Lana Del Rey Reveals Exactly How Those Viral Waffle House Photos Came To Be

“I woke up to, like, 10,000 texts the next morning.”

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10: Lana Del Rey performs on stage at L'Olympia on July 10, 2023 in Paris, Fran...
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In July, Lana Del Rey was spotted appearing to work at Waffle House, uniform and all. Naturally, the internet went berserk, flooding Twitter with memes and wondering why the acclaimed singer-songwriter, whose debut album just charted for a historic 500th week on the Billboard 200, would pick up an extra job. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Sept. 20, the Grammy nominee addressed those viral photos and footage of her working at the diner in Florence, Ala., explaining how the brief gig came about.

Del Rey said she has familial ties to the small town and was simply visiting during a break from her tour to see some friends. She and her siblings would “shoot the sh*t” at Waffle House every morning for several days in a row. Eventually, the staff decided to embrace them, handing her a uniform and name tag. “We were on our third hour, and the servers asked, ‘Do you guys want shirts?’ ” she says. “Hell yeah! We were thrilled.” The restaurant’s manager was obviously thrilled as well, sharing videos of her in uniform and photos with lucky fans who happened to visit on their Facebook page.

The singer was not working for an actual wage and was simply encouraged to pitch in, though she recalled one customer in particular. “This guy, a regular, comes in every day and orders two things, so they were like, ‘Just go get it for him!’ I brought him a Coke. No ice. And an empty cup, for dip,” she said, nodding to chewing tobacco. “I didn’t see anyone take a video of me.”

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Del Rey was amused by the online frenzy surrounding her spontaneous part-time gig, but also claimed that it overshadowed her new album. “I wish my album had gone as viral,” she quipped. “I woke up to, like, 10,000 texts the next morning — some from folks I had not heard from for 10 years. ‘Saw your picture at the Waffle House!’ (Laughing.) I was like, ‘Did you hear the new album?’”

Fans who did hear the new album, Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, may not have found it surprising that she was visiting Florence, Ala., as Del Rey gives the town a shout-out on album highlight “Paris, Texas.” However, no one could predict the Waffle House gig — except maybe Jack Antonoff, one of her most consistent collaborators, who told THR that these unexpected moves are classic Del Rey. “The secret to Lana is that she’s exactly who she is,” he said. “She’s really one of the greatest songwriters and vocalists who also likes to roll around in her truck and drink gas-station coffee. That can disarm people, but there’s no bit.”