doppelganger illustration

Gazette reporter Jennifer Mulson has been told one of her doppelgängers is actor Mary Steenburgen (on the right). (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP). Illustration by The Gazette. Original photo showed actor Anne Hathaway on the left.

Doppelgängers — we’ve all had a few.

Martha Stewart, Winona Ryder, Catherine Keener, Mary Steenburgen and Valene Kane, an Irish actor who got herself kidnapped by a serial killer in that terrifying series “The Fall.”

These are a few of the celebs I’ve been told I look like, but it’s only the last two whose photos I can look at and see a vague resemblance. I often think it’s just my penchant for bangs that seals the deal.

One friend recently told me I looked just like his sister and her best friend, and offered photographic proof. There was definitely a strong alikeness.

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The German word doppelgänger, or double-walker, describes any biologically unrelated look-alike we might have stumbling around out there in the world. It’s been said we all have one, and with more than 7.5 billion people on the planet, chances are good there must be at least one person who could fool your own mother. OK, maybe not, but perhaps your cousin.

Who hasn’t had somebody exclaim, “I saw your twin the other day buying a tub of rum raisin ice cream at the Piggly Wiggly.” Or, in a more fraught example, “Where were you on the night of July 13? We have witnesses who saw someone who looks just like you club a man over the head and take off on his Vespa.”

How do you feel upon hearing such news? Depends on the celebrity or nonceleb, doesn’t it? I admit to being less enthusiastic about some comparisons than others. Which is why I now hesitate to tell anybody they look like somebody else, for fear they’ll immediately pull up Google images after I’ve walked away to see what the world might think of their visage, and be displeased and hurt.

It’s so hard to be indifferent to what our fellow humans see when they see us. We don’t really know what we look like, do we? And it’s quite the conundrum to realize we’ll never see our full selves in person. Photos and videos only go so far. When somebody offers a comparison, it’s irresistible to at least consider yourself through their eyes.

I also must admit to feeling somewhat disheartened when somebody informs me with glee I look like somebody else, no matter who it is. Takes the pomp out of your circumstance a bit, I reckon. Don’t we all want to be singular humans, with our own brand of individuality, who have never walked the Earth before? I don’t want to think there’s another me out there. There can be only one, as the “Highlander” film made clear.

So who do people always tell you you look like? A celebrity — Madonna? Cher? Brad Pitt? Maybe an author — Zadie Smith, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood? Or a politician — Angela Merkel, Jimmy Carter, Benjamin Netanyahu? Of maybe it’s more personal — a friend they once roomed with in college?

I lost count of how many times a former Gazette co-worker was told he looked like Robert Redford. Not too shabby, eh? Another friend of mine looks just like Pacey (Joshua Jackson) from “Dawson’s Creek.”

For Jacob Carver, it was pop star Justin Timberlake when he was younger, when his bleached, curly hair reminded people of the former NSYNC boy bander. Nowadays, though, it’s largely Bob Ross, the beloved curly-haired artist whose soft-spoken painting tutorials could hypnotize the best of us.

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“I got asked to do a teenager’s birthday party as Bob Ross and teach kids how to paint,” said Carver, a Colorado Springs resident. “I said I don’t know how to paint. But I went on the internet and watched Bob Ross videos. They canceled when they realized I had no artistic ability.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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