Celebrity lookalikes can turn their gift into fame and fortune

There's work for lookalikes; good lookDo people tell you you look like a celebrity? Well, if you have the looks of a celebrity and the spirit of an entertainer, you might be able parlay that resemblance into a very well-paying job. I had the opportunity to discuss the look-alike industry with one of its foremost agents, Dot Findlater of Mirror Images Co. in Los Angeles.

Her agency supplies talent for television, films, trade shows and corporate conventions. She represents lookalikes in a wide range of the public arena, from movie and television stars to sports, historical and political figures.

Of course, as your WalletPop correspondent, my first question was how much could a good lookalike earn? Findlater said that for cinema and TV work, her people earn union scale, which is pretty sweet. The Screen Actors Guild minimum for a day performer is $782, and $2,713 for weekly performers.

For other gigs such as trade shows, however, they could earn as much as $600 for an hour's appearance, or up to $10,000 for a performance.

Why would a company lay out this kind of dough for a double? Findlater explained that, while the actors are never represented as being anything other than lookalikes, it gives those in the audience that moment of electricity where they can imagine themselves actually standing next to Angelina Jolie or Barack Obama. A good lookalike,she explained, can make an otherwise boring presentation exciting and memorable. And, of course, everyone in the room has to have their picture taken with the not-really-the-president.

lookalikes can turn their looking into cashBeing a lookalike is not as easy as I'd imagined, however. While she does represent photographic doubles who limit their work to posing, most of Findlater's people not only craft their appearance to resemble the person they look like, but put in many hours of hard work capturing their speech, mannerisms, voice, and all those nuances that we would notice if they were absent. From Angelina's smirk to Brad's boyish smile to Bill Clinton's stubby thumbs-up, we identify well-known public figures by how they act as much as how they look. Some actors have taken years to nail their subject.

Who makes a good lookalike? Other than the obvious physical appearance, Findlater explained that it takes someone who embraces public performances; no wallflowers here. It also takes someone, she says, with a great deal of confidence, someone who is "comfortable in their own skin." In fact, she was once called by a psychologist who was looking for help with a client who so closely resembled a well-known figure that he was constantly being told of it. He hated,absolutely hated, that, because he wanted to be recognized for who he was.

Who's in demand? Findlater explained that requests follow trends, and people on top now, like Lady Gaga, are in great demand. However, she said that sometimes by the time an actor has put together the look and the performance of a Lady Gaga, depending on how long she lasts in the public eye, the lookalike could miss the crest of the wave.

Following up on the story that first piqued my interest, an AP report that Tiger Woods lookalikes have lost a lot of money since his disgrace, I asked Findlater how her Tigers had been doing. She told me that they too had seen work dry up, except for offers that she tactfully describes as "not in their best interest."

This is a volatile market, remember. Other figures could come onto stage in an instant, particularly in the political arena. So don't give up hope if you don't look like a god or goddess; who would have imaged two years ago that Tina Fey could make money by resembling the then-governor of Alaska?

If you really truly look like a popular celebrity, you can e-mail your portrait (posed and dressed to resemble as closely as possible the person you propose to emulate) to Findlater's agency, or one of her competitors. If you have show business in your heart, that's a skill that improves your odds, so be sure to mention it.

In the meantime, I'll be watching television from a different frame of mind; I don't care about the hero or villain, I just want to know if I look like anyone in the cast.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Banking Services 101

Understand your bank's services, and how to get the most from them

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Darcee Tisko

I always get told I could pass for a blonde Sandra Bullock, Kristen Johnson, and Pink! I'm willing to travel and be a fill-in. Email me at darvon28@yahoo.com

December 02 2015 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hi there , i was told if people mentioned that you look likw George Clooney? I was asked if i was George Clooney?
It happened often that maybe i can put it to use.

November 22 2015 at 6:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shomari Hooper

.people tell me I look like Kimbo Slice and Rick Ross

June 06 2015 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Latrice Johnson

I here I look like Queen Latifah everyday, I work for Walmart an when the Senior Citizen bus pull up at the store they all want my autograph, I here them all saying there's Queeney......I luv it, it makes my day to be known as the Beautiful QueenLatifah look a like.

July 17 2014 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Some people say I look like snoop Dogg so how can I get paid

June 25 2014 at 6:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Sebastian Inphamous

Interested in making money off my looks only because many say I look like Vinny from "Jersey Shore" . If you could e-mail info to potentially make money doing so I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you -Sebastian Cuervo @labelmeCuervo

April 04 2014 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Devasky Percival

Hey people keep telling me if I did live in the U.S I could make money for looking like 50cents . Is there a possibility is true ? Everyday some one new tell me I look like him

February 27 2014 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeffrey Steven Blair

Hey can you guys email me please. I want to know how I do this process so I can try to get fame famous and conquer my dreams. Jeffreymadison26 @gmail.com

December 22 2013 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeffrey Steven Blair

I'm sorry how that came out .but what I was trying to say was everyday I'm told I look like Michael Ealy he is the actor a model

December 22 2013 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeffrey Steven Blair

How to process work because I'm told every day did I look like a very attractive male star in Hollywood world. His name is Michael Ealy

December 22 2013 at 1:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeffrey Steven Blair's comment
Latrice Johnson

Ur Quiter Dude.

July 17 2014 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply