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It pays to look like a famous person

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd June 2010 03:00 AM

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 res

By Joseph Ssemutooke

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 ‘celebrity-crazy’ 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 Jolie’s look-alike to advertise their lingerie.

For those who closely resemble movie stars, Hollywood continues to be a destination. There, the actors’ and actresses’ 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

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