Imagine, just for one second, that you looked identical to your fave celebrity.
For 20-year-old Aussie Olivia Claire, that’s a reality (from the right angle, of course). With her blonde bob, a penchant for red lippy, and fortuitous body type, the model / actress bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain Taylor Swift.
The resemblance is so striking, in fact, that Olivia has a side-hustle as a T-Swift impersonator, and can command anywhere from $5k–$10k for appearances.
Her Instagram account – boasting a not-small 47k followers – is chock-a-block full of comments from Swifties doing the ol’ double take.
Here’s just a sample of the comments:
PEDESTRIAN.TV caught up with Olivia to get the low-down on dressing up as a celebrity, professionally speaking.
P.TV: When did you first realise you bared an uncanny resemblance to a certain T-Swift?
OLIVIA: I guess it was a fairly gradual thing because when I had long, naturally brown hair and worked as a check-out chick, customers would often tell me I looked like a “Brunette Taylor Swift” or “Taylor Swift in the ‘You Belong With Me‘ video” (where she wears a wig).
Back then, I was a lot younger and a lot less confident, I didn’t take much notice because I admired her so much I couldn’t see a resemblance. It wasn’t until Taylor’s Red Tour back in 2013, slightly lighter hair, where I’d dressed up in a similar stage costume that people came and asked for photos, which really shocked me.
Flash forward to November 2015 for her Sydney 1989 Tour when I’d just recently cut my hair short and gotten it dyed blonde for a bit of change, and I found myself getting mobbed by fellow fans outside the venue. I went to all the Melbourne shows and found the same thing happened, red lipstick or not haha.
I think it was after the 1989 Tour dates where we’d (my best friend and I) had security asking us to move to a bigger aisle, closing off the gate to our entire floor section because of the line as long as the floor aisle filled with fans wanting photos with me, that it really hit me that this was a “thing”. I think it’s really flattering and I love making those people happy even if it’s just a novelty.
What goes in to creating your look – i.e. do you cut your hair to match Taylor’s? Have different wardrobes? How long does it take to do hair and makeup?
My hair has gradually become closer to Taylor’s over the years and like any other fan, it was inspired by her look however I never did it to look more alike. I never change my hair to anything I don’t love, like for example, when she (Taylor) went platinum blonde, everyone asked if I would copy, and I said I’d never copy for the sake of looking the same, I’ll only take inspiration from looks I personally love. I think because of the natural resemblance, people will just naturally assume I do everything to look like her but if you think about it, did every girl in the 90’s think they’d look like Jennifer Aniston by getting “The Rachel“? No, they just liked the style. That’s what it’s like for me, I liked it so I got it but it’s also now part of the job to keep fairly up to date with her current hairstyle.
Our wardrobe style is fairly similar, we both like clean, classic looks but we both like to experiment with other styles occasionally, so I never have to dress in anything I wouldn’t normally wear. It also helps we’re both within an inch or two of each other’s height and body measurements so our clothes will sit the same.
Hair and makeup wise, there isn’t many ways of wearing the shorter hair so I don’t really have to style it any differently, but with makeup, I find I get comments no matter how I wear my makeup, some days when I’m out and about bare-faced, I’ll still get the Taylor comparisons, but if I have an event on as “Taylor”, I’ll do my foundation/contouring as normal but then I’ll add things to make the resemblance from “you look like ____” to “Excuse me, are you _____?”. Usually, I’ll wear winged eyeliner, I’ll be a bit more careful with my eye makeup to make it look sharper, and more careful, if I have time, I’ll wear false lashes. I draw out my natural lip shape with lipliner then I’ll wear NARS “Dragon Girl” Matte Lip Pencil, as it’s the same one Taylor often wears.
Is there much of a market for a Taylor Swift impersonator in Australia?
To be honest, there’s not too much of a market for acting in general here in Aus, however I’ve been really lucky and thankful to have landed some ads for such huge companies like Sara Lee and V Energy Drink, and from that I’ve worked with Kyle & Jackie O at KIIS FM, I’ve also done a skit with Scoopla at 2DayFM and I’ve gotten to do some other fun things here and there. Most impersonator jobs are pretty fun and wild, although the whole “V Skills” Campaign I’m involved in, is so wacky and out-there but it’s so hilarious and fun.
I’d love to ride this lookalike gig out as much as I can because obviously it’s fun but my passion is acting and I get to do that with impersonation gigs. Plus, it’s given me some opportunities I’d never get otherwise.
There’s a perception that a celebrity lookalike career isn’t as lucrative as it once was, thanks to celeb being more and more available to the public via social media. Do you think that’s the case?
I think that’s true for the more small-time celebs who can be more reachable but when you’re talking about someone as beloved, A-List and successful as Taylor Swift, there’s a lot more demand, a lot more fanbase to appeal to, and only one, busy Taylor Swift to do it all… that’s where I step in.
What kind of figure do you charge for appearances, and how do you base your fees?
The base rate is 1 million onwards….
Just kidding. It depends on the job but for the featured adverts, it can range from 5k for a non-speaking role and double for lines, but it depends on the job.
At the moment, I’m in talks of a contract with an agency as an influencer/talent (acting, maybe even the odd modelling job, who knows), so I’m very excited about that because hopefully I’ll be getting more regular work, not only as a “Taylor Lookalike”, but as myself. I’m looking to expand my career as an individual, as Olivia Claire, but while it’s still hot, I love doing the Taylor work too because it gets my foot in the door and it’s great fun.
Have you met other celebrity impersonators? What is something people might not know about the celebrity impersonator industry?
For the Sara Lee Lookalikes ad, we had a whole bunch of celebrity lookalikes flown in from the US and UK, I was the only Aussie, and we shot the ad and stills over 3 days and we all became such good friends and it was so fascinating to hear how much in common we had in terms of our thoughts and opinions on the whole lookalike world, so much of the same self-doubts and anxiety, but also a lot of the same gratitude that we’d be dealt such a cool card in our lives.
I think people would be surprised to learn that we’re not a delusional bunch of wannabes, we don’t actually think we’re the person we’re impersonating, we know there’s differences between us and the real deal, we’re just normal people trying to hustle in this world and while we do have our fun, there is a lot of work, stress and criticism that comes along with it.
Imagine being told every single day that you’re not “this” or “that” enough, the same sexist jokes used on Taylor Swift, said to me, like “Do you also have a new boyfriend every week?”, “Look out, don’t get too close, she’ll write a song about you!” or even just the petty “Is she gonna sue you for doing this?” or making the Katy Perry/Kimye slurs, being commented on like an object, things like “She needs to eat more, look at her”, “Yeah, her t*ts are too big/small to be the real Taylor”
It’s funny, celebrity impersonators have the thickest skin because we cop so much slack for just doing a form of acting, and just for looking like someone.
What’s the wildest story of someone mixing you up for Taylor?
There’s been so many but I have to say it was probably when I passed Taylor’s guitarist, Paul [Sidoti], in the hallway on my way to meet her, and he double took and then freaked out and kept going “Oh my god! No way, oh my god, that is freaky!”. It was pretty funny coming from someone who’s worked with and known her for nearly 10 years.
And finally… what was it like to meet Taylor IRL?
Well first of all, she looks so flawless in person, like her best picture doesn’t do her justice and I just thought, “There’s no way I look like you” because she looks a bit different in person to in photos (in a good way).
I would compare my resemblance to some photos of her, but in the flesh, she just looks like a doll, she’s so perfect-looking.
Personality-wise, she was so sweet, warm and down the earth! She made normal conversation with us, had a joke with us, never took herself seriously, and she told us about her bad ankle and a few other things.
The reason she sent her people to bring me to Loft 89′ (the exclusive meet & greet) was actually because she’d seen my Tumblr post about thanking Taylor for her song “The Best Day” as my mother had passed away from Uterine cancer 2 months prior to the concert and that song had really resonated with me, and she wanted to send her condolences in-person which she was so genuine and sweet about, she was holding my hand and everything.
She’s such a genuinely kind and beautiful person, I feel so lucky to even be compared to her.
Photo: Instagram / Taylor Swift; Olivia Oblivious.