so is Stefani, whose real name is actually Jessica. And the pair did have a falling out after they went on a whirlwind trip down to Florida — a trip that Zola thought was just to make some extra cash through stripping.
After meeting while Zola was working at Hooters, the pair exchanged numbers due to “vibing over our hoeism or whatever” with Zola floating the idea that the pair should dance together in the future.
“So THE NEXT DAY I get a text like ‘BITCH LETS GO TO FLORIDA!’ and I’m like huh??? She’s like ‘I’m going to dance in Florida, let’s go!!” one of the many tweets read. “Now I’m skeptical like DAMN bitch we just met and we already taking hoe trips together???? But I had went to Florida two months prior and made 15K so lowkey I was down.”
if you weren’t on twitter during the whole ass chaos of the zola thread oh sweetie i’m so sorry you missed an actual piece of US history
— birthday bitch 🎈 (@treeeenz) March 31, 2021
After Jessica shared that her boyfriend Jarrett and her roommate Z would be tagging along for the ride, Zola packed her “baddest stripper wear” and hopped in the car to go. Once they arrived in Florida, Jessica and Zola dropped their stuff off at a motel and headed to the club which is when things started to go downhill.
Ready to leave after making $800, Zola asked Jessica to call her man to pick her up and instead Jessica called her roommate because they are “really close” and he had been “taking care” of her previously — which, apparently, in “stripper language” means that Z was actually her pimp.
So, after lying to the pimp that neither of them had made any money in the club, Z suggested that the pair “trap” (aka have sex) to make up the difference — and while Jessica jumped at the chance, Zola wasn’t interested in the idea at all and once the pair arrive at their “nice ass hotel” with their burner phone, Zola starts telling Jessica off.
“BITCH U GOT ME FUCKED UP. I’M NOT ABOUT TO PLAY WITH U HOE. I’M GOIN HOME,” Zola recounted her words. “So she starts crying and she’s like ‘I didn’t wanna take this trip alone. Please don’t leave me. I would be so scared alone.”
Once Jessica pleaded, cried, and assured Zola that she didn’t have to have sex with anyone, Zola decided to stay and just help the men check-in. But after seeing Jessica literally have sex right next to her for a measly $100, Zola decided to take matters into her own hands by bumping the prices way up without running it by the pimp first.
“I said ‘Jess, u sellin puss for $100???? Pussy is worth thousands. U trippin.’ She goes ‘I don’t make the prices. The prices are already discussed before they come in,'” Zola continued. “So I was like bitch no. If u gone do this, do it right…”
Devising a plan, Zola took some new photos of Jessica, put them on a site with a new price of $500, and managed to bring in 20 clients when Z had only managed to get three. After a busy night, Jarrett angrily called at 6am wondering where the girls were because the club had been shut for a while. The heated call ended, the girls fell asleep, and Z took their full night’s earnings of $5,500 — $500 of which was given back to Zola for being “a real one”.
When the three returned to the motel, they found Jarrett outside talking to a random man with dreads, which Z did not like at all. After the man left, Z went off at Jarrett for telling a random man that Zola and Jess had gone to work meaning that the man now knew that there was money in the room.
if every single plot point from the zola thread isn't in the movie, imma act worse than a anime nerd watching a netflix adaptation 😭😭😭😭
— Becca O'Neal 🍒 (@becca_oneal) March 31, 2021
Packing up and moving to another hotel seemed to fix the safety problem at hand, but then Jarrett and Jess begun to fight again over the previous night’s shenanigans. All the while, as the couple’s argument continued, Z asked Zola to do the same thing again with outcall services to make some more cash. But when Zola told Jess to get ready, Jarrett lost his cool.
“Jarrett goes ‘WTF AGAIN BITCH NO!!!!’. I said ‘Jarrett calm down. Please’ and this white man starts PUNCHING HIMSELF!!! Like crazy people do dawg!! I was like OH HELLLL NAWLLL,” the thread continued. “He goes ‘if u do this again Jess, I will kill myself. I love u 2 much’ and I was like this man lost in the sauce and his bitch lost in the game.”
Despite his desperate pleas, Jessica started getting ready so Jarrett decided to expose her in true 2015-style: Via a Facebook status. Posting both of her escorting ads to Facebook, Jessica broke down crying because “HER MOM IS ON THERE GOIN OFFFFFF in the comments” and her mum was watching her daughter.
After a quick call to resolved the issue, Z returned to the hotel with his fiance and the pair were furious. Holding Jarrett up by the neck, Z says he should “really kill yo ass” and his fiance whips out a handgun and asks: “U want to bae or what? Fuck him. He did OUR girl so wrong”.
But after Jess begged Z to just “beat his ass” instead, Z had a better idea — to “kill his manhood” instead. And what did he mean by that? Well, after getting Jarrett to delete the post, Z made Jarrett watch he and Jess have sex before having her go get ready for work.
“He looks at Jarrett and says ‘any questions?’ and Jarrett says ‘I wanna go home’. I laughed out loud. I couldn’t help it,” Zola tweeted. “And Z goes: ‘Na, I’ma spend the night with my girl so YOU gone take Jess to her outcalls.’ I was like DAMNNNNNNNNNNNN!!! That’s fucked bro.”
the zola thread pic.twitter.com/Ughg1l0FhO
— raz (@arehzed) March 31, 2021
As Zola knew the clients and addresses, Z quietly gave Zola a gun and told her to accompany Jess and Jarrett on the outcalls. Once the night had calmed down and there were no more clients, they retreat back to the hotel and receive one last request: “$5000 for two bitches” and only for “incalls”.
After explaining that there was only one woman available, the client settled on $2000 for one person to be shared across four men, and sends across an address to drive to. As Jess was scared, she asked if Zola could accompany her to the incall but once they arrived two men immediately snatched Jessica while Zola sprinted away.
“I run out and THE CAR IS GONE!!! I’m screaming ‘JARRETT!! JARRETT!!’ This fool gone. So I call him, STILL RUNNING and he like ‘y’all done?!” the story continued. “I said ‘BITCH Z TOLD U TO NEVER LEAVE US!! WHERE ARE U!!!’ He’s like ‘I’m at the gas station. I was thirsty. I thought she was gone be a min.”
Eventually, Jarrett finds Zola and urges her not to call the police, but Z instead. Z, as expected, is furious and takes everyone back to where Jess is and has them hide while he finds out what’s going on.
Once Z gets the door to fling open, he finds out who’s responsible for snatching up Jess: None other than the man with dreads that Jarrett was smoking with on the first night. So Z asks”where my bitch man?”
“Well since she wants to steal work from my girls she clearly wants to be here with us,” the man with dreads said before Z finds Jess tied up and knocked out in the closet — a result of her saying she wouldn’t work for them. “I got 20k for her right now man and all is forgiven. My dude’s downstairs not gone just let u walk out with her like that.”
I remember the night the Zola thread happened, watching it in real time, being captivated and then by the end of the story the discourse that happened was wild as fuck
— hmm? (@simonefiii) March 31, 2021
After some shuffling, a gun goes off and Zola starts running. Followed by Jarrett. Then, somehow, also by Z with Jess flung over his shoulder. They get into the car and drive off with Z explaining that once the guy with dreads “reached for his piece” Z “shot him in the face”.
Fleeing the hotel, everyone gathered at Z’s condo while flights were organised for Zola and Jarrett. However, “after last night”, Jarrett explained just couldn’t leave Jess in Florida because it was unsafe, and said he would “kill himself” if she didn’t come back with him.
But both Z and Jess agreed that she would stay for three more days because they were “making money”. Sadly, Jarrett’s threats weren’t empty and “like some movie shit” he decided to “run towards their balcony and jump” after Jessica confirmed that she wouldn’t be leaving.
Thankfully, despite the condo being on the fourth floor, Jarrett’s pants got stuck so he was just hanging on the side of the balcony as Jess and Z tried to help him back over. After being buckled into the car by Z, Zola and Jarrett set off to the airport but not before Jess tried to apologise for the weekend from hell.
i remember reading the zola thread in real time and now it’s a movie pic.twitter.com/Wy4Zu8GDvY
— i praydalor my sodakeep (@almondtiddies) March 31, 2021
“I swear I didn’t set u up Zola. I never intended for u to trap. That’s why u didn’t! I hope we can be friends after,” Jess apologised.
“I looked at her like she wasn’t speaking English and I said ‘I’m not gone beat yo ass right now because u already in bad shape. But I better not ever see or hear from you again,” Zola responded.
However, four days after Zola returned home she had a collect call from a Las Vegas jail from Jessica. Jess explained that “we got caught trappin in Vegas and we all got arrested… Z was wanted for kidnapping 15 underage girls and is linked to six murders — including Florida”.
“I said ‘Florida? Murder? You must have the wrong number!’ She screams ‘ASK JARRETT TO BAIL ME OUT, he won’t answer my collect call’,” the final tweets read. “I said ‘JARRETT??? You really have the wrong number.’ I hung up and called Jarrett. He goes ‘yea I heard. It’s on the news. He’s a huge trafficker.”
In the end, Jessica and Z’s fiance escaped prison by claiming they were forced into crime by Z, who was sentenced to life. And last Zola heard Jess was “back in Detroit with her mom and baby” and that she was “pregnant again”.
So, yeah. If the Zola film is even half as insane as what A’Ziah ‘Zola’ King’s Twitter thread was, we’re in for a very wild ride.