During President Donald Trump's Town Hall on Thursday night, social media became fixated on the "nodding lady" behind him, and now she has come forward. Mayra Joli is the Trump supporter who can be seen nodding, giving thumbs-ups and generally agreeing with the president throughout the night. After Miami Herald reporter Alex Daughtery found Joli's true identity, her viral clout seemed to rise even more.
Joli was deemed the viral moment of the night when NBC hosted a town hall-style interview with Trump for the 2020 presidential election. Some likened her to the fly that landed on Mike Pence's head at last week's vice presidential debate, or to undecided voter Ken Bone in 2016. As it turns out, Joli is a pro-Trump activist who has gone above and beyond with her emphatic support for the president. In 2018, she even ran for the U.S. Congress herself on a platform that mostly cast her as a Trump loyalist.
Joli did not stop at her visually distracting enthusiasm for Trump's words on Thursday, either. She later posted a video of herself with Trump at the town hall, where she told him: "We have your back! You see, you see you are the best."
Joking aside, some took issue with Joli's presence at the town hall, where NBC claimed that "undecided voters" had been chosen to fill the audience. Since Joli has clearly been an outspoken Trump supporter since 2016, many viewers questioned how seriously the network took this "undecided" claim, and whether they did any background checking at all on their audience.
Joli has made other posts, proclaiming herself Miami's "master of selfies," and she has spoken to reporters as well. However, much of social media still refers to her simply as "the nodding lady," with a hashtag to match. Here is a look at how both shallow and deep dives into Joli's support for the president have been received on social media.
The New Fly
First up, social media couldn't help comparing the "nodding lady" trend to "the fly" from last week. A house fly on Mike Pence's head became national news, so there is no telling where Joli's story is heading.prevnext
Joking aside, some called Joli "distracting," finding no humor in her "sycophantic" behavior. This was especially true for those that were flipping back and forth between Trump's interview on NBC and his opponent, Joe Biden's town hall on ABC News.prevnext
Like so many other pop cultural phenomena, some users observed that a similar moment has already taken place on The Simpsons. Many jokingly suggest that the cartoon has "predicted" these kinds of things.prevnext
Same. This woman is nodding at things before he’s even finished his thought. It’s a psychological trick and I cannot believe no producer, no camera person, NO ONE is stopping it— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) October 16, 2020
Some were truly angry at NBC for allowing Joli's performance to go on, arguing that it was not just a harmless "distraction." This became even more infuriating when Joli's background came to light.prevnext
Apps like TikTok allowed parodies of the "nodding lady" to go viral as well, within minutes of the town hall event. Meanwhile, some posted GIFs and videos of other emphatic nods for comparison.prevnext
#mayrajoli #NoddingLady: the “undecided” voter, nodding at everything / all the time at yesterday’s #townhalltrump. Ps. Not photoshopped, actually from her FB profile banner. pic.twitter.com/ENmOZnJ6mL— Yanick Tremblay (@beinaction) October 16, 2020
"The town hall event was billed as a conversation with undecided voters, though many of the questioners introduced by moderator Samantha Guthrie were already leaning toward voting for Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden."
Nodding Lady wasn't undecided.https://t.co/4EKFYlqpo4— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) October 16, 2020
Amateur social media sleuths turned up ample evidence of Joli's support for Trump in no time, prompting questions about NBC's selected audience of "undecided" voters. Many questioned if the network did any research at all on these candidates.prevnext
Finally, many viewers suspect that "nodding lady" will feature heavily in the cold open to this weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live — much like the fly and Ken Bone before her. The show is live at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.prev