A look into the history of a Look Alike Agency “Mirror Images” and the Look Alike Industry from its conception
The Look Alike Agency niche of the Entertainment Industry came into its own in the early 70’s, and it quickly spread like wildfire, both here in the US and abroad. Before that boom, there wasn’t really a place for “Look Alikes or Look Alike Agencies ” to gather, network, or even know that they that they had something unique at their fingertips; never mind that they could make a living doing it! During this boom, some of the larger theatrical talent agencies dabbled in Celebrity Look Alikes and opened their own Look Alike Agency Department.. They soon found out that amazing Look Alikes were not knocking on their doors wanting to be represented nor were they all living in Hollywood. They tried making some of their theatrical actors double up as Look Alikes with costuming and makeup. Of course, up and coming actors (who were not born looking like celebrities naturally) were not interested as being known as a celebrity Look Alikes with casting directors, especially since it was hard enough getting an audition to begin with. And besides, they were, after all, professional actors with their own unique look who had spent many hours and hard earned money on training to hone their theatrical/commercial craft.
Realizing that it took work and resources that were not easily accessible, these theatrical agencies ended up unwilling to spend the time, effort and money. The whole ordeal was looked at as a hindrance rather than a boost for their agency and those departments soon faded out.
Then small variety talent agencies started to get requests for Look Alikes in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. I happened to be fortunate enough to catch that wave and founded Mirror Images in response; we created an agency that provided A list Look Alikes, Tribute Artists, Tribute Bands and some very talented impersonators. It was all very exciting; having undiscovered talent contact you, clients calls coming in and jobs being booked months in advance. My office was stacked with VHS tapes, and head shots had started to climbing up all the walls. The internet was just proving to be essential for your place in business.
Through the years there have been many ups and downs and many twists and turns. The financial climate is a very prominent piece of the puzzle, entertainment seems to be the first to be cut unless the budget is a million plus. I am very happy to say this brought us on top of this market and carved our path into working with some of the best celebrity Look Alikes in the business. I can very quickly decide if the actors I am interviewing will make it in this unique industry. It is not an easy career to jump into, you must have a strong idea of who you are, alongside a want to entertain.
The father of this very niche industry was a very smart man who recognized this small but very new commodity which he fell upon. He was an agent for theatrical actors in Hollywood, unfortunately, he became one of the most disregarded agents in the business. This stemmed from not treating the talent with any respect, though I feel perhaps this was not an uncommon trait of his, to begin with. Over the years I heard many more stories about the ethics and standards of his Look Alike Agency.
Chatting over coffee, in my case tea, with our most popular Marilyn Monroe , we happened to touch on how she got into the Look Alike business, and she said laughing that her first encounter was with The Ron S Agency, which originally she was signed with him theatrically. He asked her had she ever played Marilyn and she replied of course she had. He then asked her “Well how would you like to go to Germany as Marilyn?” It was tough and still is to sign with an agency when you first get into town, so she felt she couldn’t say no to the first job he got her. Excitedly she packed up her bags, passport picked up her ticket and was on her way; however, when she finished the gig and was headed back to the airport (since she was not provided a hotel room, even for one night) she realized she also didn’t have a return flight booked! She thought it was a last minute mistake by the agent and he would sort it out. When she called him, his response was less than stellar; he told her that she was on her own and he only got her there, leaving her stranded in Germany to find her own way back to the States.
Needless to say, Mirror Images – Look Alike Agency saw this as an opportunity to actively attract professional actors that were spot on celebrity doubles and wanted to pursue a career path as Look Alikes. This meant that there was far less competition in booking jobs while also creating a growing demand for the best A-list Look Alikes. There aren’t professional, trained Look Alikes on every corner in Hollywood; they are a very rare bunch, less than .02% of the world’s population, with exception of identical twins. Some of the first, and still to this day, most requested Look Alikes are from Hollywood’s golden era, such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis.
Having learned from a certain forerunner’s mistakes, Mirror Images – Look Alike Agency has always respected our talent, since after all, if there is no talent there is no agency; and this mindset, along with our dedication to the quality of our Look Alikes has set us up to be a cut above the rest and a household name in the Look Alike Industry.