At some point in our lives, we’ve all wondered what it’s like to step into the shoes of our favourite celebrities and live like them for a day. While some enthusiasts cosplay as their beloved stars, others have succumbed to a more permanent solution to look like them. Some of these procedures have gone well, while others… not so much.
From “Male Kim Kardashian” to “Zombie Angelina Jolie,” here are 12 people who went to great lengths to look like their favourite idols and celebrities.
Over the course of 14 years, Los Angeles-based superfan Adam Guerra has splurged £150,000 (roughly $190,000) on a total of 18 cosmetic surgeries, including cheek, bum and jaw implants, a nose job and fillers—all in the hope of resembling his favourite idol, Madonna.
In an interview with The Sun, Guerra, who performs Madonna’s hit songs under the drag name ‘Venus De-Lite’, admitted that he has spent “practically my whole life, my whole wallet, all the money that’s been given to me” to look like the ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ singer. “I’ve had my cheeks implanted and my jaw done several times, I’ve had my chin done and I’ve had brow lifts and fillers,” Guerra explained. “But it is so worth it because goddamn, I look like Madonna.”
Let’s face it, there’s only one Ryan Gosling in this world. No one else has the same rugged scruff, intriguing eyes and chiselled jawline like the La La Land star. Back in 2013, however, aspiring actor Nicholas Ryan underwent extensive cosmetic procedures to look like the heartthrob in question.
After two hours of treatments, the New Jersey-based enthusiast was given nearly £4,000 ($5,000) worth of Botox and filler injections to make his face resemble his favourite hero. “Gosling’s got a look that a lot of people in America are looking for right now, especially in my line of work,” Ryan told the Daily Mail at the time. “I’m hoping I’ll get more auditions and roles if I look more like him. That’s why I had the surgery.” The enthusiast also added how women love The Notebook actor and believed the procedure would also improve his love life.
“I’m secretly excited how women will react now I look a little bit more like their celebrity crush,” he said. “Ryan Gosling does well with the ladies, hopefully so can I.”
For superfan Donna Marie Trego, it all started when she was asked to perform a Lady Gaga cover during a theme night at a local pub. From there, Marie Trego went on to spend over £70,000 ($87,990) to transform herself into the ‘Bad Romance’ singer with the help of more than 40 outfits, wigs and even her own team of dancers.
“Donna Marie as Lady Gaga is internationally acclaimed as the ‘Best Lady Gaga Tribute on the planet’!” the superfan’s website reads. Heck, Marie Trego has also met up with her favourite star in person. “Oh my god, you look just like me—you are amazing,” Lady Gaga herself was heard squealing with excitement after meeting her tribute act and impersonator.
“She’s taken over my life. My house is full of costumes. There’s a bit of Gaga in every room,” Marie Trego explained in an interview with the Daily Mail.
Mega fan Kitty Jay took her devotion to The Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence to another level in 2014, when she spent over £19,000 ($25,000) on a total of six cosmetic procedures—including liposuction to her face and body, a breast augmentation, rhinoplasty and grafts to her cheeks and buttocks. The entire procedure spanned six hours and Jay’s recovery took several weeks, according to ABC News.
“The more I’ve looked at her, the more I’ve realised that her features are sort of my features but more refined,” she told the publication. Erm, I’ll let you decide how similar Jay looks to the Academy Award-winning actress:
Arizona-based twins Matt and Mike Schlepp first stepped into the spotlight in 2017, when they appeared on MTV’s original reality series I Want A Famous Face with the goal of becoming Brad Pitt look-alikes. Aged 21 at the time, their entire £15,000 ($19,000) worth transformation process—including nose, cheek, jaw and chin implants as well as 41 porcelain veneers—was documented for the world to see.
Although the pair endured several months of agonising treatments that left them unable to eat proper meals, they admitted that it was “more than worth it.”
“I would do it ten times over. It has definitely helped me get more girls. I’ll walk and get that double-take from girls and hear the whispering that follows,” Matt said on the show. “I’ve had such a dramatic change that girlfriends I hadn’t seen in a while couldn’t stop staring, and said they wanted to cry! If that doesn’t make you feel good, then what would?”
In 2017, 19-year-old Sahar Tabar first claimed that she had undergone “50 surgeries” to look like her favourite Hollywood actress, Angelina Jolie. Amassing 500,000 followers on Instagram, the Iranian teenager quickly shot to fame—as several media outlets dubbed Tabar the “Zombie Angelina Jolie” and equated her appearance to Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.
However, fans suspected that Tabar’s new look was the result of extensive makeup, prosthetics and digital doctoring. The 19-year-old later confirmed their claims in an Instagram post that read: “People are probably living in the 18th century and they haven’t seen or heard of technology or make-up and they are really surprised.” In July 2019, Tabar went on to admit that she had, in fact, undergone a few surgeries like a nose job, lip fillers and liposuction but insisted that most of her appearance was hinged on makeup and editing.
In 2020, Tabar was sentenced to ten years in prison for charges including blasphemy, inciting violence, gaining income through inappropriate means and encouraging youth to corruption.
Francisco Mariano Javier Ibanez’s desire to look like Ricky Martin started a long time ago, when people remarked that there was a resemblance between him and the Puerto Rican singer. “I got a photo of him [Martin], I realised that I liked him and, like everything in life, when I like something, I go for it,” the enthusiast recalled on a TV show.
After spending seven years and around £6,595 ($8,254) on 30 cosmetic procedures, Mariano Javier Ibanez said, “I did my nose, chin, lips… I wanted to look like Ricky Martin, but the truth is, I ended up prettier than him.” After the drastic transformation, however, Mariano Javier Ibanez discovered that it is best to “just be yourself” and said it took him a long time to realise it. “I thought about who everyone likes and, yes it’s true, people told me that I kind of resembled him. So I believed them,” he said. “Now, I am able to realise that the ideal thing is to be yourself, not someone else.”
Jordan James Parke has one goal: to be the “Male Kim Kardashian.” Spending £110,000 ($137,580) on countless procedures, including two nose jobs, a chin implant, 50 lip-filling operations, eyebrow tattoos, vampire facials, neck lipo-suction, microdermabrasion, a chemical peel, Botox injections in several areas and laser hair removal, the superfan now looks completely unrecognisable in his pre-surgery photos.
“I don’t want to look exactly like her. I just love her features,” James Parke told Cosmopolitan, clarifying that despite all of the treatments, he’s not “crazy.” “A lot of people say ‘He must have problems, he must have something wrong with him’, but—as a lot of people know, when you have surgery—you have to see a psychiatrist beforehand. I’ve seen one, so I’m not crazy,” he laughed. “Well, I am a bit, but I’m not like mentally insane.”
Dubbing himself as Britain’s “Lip King,” the superfan now lives a lifestyle filled with its own perks. “I get all my treatments for free now, I don’t pay for any of my Botox or my fillers,” he told Cosmopolitan. “I get companies contacting me every day asking, ‘Will you promote this on Instagram? Will you do this?’ I’m getting invited to different parties, you know what I mean, it’s just crazy. I just think to myself sometimes, imagine what Kim’s life is like. Imagine how many companies ask her to do things.”
Germany-born aspiring songwriter, Toby Sheldon, had spent five years and over £80,000 ($100,000) on numerous procedures including face fillers, hair transplants, eye lifts, a controversial smile surgery and a chin reduction in an attempt to look like Canadian singer Justin Bieber. Appearing on Botched and TLC’s My Strange Addiction, Sheldon said, “When Justin Bieber got famous, I was so jealous of his good looks! He had this baby face that I just really liked. Some people buy fancy cars or fancy mansions. What I do with my money is I get surgery to look more like Justin Bieber.”
In 2015, however, 35-year-old Sheldon was found dead in a motel room in the San Fernando Valley. At the time, the Los Angeles County coroner listed the cause of his death as “multiple drug intoxication.”
Los Angeles-based Bryan Ray has dedicated his life to resembling his favourite idol, Britney Spears—spending roughly £64,000 ($80,000) on over 90 surgeries including veneers, regular Botox treatments, fat injections in his cheeks, laser hair removal, lip fillers, a nose job, as well as an intensive skin care regimen designed to make him look “eternally youthful.”
“Ever since I was young, there was something about Britney Spears and the qualities she had that I thought was the perfect package. I was obsessed, I watched all her interviews, learned all her choreography and then paid to have the same perfect smile as I felt that, during that time, we were very similar,” Ray told the Daily Mail. “In the beginning, I was trying to look like Britney Spears, my surgeons who designed my veneers asked me which celebrity smile I wanted to base mine on and it was hers. Now, with my looks, I want to get into modelling. I love impersonating Britney Spears, so I want to continue doing that and see where it takes me.”
Bryan has allegedly met his idol three times, including during her infamous meltdown of 2007.
Nicknamed ‘Scouse Pammie’, Liverpool-based Carolyn Anderson is now a professional lookalike of Playboy playmate and Baywatch star, Pamela Anderson. When I started modelling, I needed an angle to make me stand out from everyone else,” Anderson (Carolyn, not Pamela) told Liverpool Echo. “If I do something, I want to be the best at it, so because I had always been told I looked like Pamela Anderson I decided I should be her. I already had the hair, I’ve been dyeing mine since I was 12, and I’ve naturally got full lips so I just worked on the rest.”
The “rest,” according to the Daily Mail, includes “Botox, lip fillers, teeth whitening and false eyelashes.” Anderson also injects herself with Melanotan II, which the publication described as an “unregulated tanning drug.” In an interview with The Mirror, the superfan added, “I’ll admit it—I’m hooked. I’m what they call a tanorexic. But I couldn’t live without a tan, it’s a part of who I am. And I wouldn’t leave the house without one.”
Lastly, we have Oli London, the controversial public figure who “identifies” as a Korean person with they/them pronouns and “kor/ean” neopronouns. Rising to notoriety after being featured on Hooked on the Look and Botched, the British influencer has undergone $150,000 worth of cosmetic surgeries over the course of six years to look like Park Jimin from the Korean boyband, BTS.
“I’m not actually changing my race,” London said in the 2019 interview with Barcroft TV. “I have a deep respect for Korean culture. It’s cultural appreciation, not cultural appropriation.” To date, however, the internet figure has come under fire for altering most of their features to appear “more Korean”—including their nipples to match Jimin’s.
“If you look at the pictures of me and Jimin, we’re identical,” London said in the interview. “When I was in Korea everyone [called] me Jimin [when I was] walking down the street. Everyone, they think I’m Jimin.” As of today, it is unclear what the vocalist from BTS means to London, as they have mentioned the desire to both resemble and marry the Kpop star. A cardboard cutout doesn’t count, by the way. Mister London.
From American actresses such as Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood to musician Brian Jones and West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur, we looked into the most mysterious deaths of celebrities to date and picked five which have been left unsolved for years. Will you be able to crack the case?
On 5 August 1962, actress, model, singer and iconic blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe was found dead at the age of 36 in her home in Los Angeles. She was discovered lying nude on her bed, face down, with a telephone in one hand and empty bottles of pills—prescribed to treat her depression—littered around the room. The said cause? A barbiturate overdose that was ruled a “probable suicide.”
Monroe’s bizarre death led many to doubt the gorgeous star, who was at the time rumoured to have been involved in affairs with both President John F. Kennedy (JFK) and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, had taken her own life. Instead, members of the public suspected Monroe was murdered (by being forced to take the drugs that actually killed her) to keep her from talking about the Kennedy brothers as well as other government secrets she was gathering.
On 4 August 4 1962, Robert F. Kennedy—then-attorney general in his older brother’s cabinet—was, in fact, in Los Angeles. Two decades later, however, Monroe’s housekeeper, Eunice Murray, announced for the first time that the attorney general had visited the actress on the night of her death and quarrelled with her. To this day, the CIA still maintains files on Monroe’s death though it is highly unlikely anyone will ever discover what really happened.
You can’t really dive into Tupac Shakur’s death without mentioning Biggie Smalls, also known as Notorious B.I.G., Shakur’s East Coast friend-turned-rival who died exactly six months after him. The story of Shakur’s death on 13 September 1996 begins with a failed attempt on his life two years earlier. On 30 November 1994, Shakur was shot and seriously wounded during a robbery committed by two armed men in the lobby of a midtown Manhattan office building that housed a recording studio where he’d been working on his third album, Me Against the World.
Shakur was quick to blame the attack on producer Puff Daddy and Biggie. Shakur’s charges, and his subsequent move to the LA-based record label Death Row Records, sparked the so-called ‘East Coast versus West Coast’ feud that defined the hip-hop scene through the mid-90s.
In Las Vegas on 7 September 1996 for the Mike Tyson/Bruce Seldon boxing match, Shakur and his entourage were captured on tape in the lobby of the MGM Grand hotel engaging in a violent fight with a man later identified as a member of the Los Angeles-based street gang called Crips. Hours later, Shakur was riding as a passenger in a car driven by Death Row Records’ head, Suge Knight, when a white Cadillac pulled up alongside them at a stoplight and opened fire. At least 12 shots were fired, four of which struck Shakur and one of which grazed Knight’s head.
Emergency surgery saved Shakur’s life that night, and in the days following, doctors even announced that his chances of recovery had improved. On 13 September however, the rapper died of his wounds.
Six months later, on 9 March 1997, B.I.G. was shot to death at a stoplight in Los Angeles. The murder was the culmination of the ongoing feud between rap music artists from the East and West coasts. His death came only weeks before his new album, titled Life After Death, was scheduled to be released.
Knight, who was also shot with Shakur but not wounded seriously, is rumoured to have engineered a retaliatory strike against Biggie, whom he held responsible for the Las Vegas shooting. Knight has been incarcerated for a fatal hit-and-run since 2018 but no arrest has been made to date in connection with either of the rappers’ murders.
On 20 December 2009, actress Brittany Murphy, who was first revealed in her role as Tai Frasier in Clueless, collapsed in the bathroom of the home she lived in with her mother Sharon and her husband Simon Monjack. A few hours later, she was pronounced dead. Aged only 32 years old, Murphy’s sudden death shocked Hollywood and the rest of the world, prompting much speculation about her personal life as well as conspiracy theories about the cause of her death.
After dating celebrities like Eminem and Ashton Kutcher, Murphy married Monjack in 2007 after a failed intervention by her friends showing her evidence of his criminal history. He moved in with her and her mother and shortly after began isolating Murphy from her friends by disconnecting her phone lines, cutting off all access to her that did not go through him, and going as far as taking on the roles of her manager, agent, and even makeup artist himself.
An ex-girlfriend and mother of Monjack’s child—a child Murphy never knew about, according to the HBO Max documentary series What Happened, Brittany Murphy?—testified to his abusive, controlling behaviour and serial lying in the two-part series. Murphy was even fired from the last movie she shot in November of 2009 after Monjack showed up to set drunk, according to LA Weekly. The following month, she died of pneumonia with contributing factors of iron deficiency anaemia and multiple drug intoxication, as stated by the coroner’s report—which stated, “She had been sick at least two weeks. Had they taken her to a doctor or hospital, it would have been treatable.”
Following the actress’ death, both Monjack and her mother Sharon remained living together and behaved oddly. In a TV appearance on Larry King Live, Monjack expressed the needlessness of an autopsy in his wife’s case. The two of them also took part in a strange mother and son-in-law photoshoot after Murphy’s death.
Over the years, fans and true crime heads have questioned the likelihood of a 32-year-old dying of pneumonia and alleged that mould growing in the celebrity’s home or perhaps even poison administered to her by her mother or her husband could have caused her death. The mystery grew when Monjack died less than six months after his wife, on 23 May 2010, from pneumonia and anaemia as well. He was 39 years old.
HBO Max’s doc largely debunks these conspiracy theories. A lab performed toxicology testing on Murphy’s hair after her father filed suit against the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office and the Los Angeles Police Department in 2012, and though they found that her hair contained dangerous amounts of lead, they determined that the substance came from her hairspray or hair dye, as no lead or mould spores were found in her system during the autopsy. The coroner, interviewed in the series, stated that Brittany likely would have survived had she been brought to a hospital in the days before her death, while she was suffering from pneumonia and having trouble breathing.
Though many of you might not know who Natalie Wood was, her death is one of the most puzzling out there. The American actress, who was the recipient of four Golden Globes and three Academy Award nominations, died off the coast of Santa Catalina Island on 29 November 1981, at 43, during a holiday boat trip and break from the production of her would-be comeback film Brainstorm.
At the time of her death, the county coroner’s officials said she had drowned, although, already some important details were missing—it was never determined how she entered the water but Wood was with her husband Robert Wagner, Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken and the boat’s captain Dennis Davern on the evening of her death. Authorities recovered her body at 8 am on 29 November, one mile (1.6 kilometres) away from the boat, with a small inflatable dinghy beached nearby. Wagner said that she was not with him when he went to bed.
Davern had previously stated that Wood and Wagner argued that evening, which Wagner denied at the time. In his memoir Pieces of My Heart, Wagner admitted that he had an argument with his wife before she disappeared. The autopsy further found that Wood’s blood alcohol content was 0.14 per cent and that there were traces of a motion-sickness pill and a painkiller in her bloodstream, both of which increase the effects of alcohol. It was thought that Wood had been drinking and may have slipped while trying to re-board the dinghy.
Her sister Lana expressed doubts, alleging that she could not swim, had been “terrified” of water all her life and that she would never have left the yacht on her own. Two witnesses who were on a nearby boat stated that they had heard a woman scream for help during the night.
In 2011, 30 years after the actress’ death, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials reopened the investigation. Then, in 2013, they changed Wood’s cause of death from “accidental drowning” to “drowning and other undetermined factors.” The new coroner’s report cited fresh bruises on her arms and knee, along with a scratch on her neck and a scrape on her forehead, as evidence that she might have been assaulted before she drowned.
The new report also noted “conflicting statements” about when Wood disappeared and whether she had argued with her husband. According to the report, Wood went missing about midnight, and an analysis of her stomach contents placed her death around that time. The old report said Wagner placed a radio call to report her missing at 1:30 am, yet Roger Smith, the LA County rescue boat captain who helped pull Wood’s body from the water, said he did not receive a call to look for her until after 5 am.
More than 100 people contacted authorities after the investigation was reopened but it became clear that the new probe didn’t provide a big break in the case either. Some detectives claimed Wagner knew more than he let on about Wood’s death, an allegation the actor’s attorney denied. No charges were ever filed.
For all the highly publicised brushes with the law that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would have during the late 1960s, it was the original leader of the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones, who was the group’s OG bad boy—who, in the words of The Who’s songwriter Pete Townshend, also lived “on a higher planet of decadence than anyone I would ever meet.”
Apart from his gift in music, Jones also helped create the stereotype of the wasted rock star with his infamous drug habit and his declining ability to contribute to the Rolling Stones’ recordings. “At first, Brian was the most interesting Stone,” John Lennon recalled in a 1970 interview, “[but] he was one of them guys that disintegrated in front of you.” Unable to show up for recording sessions due to his drug problems, Jones was also refused an entry visa to the US in the spring of 1969 due to his recent drug conviction, upsetting the band’s plans for a fall tour.
Jagger and Richards fired him on 8 June 1969, and a little less than a month later, on 3 July, 27-year-old Jones was found dead at the bottom of the swimming pool at his home in Sussex. While it was said that Jones had been drinking brandy and taking sleeping pills before deciding to go for a swim, and as a result was “unsteady on his feet” and his speech was “garbled,” his daughter, Barbara Marion believed he was murdered.
For years, rumours have alleged that Frank Thorogood—a builder working on Jones’ house who was the last person to see him alive—may have killed him after a dispute over money. Many believe that Thorogood and his construction crew were leeching off of Jones and that he had fired them the day before the incident. Thorogood could have then gotten into an argument with Jones that ended with the builder holding Jones’ head down in the pool until he drowned. He would have then allegedly moved the body to the pool to make it look like an “accidental drowning.”
Thorogood’s friend Tom Keylock went as far as to say that the builder confessed to the murder on his deathbed, saying, “He said to me ‘I’ll tell you something after all these years, but you gotta promise not to say anything until after I die… It was me who done Brian’.”
That being said, although the police work done at the time of Jones’ death has been heavily criticised, the Sussex Police has reviewed the case three times over the years, including as recently as 2009, and still stands by its original determination.