Walking down the street minding your own business, it happens again, just like the week before: yet another person is looking at you with a slightly strange expression...as if they know you, or you've met somewhere and been introduced. In that moment before they put their hand out to shake yours, you get it, and wonder how it'd ever slipped your mind. Once again, another person thinks you're that guy out of that movie, and nothing you can say can make them change their mind. So you pose for a photo, or you sign something. And then it occurs to you, a revelation that might just change your future forever: I could do this for a living. If this is going to keep happening then I may as well earn some money out of it, right? I could be a lookalike...
Except this doesn't happen to most people. For most of people there's a problem: the majority of the population interested in following this highly unusual career path don't look like anyone who the general public would know. Or perhaps they do, but their face is one that conjures up images of someone who is famous, but not famous enough to be of serious interest to lookalike recruitment agencies. For this reason many people are under the impression that they could never cut it as a lookalike, when the truth of the matter often couldn't be further from the truth...
Interestingly, lookalike (and talent) agencies the world over aren't necessarily looking for a perfect photographic match of a famous celebrity, but rather someone capable of exuding the charm and renowned mannerisms that that celebrity is universally known for. By cleverly dressing a suitable candidate in the right attire, thus enhancing their natural ability to imitate a celebrity, agencies regularly pull off what might be considered an impossible feat: fooling hordes of party revelers into believing that an A list star has just waltzed through the door.
Agencies that represent lookalikes are usually more than adept in sourcing new talent, and often have roots in representing actors. Many agencies are open to hearing from people from all walks of life in order to fulfill a growing demand, and therefore employ lookalikes in the following sectors: celebrity lookalikes, Hollywood A list lookalikes, impersonators and even sound-a-likes. And don't be fooled into thinking that agencies are only interested in hiring lookalikes to represent the celebrities of the moment; while this is undoubtedly big business - especially in regards to premiers, corporate events and private parties - there is also an enormous demand for the golden stars of the past who still maintain an enormous following.
And it doesn't end there. A myriad of other personalities are also sought after for events the world over, and these include past and present world leaders, famous twins and the more obscure members of the stage and screen who rarely attend public events.
Basically, celebrity lookalikes are the media world's secret weapons, stepping into the role to impress when the the celebrity in question is either unwilling or unable (often to budget constraints) to make his / her presence known. As such the work is enormously varied, with lookalikes often being called upon to double in movies and endorse products for global companies and house-hold brands.
Those looking to step into this lucrative profession also need not worry about the number of celebrity lookalikes working the international circuit: countless lookalikes cater for the likes of popular actors such as Tom Cruise and Jonny Depp, and most large recruitment agencies take on groups of lookalikes in order to be in many different countries promoting a film or theater show at once.
Pay as a lookalike is obviously dependent on the celebrity in question, and the amount of work an agency may be feasibly able to secure. But, even after taking a cut of the total earnings, many successful lookalikes find themselves in a good position with a career that can span several decades, offering numerous possibilities to appear in the public eye.