IN Uganda, being a celebrity look-alike does not matter much. If you are a living replica of local artiste Jose Chameleone or Vice-President Gilbert Bukenya, acquaintances may make constant jokes about it and people on the street may stare with curiosity at your resemblance. But ultimately, your resemblance with a celebrity will not come to so much.
That is in Uganda. Out there, in the â€˜celebrity-crazyâ€™ Western world, looking like a celebrity is a big deal. Celebrity look-alikes earn lots of money from it, while others have earned livelihoods solely on it.
Celebrity look-alikes are often hired to light up private events, such as parties or anniversaries. People seek look-alikes of their favourite actors, musicians and politicians to make it look like the celebrity graced their function.
For example, a look-alike of footballer Didier Drogba could be hired to sit at the high table at a wedding, or a George Bush replica could be hired to act as an usher.
Look-alikes are also hired by advertising and public relations firms for advertising purposes. Major companies often use celebrity look-alikes to draw attention to their stores or products. For instance, a company could employ famous actress Angelina Jolieâ€™s look-alike to advertise their lingerie.
For those who closely resemble movie stars, Hollywood continues to be a destination. There, the actorsâ€™ and actressesâ€™ look-alikes find regular employment playing the actors they resemble.
For instance, where the actual actor or actress is for some reasons, unable or unwilling to shoot a scene (such as a nudity scene), a look-alike is normally called in to play the actor. These are referred to as stunt doubles.
Celebrity look-alikes are also used to dupe nosy and annoying paparazzi who relentlessly follow celebrities everywhere they go.
A celebrity look-alike will go out the front door where a horde of paparazzi will besiege him or her while the real celebrity makes a clean escape through the back door.
Politicians and senior government officials also employ their look-alikes for purposes of camaflouge and misdirection. For example, Saddam Hussein reportedly employed several look-alikes during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Generally, celebrity look-alikes are employed in innumerable different kinds of situations. Others include music concerts, conferences, reality TV shows and documentaries.
Because of the popularity of celebrity look-alikes, there are even specialised agencies that make a lot of money from managing look-alikes.
These often go out of their way to get people who look like celebrities, employing them or providing services of a booking agent for them.
They book events or shows for the look-alikes and advertise them; some even train them on how to best mimic the celebrities they resemble.
Some agencies contract hundreds of celebrity look-alikes of a very popular celebrity.
One look-alike agency in Britain has more than 10 former Beatles singer Paul McCartney look-alikes it hires out to different events, as well as more than five British model Katie Price look-alikes!
In Ugandan, if you look so much like ghetto president Bobi Wine or politician Betty Nambooze, there is a new way to make some money off it. And I am willing to serve as your booking agent, anytime.
It pays to look like a famous person