Who is the real Jessica Swiatkowski? Zola movie takes on #TheStory

Eve Edwards March 31, 2021
Who is the real Jessica Swiatkowski? Zola movie takes on #TheStory

The story of how Aziah “Zola” Wells met Jessica Swiatkowski is the subject of A24’s latest movie Zola.

The movie, directed by Janicza Bravo, is set to be released 30 June 2021. The full-length trailer was dropped on 31 March 2021 to the excitement of viewers around the world. With under three months until its release, we revisit the real life story which inspired the film.

So, who is Jessica? How did Zola become involved with her, and who will play Jessica in the movie?

Who is Jessica Swiatkowski?

Back in October 2015, Detroit-based exotic dancer Aziah “Zola” Wells posted a Twitter thread using the hashtag #TheStory. It quickly went viral. It documented her wild encounter with a fellow dancer named Jessica, who she had met in March 2015.

Jessica Swiatkowski is portrayed as the antagonist of #TheStory, who involves Zola in all kinds of chaos.

In March 2015, Jessica was 20 years old, so it is thought that she would currently be around 26.

Riley Keough will star as Jessica in the upcoming movie, however in the movie adaptation the Jessica-inspired character goes by Stefani.

Jessica and Zola: #TheStory

The two met in a Hooters, where Zola was working. Jessica came in for lunch and immediately hit it off with Zola. The two exchange numbers then days later Jessica invites Zola to work at a strip club in Florida over a weekend.

Aziah Wells documented their wild adventure – involving prostitution, a murder and a suicide attempt – in a 148-long Twitter thread. Wells has spoken on how some details of the wild weekend were fabricated.

If you have yet to read the full Twitter thread, you can do so here. But be warned; if you read the thread, it’s likely you will know the full events of the Zola movie. So, ready yourself for spoilers!

Zola movie: Where to watch

The aforementioned release date for Zola is 30 June 2021.

It has been reported that Zola will be released in cinemas, although this has yet to be confirmed.

As we’ve seen with movie releases over the past year, many have gone straight to streaming platforms. This might also apply to Zola come release date, dependent on the easing of lockdown.

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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.