imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news



CopWatch LA


A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network: africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Real Thoughts on Fake Lives

by Charlotte Laws Friday, Mar. 16, 2012 at 6:02 PM

I wondered about those who intentionally live someone else’s life and headed to the 2012 Celebrity Impersonator Convention and Awards in Las Vegas. I wanted to know how “Sean Connery” and “Johnny Cash” felt about being Sean Connery and Johnny Cash. Could they retain a sense of self while playing 007 or a boy named Sue?

“Fake” evokes a number of images: reality TV, brush on tans, social snobs, email solicitations from Nigerian “princes,” and Jim Carrey’s surroundings on "The Truman Show." In the 2011 movie "Albert Nobbs," actress Glenn Close plays a pretend guy, living a pretend existence. She resides in a tiny room with few possessions and a lot of misery. Her life belongs to her employer, although she stashes hope under the floorboards in the form of cash for a someday business.

I’ve felt like Albert Nobbs myself; perhaps everyone has. At age 23, I applied to be a no-day-off nanny at a Beverly Hills estate; but when handed the job, I bolted. I suddenly realized I’d be living someone else’s life, dressing someone else’s kids, and endlessly focusing on someone else’s activities. I figured I’d rather be the main course on a table of hardship rather than a side dish on a smorgasbord of plenty.

Then there were those moments of celebrity suffocation. As an accomplished party-crasher in my younger years, I hobnobbed with the rich and famous at award shows, on movie sets, at VIP parties and backstage at concerts. With most stars, I could breathe just fine; but there were a few who sucked all air from the room. Dr. Drew Pinsky would call them “narcissists,” a term he uses in his 2009 book, "The Mirror Effect," to describe those who engage in unhealthy self-absorption and who strive to attain godlike status. He says the noteworthy rank higher on the narcissism scale than the unknown. As for the underlings and employees of egocentrics, I felt sorry for them; and sensed a deflated demeanor and emptiness in their eyes. I figured they’d lost themselves years prior. Narcissists permit only one balloon at the party: their own.

Apart from those who take jobs unaware of the “soul devouring” consequences, I wondered about those who intentionally live someone else’s life and headed to the 2012 Celebrity Impersonator Convention and Awards in Las Vegas. I wanted to know how “Sean Connery” and “Johnny Cash” felt about being Sean Connery and Johnny Cash. Could they retain a sense of self while playing 007 or a boy named Sue?

The answer seemed to be yes, with some exceptions. “Dolly Parton” told me she was living her own life; but added that in another sense she was living nine lives. “I’m like a cat. I can portray Dolly, Elvira, Charo, Mae West and five other vamps. It’s all about the wig.”

“Michael Jackson,” “Angelina Jolie,” and “Bono” said their essences were intact; and a hippie wearing round sunglasses concurred, “I am living my own life. I just want to make the world better.”

“But you’re playing Ozzy Osbourne,” I said. “Even the real Ozzy Osbourne doesn’t want to make the world better.”

“Bette Midler” said she didn’t feel absorbed in the role of The Divine Miss M., but added, “Of course, some people are delusional.”

“Whitney Houston” agreed. She told me about an “Elvis,” who when off-duty, wore sequined pantsuits and curled his lip like “the King.” He’d break into Kentucky Rain during a downpour; and into Blue Suede Shoes when sliding on his Hush Puppies. “He was living in a time warp,” she said. “It was pathetic.”

There were three Elvises at the Convention; and according to a clearly unreliable Internet source, there are an estimated 85,000 Elvis imitators in the world. This source says that by the year 2019, Elvises will make up one third of the world’s population. Oh, well, I suppose it’s better to have three billion Jailhouse Rockers than continents full of starving kids.

A look-alike booking agent told me about a “Natalie Wood” who suffered from severe depression and who predicted she’d one day drown. And she mentioned a former “Marilyn Monroe” named Kay Kent, who got surgery to look like her idol and who once said “It's almost as though by taking on her appearance I've inherited her troubles." In 1989, this woman committed a copy-cat suicide, dying exactly as the real Marilyn did.

The booking agent also revealed that impersonators who are in high demand are more likely to lose their own identity. “They can get caught up in the character, and don’t know how to snap out of it.”

Due to the economic downturn, few are in high demand these days. There’s less money, but more sanity. Regular nine-to-five jobs keep many impersonators grounded. “Bret Michaels” told me that he worked as a truck driver, and “Dr. Phil” was a manager at Home Depot, advising the lovelorn on power tools. “Barack Obama” earned his living as a materials scientist, and “Tim McGraw” handled loss prevention at K-Mart.

Unfortunately, I was unable to locate “Alice Cooper” for an interview; “Britney Spears” told me he was backstage having a sex change operation. And award nominees “Tom Cruise” and “Will Smith” never showed; they were probably on a mission impossible or saving a planet from aliens.

The Convention taught me that you can impersonate someone else while “living your own life” or you can impersonate yourself while “living someone else’s life.” And it is mostly a matter of perception; it is a subjective and relative enterprise. What is tolerable to one person may be intolerable to another. Although I cringed at the thought of becoming a full-time nanny, others fulfill their dreams in this very field. Although I darted from narcissists, others were surely energized by super-sized personas.

Shakespeare said “all the world’s a stage,” and it is possible Albert Nobbs agreed. Although I deemed her life “miserable,” perhaps she saw it as her own. Perhaps she was disguised as herself, hoping that today’s real Albert could eventually escape and become tomorrow’s real Albert, a freer version of herself.

I left Las Vegas, realizing that it is important to have real thoughts and avoid a fake life. Whatever that may mean to you.

Charlotte Laws is an author, weekly contributor on the NBC show “The Filter” and a Greater Valley Glen Councilmember in Southern California. Follow her at
This article first appeared in Huffington Post in March 13, 2012.
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
blast from the past nobody Sunday, Mar. 18, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Local News

Public art project aspires to save California N18 3:42PM

Songwriter, Author, Philanthropist P F Sloan Died On Nov 16 N17 4:48PM

A Plea For Support From Will B N15 4:23PM

10 Shocking Realities of the TPP N09 4:47PM

KPFK needs your VOTE ! or lose it. O31 4:51PM


KPFK is losing and reducing it's main programmers, so can Fresh ones emerge there instead? O26 5:58PM

Fall 2015 National Immigrant Solidarity Network Monthly News Alert! O26 7:58AM

A master-plan is needed to support renter protections in Northern California, & elsewhere O25 9:48PM

KPFK Updating: a coup? or failure? or.... O25 5:04PM

Kapparot Chicken Slaughter Causes Outrage: Activists Demand Change O06 1:59PM

Update on WHAT IS HAPPENING AT KPFK and what can be done & elections O05 12:39AM

A Letter (sent) to L.A. Slut Walk O03 12:51PM

Protesters Enact Symbolic "Die In" to Unwelcome Narendra Modi to Silicon Valley S28 3:52PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

fbi and police engage in unstoppable crimes N29 12:14PM

Eutonologie d'éthologie N29 8:08AM

MovieStarPlanet Generator VIP | Online Resources N29 6:03AM

MSP Hack VIP Generator Diamonds and Starcoins N28 5:36PM

MovieStarPlanet Hack Generator N28 5:33PM

Parangon d'une grande infestation N26 11:03PM

The Shortwave Report 11/27/15 Listen Globally! N26 3:56PM

An humble opinion N26 1:59PM

Activistas de los Derechos Humanos Unen Fuerzas en Honor al Derecho a la Democracia N25 3:13PM

VIDEO: What "Orwellian" Really Means N25 1:49PM

US Forces South Africa To Import Sick Birds N25 9:10AM

Presidential Candidates Criticize Pfizer Merger N25 8:19AM

Turkey's Downing of a Russian Fighter Jet Moves the Doomsday Clock Very Close to Midnight N25 5:46AM

NATO is harboring the Islamic State N25 4:43AM

Paraphysique de l'Etat d'urgence N25 1:23AM

Casino Capitalism and Profit Maximization N25 1:18AM

Democracy Now, Military Times, Guardian Articles On Soldiers Refusing To Drop Drones etc N24 9:10AM

First Amendment Under Covert Attack N23 6:27PM

Insanity of the police/fbi community N23 1:35PM

No to Racism and War! N23 6:02AM

(A-Radio) Northern Europe 1: Musta Pispala festival in Finland N23 12:36AM

Paranoïa ou la vérité d'une société N22 11:54PM

Wicked fbi and their mischievous police friends N22 11:22AM

“None Dare Call It Conspiracy:” How U.S. Elites Made Islamist Militants the New Red Menace N21 5:05AM

Monsanto Patenting World's Seeds, Controlling World's Food, Causing Cancer, Killing Bees, N20 9:59AM

Indigenous Hispanic areas also Economic Rights US N20 8:14AM

Paraphysique de l'hybris pirocratie N19 11:44PM

The Shortwave Report 11/20/15 Listen Globally! N19 5:07PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy