Taylour Paige worked as stripper to do research for Zola movie

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Actress Taylour Paige spent a month perfecting her pole dancing moves by working in a strip club in preparation for her lead role in new movie Zola.

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The film is based on a viral Twitter thread posted online by Detroit, Michigan waitress and former exotic dancer A’Ziah ‘Zola’ Wells back in 2015, when she embarked on a wild road trip to Florida with a woman she barely knew, her boyfriend, and a man who turned out to be the lady’s pimp.

The story was adapted for the screen by Janicza Bravo, who co-wrote and directed the movie, and Paige, who plays the titular character, wanted to make sure she did the crazy tale justice by doing her research in an actual strip club.

“I didn’t want to look like an actor trying to dance, I didn’t want to look like a dancer trying to strip, I wanted to look like this person in the given circumstances who works at a restaurant and also dances,” she told WrapWomen.

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Paige received tips and advice from Wells herself, who served as an executive producer on the project, and the two women really hit it off.

“We just talked a lot and I got to know her voice and her spirit,” the actress said. “She’s just so funny and quick and smart. Her use of punctuation, like everything about her… she’s on some other s**t.”

Paige, who stars alongside Riley Keough as her road trip pal Stefani in Zola, also found the experience liberating for herself.

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“(I felt the) freedom to be a woman and love my body and my sexuality and not being also self-conscious or such a perfectionist,” she explained.

“Just giving myself grace to figure it out as I go and be as present and honest as I can with the dialogue… It just marked a really, really, really pivotal change in my life.”

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