I AM NOT HIM

Miguel Candela

Impersonating past and present world leaders can serve many kinds of purposes: from the most pragmatical making money to the utopian effort in reviving old-fashioned philosophies. These four men step into the shoes of leaders for very different reasons. In Taiyuan, central China, Ren Zhenlong becomes Mao Tsetung both to revive the figure of the Helmsman, almost forgotten nowadays, and to build a career as an actor in the popular historical TV series depicting China’s civil war or the struggle against the Japanese invaders. While, 3.700 kilometers west, in Delhi, a retired journalist has become Gandhi in all the ways possible for more than 15 years. Chaturvedi lives an ascetic life, promotes non-violence and meditation, and dresses like the leader who brought independence to India to raise awareness about the loss of spiritual life in the country. In Beijing, a very special Barack Obama walks around Tiananmen Square without muttering one single English word. The Chinese Obama, real name Xiao Jiguo, is just a man who found himself looking like the US president and training some of his poses to earn a living at wedding banquets and promotional activities. With what he managed to save he is now paying for China’s most reputable actor’s academy, because he knows his fame will fade with the coming elections in the US. Howard is an irreverent Australian-Chinese musician based in Hong Kong that shapes himself as Kim Jong-un to earn money making fun of the North Korean dictator in TV spots and to joke about authoritarianism. But he also has a political agenda, he took part in the Umbrella Movement and other anti-China demonstrations. For security reasons, he prefers not to reveal his last name. On the other hand, his newly appointed counterpart Donald Trump’s impersonator is a 66-year-old music teacher from Chicago. Dennis Alan wears a heavy orange foundation, a blonde tailor-made wig to make his scarce hair more abundant and studying some of this unlikely politician’s gestures made the trick. With Trump’s arrival in the White House, Alan hopes he can make a living out of the billionaire.

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