Lainey Wilson Jokes a Tequila Shot Calmed Her Down for Big Night at 2023 CMT Awards (Exclusive)

The country star went home two awards at the show — for female video of the year and collaborative video of the year

2023 CMT Arrivals
Lainey Wilson. Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty

Lainey Wilson had a lot to celebrate Sunday night at the CMT Awards, but she also had some nerves to keep calm!

The country star, 30, caught up with PEOPLE at the event's red carpet, where she explained that it took a little bit to get herself ready for the show — of course, before she took home two trophies.

"A few cameras down, they gave me a tequila shot and that kind of helped," she said with a laugh. "That'll help. A prayer and a tequila shot."

Lainey Wilson performs onstage during the 2023 CMT Music Awards at Moody Center on April 02, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
Lainey Wilson at the 2023 CMT Music Awards. Jason Kempin/Getty

Wilson won big at the CMT Awards, leaving with victories in the collaborative video of the year category (for "Wait in the Truck" with HARDY) and female video of the year category (for her solo track "Heart Like a Truck").

She was also nominated in the CMT performance of the year and video of the year categories, but those went to Cody Johnson and Kane Brown/Katelyn Brown, respectively.

AUSTIN, TEXAS - APRIL 02: Lainey Wilson and HARDY speak onstage during the 2023 CMT Music Awards at Moody Center on April 02, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Lainey Wilson and HARDY. Jason Kempin/Getty

Also during her catch-up with PEOPLE, Wilson revealed she ran into Shania Twain at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas where the event took place — a major personal moment for her.

"That was really special," Wilson says. "A huge influence of mine, she's the one that I would watch on stage and she would do things outside of the box, step outside of her comfort zone. As a little girl watching that, it made me feel like I could do the same thing."

While Wilson also performed her smash "Heart Like a Truck" at the event, she was able to see Twain, 57, do her own thing by accepting the Equal Play Award, which recognizes artists who are vocal advocates for elevating diverse and underrepresented voices in country music.

Check out PEOPLE's full CMT Awards coverage to get the latest news on country's big night.

Twain was introduced by rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who praised the star for "shatter[ing] ceilings and redefin[ing]... country music and beyond."

"I just met her and that's my new bestie," Megan said. "She's been an outspoken ally against every hate of all kind… gender gaps, ageism, impacting inequalities against the LGBTQ+ community and more. She's an inspiration to me and millions of others."

CMT Winners portraits
Lainey Wilson. Catherine Powell

Twain started her acceptance speech with a reference to her 1997 hit "Man! I Feel Like a Woman," explaining that when she wrote the now-classic, she "had no idea at the time that it would become an undercurrent of a decades-long career."

"It's amazing how just one statement can empower so many. And 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman' has been adopted by an array of fantastic communities all around the world and become such a genuine path of power, which brings me so much joy," she said. "Thank you to CMT for pushing the Equal Play agenda and always supporting me."

Lainey Wilson at the 2023 CMT Music Awards held at Moody Center on April 2, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
Lainey Wilson. Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty

Twain later called on the country music industry to "close the gap and provide an equal workspace for all talent," before shouting out the many rising stars she's bringing with her on her Queen of Me Tour, including Lily Rose, Lindsay Ell, Hailey Whitters, BRELAND, Robyn Ottolini, Mickey Guyton and others.

"My hope is this opportunity and spotlight impresses you much and lights up the careers of these very talented people on their journey," she said. "I will continue to do my best as a trailblazer. Together, let's ensure all our fellow artists get equal play regardless of gender, age or race."

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