Performer: It’s a JOB and of course, anyone is CERTAINLY allowed to make a living. I just feel that as a MUSICIAN and spending YEARS studying theory, taking/paying for lessons for years to learn musical theory and how to play instruments and becoming a vocalist, that someone who just happens to look like a famous person gets paid more than a studied person who has “paid their dues” just because they LOOK like someone famous.I look like ME and resemble my Dad! All My Best!
Tatiana:I agree with you, in that yes, there are those who simply were born with the genes of looking like a famous person and merely because of that they make a GREAT living. Someone like this may not need to have studied anything. I do know several LOOK-alike peers in our industry who are doppelgängers of their celebrity counterparts and that’s how they STARTED out in the business. Simply by looking like someone famous. However, many have decided to not just leave it at having the “look” but put themselves through acting, vocal, dance lessons and have perfected the rest of the package. And many have succeeded and have become some of our BEST. After years of training they have learned to perfect each and every nuance of their ‘characters’ and would blow your mind and perhaps expand it to not think so narrowly!
And there are those who continue to just be blessed to only look like their characters and leave it at that…..and perhaps make a GREAT living by doing print work or quick appearances.
I’d like you to be aware that calling us all LOOK-alikes is a very broad statement. There are different definitions for what each of us do in our industry. I think you should know what the titles mean (per my definition):
Look-alikes – someone who looks very similar to a famous person. this category definitely encompasses some who take it further and NOT just look like their character but act like them too with much skill and study.
Impersonators – LIke the above, but someone who may not necessarily look like their character as much or just have a similar resemblance, but through the help of makeup, movement, acting, vocals, sound, mannerisms, etc…. are able to perfectly portray a character and wow an audience.
Tribute Artist – similar to an impersonator in many ways. Perhaps in this category you could also put someone like yourself who, from what I see on your profile sings Sinatra tunes (nothing original, merely someone else’s music). But you pay TRIBUTE to him. Now I’m not saying you sound like him – as I don’t know – but if you do with all of your years of training and music theory, I’d hope so – then you are paying ‘tribute’ to Old Blue Eyes himself. If you succeed in doing so, YOU yourself might just be a one of “us” (as an example)!
Having said all of this, I’d also like you to know that, much like yourself, I too have had many expensive years of training. From the time I was a little girl I was taking ballet and dance lessons, then acting and then vocal. Although I did not set out or even really know about the impersonator world while training, I was fortunate enough BECAUSE OF MY TRAINING and TALENT, to soon meet and start working with impersonators as a back-up dancer. Then I slowly sequed into it myself. I do not LOOK exactly like any of the characters I portray (Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, Shakira, Paula Abdul) however, because of my skills from training and taking endless amounts of lessons, I am able to (and have) even fooled many a people into thinking they might really be watching the celebrity I’m portraying. Not that any of us are in this business to ‘fool’ people. But I say this to make a point. It takes years of perfecting the makeup, the hair or wigs, the body, the walk, the talk…..I’m repeating myself but I want you to understand (as anyone who needs enlightening) that that IS talent! To be able to learn how to and then pull it off, and become successful at it and yes, perhaps make more money than someone else, because of this, is TALENT.
Then, one (including myself) could argue that just because you have a degree in music theory and play an instrument and went through years of schooling for vocal training or dance training or whatever the case may be, does NOT make you talented! It might help you become better at the craft but talent encompasses more than how you are choosing to define it. How many success stories are out there about people who never had training and never went on to higher education or dropped out of school and yet have a huge TALENT. Some whom have even changed the world. STEVE JOBS comes to mind of course. Rachel Ray, Anna Wintour, the list is super long….They all had talent at their craft without having had formal training in the business in which they have succeeded. There are many stories like theirs. And on the flip side, how many times have you heard of people going through years and years of training (particularly in our performers’ industry) and yet they still don’t have an ounce of talent. I have seen many. Another argument for: A Degree does NOT MAKE YOU TALENTED. And although, like you I went through years of formal lessons, putting my single Mom into debt (love you Mommy) I am not so stupid as to say someone who hasn’t had years of formal training can’t be talented. That’s just blind and stupid and not the case.
As I said in my last response back to you. There is so, so much to say about this topic. And I only feel I have touched the tip of the iceberg. Although, I know you weren’t directing your judgements toward me in particular – after all, we have never met in person, nor have you seen me in action – I felt a compelling need to try to ‘teach’ you, enlighten you and at the same time defend my industry that I have grown to be veryproud of. It’s people like yourself who make such broad generalizations and judgements, that keep OUR (yours, mine, everyone’s) world small and compartmentalized. When in fact, our world is huge and has so many aspects to it. And within those zillions of aspects lay a little thing known as TALENT and within that little thing known as TALENT there can be so many various facets and categories and definitions of what TALENT is. Yours is small and only in your world. It’s sad that you don’t, ESPECIALLY as a performer yourself, expand it to your other FELLOW performers.
I’m not quite sure why you sent ME in particular, this note proclaiming your narrow judgments, but I am glad that you did. I am not one to make waves on purpose, but when someone who obviously hasn’t done their homework, research or had experience with a subject and yet makes such statements, I have no hesitation in speaking my mind and helping you learn.
In closing (and then I’m done with this) I’d like to invite you to our industry’s annual celebrity look-alikes/impersonator’s conventions. You have two options on two coasts: The Celeb Impersonator’s Convention in LAS VEGAS coming up in the first quarter of next year. And The Sunburst Convention in Orlando, FL in Sept, 2012. You will get to see the best of the best in action and I think you just might take a different stance on this subject. Until then, it’s tabled.
Take Care and stay OPEN.