4. She talks dating as a LP and why she and husband Joe got engaged twice.
Jolé opens up about her first love and first major heartbreak at 18, falling for an average-height boy named Sam. The two had been friends for years, but after their first kiss, everything changed.
“The truth is, once we kissed he could never quite make the leap to the two of us going out on our own together in public,” she writes. “He insisted he wanted us to be together, but then he would backpedal and say things like, “I feel like I’d be holding my daughter’s hand instead of my girlfriend’s,' which made me feel insecure, like he didn’t think I was good enough.”
Jolé reveals that she even considered limb-lengthening surgery because the rejection she felt was so painful, but eventually she made the decision to walk away from the relationship. Over the years, Jolé says she dated other average-height men (some who were more comfortable with her height than others) and fellow little people. But her love story with now-husband Joe Gnoffo occupied the most of her time and heart.
Jole and Gnoffo met at a party in 2000 and immediately connected, though both were in relationships with other people at the time. That first meeting set off nearly 15 years of ups and downs for the couple. They performed onstage together, lived together and Jolé says the romance was “very intense” and “stressful”.
Gnoffo proposed to Jolé on the way to a Smashing Pumpkins concert while they were working together in Las Vegas several years later. “On the way to the venue, he pulled over and put on ‘1979.’ When he got out of the car and asked me to dance, I was like, ‘Are you crazy?’ But then he looked at me and out of the blue asked me to marry him. It was the most romantic moment of my life,” she shares.
Unfortunately, the romance didn’t last. After countless arguments and both parties being unfaithful, Jolé decided to leave, breaking up with Gnoffo at a diner and moving out of their apartment. A year and a half went by before they eventually rekindled their friendship. In the meantime, she shares that they both dated other people, joking that she “was getting out and dating like a hooker, [but] deep down I wasn’t happy without Joe in my life.” Jolé says that the couple found their way back together for good because “he never gave up on us.”
“We were never really planning on getting married. It was like a Kurt Russell, kind of Goldie Hawn thing. We were never really wanting it,” Jolé explains to ET about their relationship. But about a month before their daughter, Penny, was born in 2015, Gnoffo proposed to Jolé again. She writes of the surprising change of heart, “I knew I was ready to spend forever with this man. Joe was, and still is, the love of my life.”
5. Jolé made a living reselling thrift store goods and once earned $1,200 from reselling Louis Vuitton luggage.
Jolé’s Hollywood journey was as varied as the jobs she took to support it. Aside from her work as a touring performer for Radio City (in New York, Denver, Detroit – where she met future Little Women co-star Tonya Renee Banks and Gnoffo) or as a "Mini" performer in Las Vegas, Jolé took a lot of odd jobs to make ends meet. At one point, Jolé moved back home to San Antonio and worked as a dog groomer. She also worked as a medical insurance underwriter.
“I was a total thrift shop junkie, so when I wasn’t doing Mini Britney my biggest income came from hunting for designer purses and then reselling them on eBay,” she writes about her talent to tell the real bags from the knockoffs. Her most popular items were signature pieces by Louis Vuitton. Jolé explains that if you know what you’re doing, you can double or quadruple the money a thrift store would make by selling the pieces online (earning between $500 and $900). Her biggest sale ever came from a two-piece set of Louis Vuitton luggage. “They were totally beat up; the linings were ripped and the big piece had a huge stain. I thought maybe I could make a hundred bucks resale because the shipping alone was a hundred, but I ended up making a little over $1,200 in all. That was a great week.”
She adds, “I still have my eBay store and it costs $80 a month to keep it, but I always feel like anything can change at any moment and it’s something I can always go back to if the entertainment work dries up.”
6. How she missed her big chance to perform as Mini Britney with Britney Spears herself.
Jolé’s road to fame and fortune really took off when she began performing as Mini Britney Spears. She came up with the idea in 2007 after touring for two years as Mini Paulina (Stanley) in a band called Mini Kiss. After taking $300 portraits at a J.C. Penney studio in San Antonio, Texas, dressed in a schoolgirl outfit and pigtails, Jolé began to be paid to perform her Mini Britney act, making upwards of $8,000 to perform overseas. Jolé eventually built a repertoire of mini characters including Mini Katy Perry, Mini Madonna and, her personal favorite, Mini Lady Gaga. In December 2009, she got the call that rapper T-Pain wanted her to join his arena tour for his circus-themed show. She’d work as a “special guest performer” faking out the audience to make them think Britney was coming onstage.
“A couple of weeks into the tour, I got a call from my manager that Britney’s people had reached out to say she was interested in bringing me on her upcoming Circus Tour as Mini Britney,” she writes. “I was beyond excited, but once they found out I was touring as Mini Britney with T-Pain the offer vanished. It was such a disappointment to lose that opportunity. As much as I was enjoying touring with T-Pain, it would have been amazing to perform as Mini Britney alongside the pop princess herself.”