Since Zola damn near broke Twitter, we’ve heard from several key characters from her stripper epic — Jessica, Jarrett, the Tampa PD. And now, in a Rolling Stone interview, we finally get to hear from Zola herself in a form other than 140-character tweets.
Though much of her story has already been confirmed in one way or another, the piece gives a more detailed account of the events, and lets 20-year-old Zola set the record straight on some details:
She’s not “from the hood”: Director Ava DuVernay was one of Zola’s biggest fans. She tweeted of the story: “Drama, humor, action, suspense, character development. There’s so much untapped talent in the hood.” To which Zola replied: “I’m not from the hood tho Ava, Ima suburban bitch. Still love you tho.”
She did embellish some of the more entertaining points: She admits that she added Jarrett’s suicide attempt and the moment Z shot the pimp “for entertainment value,” and explains why. Zola had posted and removed the story twice before, and nobody read it; by making it “darkly comic,” she “made people who probably wouldn’t want to hear a sex trafficking story want to be a part of it because it was entertaining,” she says.
On criticism that the story makes light of the dangers of sex work: Throughout the interview, Zola acknowledges how “fucked up” and dangerous this world can be and shares her own experiences: “She saw a bouncer get shot, and was briefly involved with an older guy who, while they were sleeping, got raided by the police. At one point, she and another dancer fell in with a gang of credit card thieves. She recounted each episode to her mother with a mix of wisdom and world-weariness. ‘I am good,’ she repeatedly said. ‘I learned my lesson.’”
What she wants to do next: She tells the magazine she’ll keep writing. “And a reality show would be kind of cool. I think I’m funny and entertaining,” she says. (True. Would read and watch.) And, perhaps most important for all Zola fans, she plans to release a line of “Hoeism” T-shirts, so that we may all vibe with her.