Being a celebrity look-alike has its ups and downs

I have a friend who has the looks, the locks and the lungs of the folk-rock singer Tracy Chapman. My friend so strongly resembles Tracy that she has a hard time convincing people that she isn't. She decided to write a musical disclaimer and sang it at many of her gigs. She named the tune, "I'm Not Tracy."

Since I am also often mistaken for someone I am not, I have also decided to issue a similar disclaimer. But since I can't sing a lick, my statement will be delivered acapella.

It will say: "I'm not Whoopi."

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg

I have worn my hair in locks for more than a decade and in that time I have attracted critical and complimentary reactions. Thanks to Whoopi Goldberg, the straight-talking co-host of The View, my locks have also attracted attention that usually reserved for celebrities.

I get the double takes and the stares. Fingers point in my direction and I overhear excited whispers from people who think they recognize who I am. I've grown accustomed to hearing Whoopi's name shouted at me by passersby. Some do it in jest. Others really believe they have witnessed a celebrity sighting.

I feel like a snob when I ignore their friendly overtures and feel like an imposter when I respond. No one has approached me for an autograph yet but if these incidents of mistaken identity continue to occur, I fear that it won't be long.

I suppose there are a few commonalities between Whoopi and me that might lend support to the resemblance argument. Unfortunately it has nothing to do with me having similar talent, money and fame.

My similarities to Whoopi has more to do with appearance and style.

We both have relatively round faces and deep mahogany skin. We both wear eyeglasses and have a habit of peering over the rims more than we peer through the lens. And when it comes to fashion preferences, our mutual style of dress could best be described as casual — bordering on casualty —chic.

But the hands-down reason people are quick to cast me as a Whoopi lookalike is the fact that like her, I wear my hair in locks.

Locks have been Whoopi's signature hairstyle during her more than 30 years as an entertainer. She rocked them in her early days as a standup comedienne, and through her Oscar-winning acting career. She kept them intact during her stint as a regular on Hollywood Squares and is still representing while holding court on The View.

So make no mistake. Whoopi and her locks are the real celebrities.

But for the record, my locks and I stand ready and able to serve as stand-ins if we're ever needed and if the price is right.


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