Doppelganger time


Doppelganger is the german for double walker, one person people walking on this earth in two different places I guess. The translation one way or the other carries spookiness and mystery. For a lot of these people

Doppelganger alert! Essie Davis and Shannon Doherty

Essie Davis  Shannen Doherty Shannen Doherty Essie Davis

Essie Davis has delighted us with her dynamic and unique interpretation of the energetic lady detective Miss Phryne Fisher. It does take a lot of breath, courage, strength and versatility to take on the feminist avant-garde fashionista who swims right against the current of the 1920 decade. But anyone who has watched Beverly Hills 90210 version 1 or Charmed version 1 would be surprised at first when watching the series. Well for one, nothing had prepared them for the sight of Shannon Doherty in the lead role of an Australian series without proper announcement! No worries, this is only a doppelganger alert! It is not popular American actress Shannon Doherty who plays the cunning, sneaky, entertaining female lead but Australian thespian Essie Davis! We wouldn’t blame you for confusing these two, they are two peas in a pod!

Jaimie Pressly and Margot Robbie

Talking about two peas in a pod, the quasi symmetrically identical faces of aimie Pressly and Margot Robbie have been confusing fans all over the world. We have known the My Name is Earl actress for a long time. Yet Robbie has established herself so well on the big sreen that it has been hard not to confuse the two beauties. But I’d better let the photos speak for themselves.

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New generation? Bella Hadid and Young Carla Bruni

For the rest of us who saw Carla Bruni modelling when she was younger, it is a bit of a shock to see Bella Hadid on the runway because it is like decades have not passed and Carla is back. The retired model has been gracing the airwaves with her folk music when she was not accompanying her husband, former president of France, on official functions. When you see these photos, you must admit that you might need a caption to tell the two models apart, with or without the different make-up. It is as if the world of fashion, like many others, was getting new parts of the same for its old spaces. Althoug, it might not have been so had it not been for Bella Hadid’s early rhinoplasty1.

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Doppelganger across the world: Min Tanaka and Billy Nighy

Watching the Outsider, I was struck by how much Min Tanaka, the actor playing the head of the Yakuza, reminded me of Bill Nighy. They had enough similar facial features, especially the pout, that at times, it was confusing. I mean, imagine the Love Actually actor (Billy Nighy of course) and comedian speaking fluent Japanese as he accepts a finger sacrifice. Scary and hilarious all at once. We may think that we differ the farther we go. However, there is always an air of us, anywhere else in the world and an air of the rest of the world right in our home.

Bill NighyMin Tanaka

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Another example is Bad boys’ Alexandra Burke and Basketball star Nneka Ogwumike. So no, British singer Alexandra Burke does not play Basket Ball. Though these two have a very, very similar body structure, athletic and healthy, well they are two different people. I had not seen Burke for a while and did not know about American sport star Ogwumike. Well, there they are.

Alexandra Burke Basketball star Nneka Ogwumike

The Twilight series have made Kristen Stewart a face to be reckoned with long before she more than made out with some director on the way up Tinsel Town. The point is that you need some money and some voice to get the sought-after actress. Now, for those who may have less finances, or just are looking for a different quality of acting while preserving most of the facial assets of the actress, there is an alternative. She comes from all the way down under, as if Oceanie had just cloned faces from the other side of the world. The name of this beautiful Australian actress is Teresa Palmer. Thankfully for us and her, the more we get to watch Teresa Palmer on screen the less we think of Kristen Stewart and embrace the actress’ own and impressive credentials. It might not be an insult to be compared to Kristen Stewart but it is much better to be recognised for your own work and she thankfully increasingly is.

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Meg Foster and Michelle Gomez: One is known in the UK for her work particularly as Missy the doctor’s nemesis and the other one for her role in American horror movies. At times though, it is hard to know which is which.

Meg Foster megfoster2 Michelle Gomez by Gage Skidmore 2

Elin Petersdottir and Charlotte Rampling are a little closer geographically.

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Watching Eurovision Contest: The story of Fire Saga, I had to make a real effort to see Elin Petersdottir because for almost the entire time, I was persuaded it was Charlotte Rampling. To be honest, there was almost no point finding photos of Charlotte at that age because Elin’s face says it all. Even though the latter is fairer from her Icelandic climate, there are pictures of a blond Charlotte here and there that would make you doubt that the two are not one and the same, except at different times of the year.

Idina Menzel & Lea Michele

They are two brunette actresses with exceptional singing talent. Despite their age difference, they have such an air of each other. Without Frozen Idina might have just been mistaken for Lea if not for her elder sister for a while but there you go, we now know better.

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Doppelganger child from another mother and the parent that wasn’t

You know that girl that looks like she is Meryl Streep daughter and is not, who looks like the seasoned actress more than her own daughters do and even does the same job, you know? That is actress Jennifer Ehle, her daughter from a very different mother.

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They are not the only ones to be confused as parent and child. There are many people wondering if Mila kunis’ child playing in Goosebumps. The answer is no. Actress Odeya Rush is apparently not related to our beloved Kunis.

mila kunis  Odeya Rush

Still these cases cannot help but remind us of new generation borrowing the features of previous ones like a natural recycling process that refuses against creativity and visual uniqueness to waste features previously used. Or, maybe it is just her way of forcing us to look beyond appearances to find the truth.

I mean, look at Amber Valetta and Mini Anden or should I say Mini Amber?

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Their resemblance is pretty much the same as that of Ty Jones and popular singer-songwriter Ed sheeran. The fellow countrymen have even met and been photographed together.

Doppelganger across time…

Some of us must have travelled in time, or at least that is one of the theories. It makes you think though when you see music and screen artist , Queen Latifah, Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, and actor Leo Di Caprio in the eyes of Grade School Girl Judy Zipper.

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What is the doppelganger missing link? Alba Baptista and Elliot Page then Ellen Page

There are times when Alba Baptista, the main actor of Warrior Nun freakishly reminds me of Ellen Page, seriously. Younger sister, erased connection? Who knows but here it is. Considering they have the same job, cloning would be another theory. It’d be an effective way for sure to optimise time, income and experience. It’d be an even better way of exploring the multiple facets of who you are without being labelled a freak.

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Rose Wilder Lane and Maggie Gyllenhaal

she began her acting career in the 1910s, playing the role of an author, using the penname Rose Wilder Lane spent a lifetime writing alongside contemporaries like the great Ayn Rand before calling it a life just nine years before starting her own.

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Lane’s literary life has left its mark in a big way. Her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, authored the famous Little House on the Prairie. Not to be outdone, Lane’s works made a significant contribution to the foundation of libertarianism in the States.

Are some doppergangers recycled design? Mahir Cayan and Jimmy Fallon

Ever wondered how Jimmy Fallon used to look in the old days and with a moustache? Look no further than what appears to be an old black and white or sepia photo of the celebrity.

Mahir Cayan 2 jimmy fallonMahir Cayan2Jimmy Fallon

It turns out the black and white or sepia photo is not a younger Fallon. It is not even a comedian at all, but Mahir Çayan, a Turkish communist revolutionary leader. Where one is born a little time after their doppelganger’s death, it makes one wonder about the whole computation around the design of a new face. Is it a recycling process, you know, like phone numbers. When you no longer need yours and terminate it, do they went a while (and how long) before reallocating it?

Heather graham and bella hathorne

It must be the combination of blond hair, big blue eyes and pink lips that give those two so much family resemblance. One could easily play a younger version of the other one, and looking at Heather Graham today, I would say only by a few years.

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Slug: WK/Heather Graham
by Photographer: Mark Finkenstaedt FTWP.
© 2006 Mark Finkenstaedt.

More doppelganger theories

There are about as many more doppelgangers out there as there are theories about their existence.

Realistically, resemblance does strike at first sight and often induces confusion. But if you watch a full series with one and another with the other, you’ll know they are not the same person. In fact, you will soon disassociate them. It happened with me and my earlier confusion between Isla Fisher and Amy Adams, Katy Perry and Zoe Deschanel, Jessica Chastain and Christina Hendricks and Haley Bennett and Jennifer Lawrence. It is the eyes, or maybe it is…. It is their facial expressions, their interpretation of roles, their choices of movie and in life (partners for example) that give you an insight into who they really are, not their faces.

The truth is that the more you discover of a person, the less they look like another. Our tendency to see similarities between two people is not completely unfounded of course. However, there is a mixture of visual laziness due mainly to the absence of the survival requirement to differentiate (differentiating them is not vital to our survival) and the motivation that curiosity tends to lack when the subject has no interest in our daily lives.

As for the doppelgangers in time, there is no doubt that more than a few theories will try to explain them. The simplest one is probably lineage. Is Sly (Sylvester Stallone) somehow a descendant of this man on the left of the image behind Pope Gregory IX?


Is Travolta’s doppelgangers from yesteryear a sign of reincarnation? Is the uncanny resemblance between Nicholas Cage and this supposed Lt. Robert M. Smith of the Confederate Army a revelation of immortality?

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Are the increasing apparitions of Harry Potter’s actor Daniel Radcliffe a sign that time travel exists?

Just by looking at some of Angelina Jolie’s “doppelgangers”, what possibilities or fears do cosmetic surgery raise and make-up help? It definitely does the trick in marketing when people use then cheaper versions of someone we know to sell their products. How may of us thought that Margot Robbie starred in Sex Education? Well, no, it was Emma Mackey. And no, although their faces are exremely similar and even symmetrically so, they are not clones… I think 🙂

Emma Mackey in Sex Education
Whether in my lifetime or one of the next, we will find out, that is all that calms the spirit in perpetual quest for the answers to the many questions why.