“Your Face or Mine?” by Gary Strohmer - The Misadventures of a Professional Tom Cruise Lookalike
About the Book:
Ever wondered what it must be like to look like someone really famous? What if it were a Hollywood actor known the world over! Imagine the fun you could have, the tricks you could play and the problems it could cause all because of a twist of fate. These are the memoirs of an ordinary guy, Gary, with an extraordinary job who went from constantly being told he looked like Tom Cruise to ending up, almost by accident, becoming the top UK professional Tom Cruise lookalike for nearly 10 years. This is a very amusing but also frank inside view of the world of the lookalike. From the early days of "just having a laugh" with it and getting up to mischief with your mates to being taken on by the lookalike agencies, pretending to be Tom and earning a living out of it. Finding out about the cut-throat business side of things and the doors it opened, to seeing yourself on the T.V and billboards etc. to meeting many a famous person, as well as other weird and wonderful characters along the way. Onto the scary side of things, which involved being chased by the Paparazzi as well as being mobbed by crowds who have mistaken you for the real thing. Even ending up with your own "pet" stalker. So buckle up and take a ride on this funny and true-life adventure.
Excerpt from the Book:
“This event had been getting heavily promoted by the local radio station all week as well as in a couple of the local rags so they were expecting a good turnout. They had hired a shop front in the local shopping mall and I was allowed to use the shop’s changing rooms to get into character. It was getting on for 9am by now, show time, so I didn’t have long and I could hear the hustle and bustle of the crowd gathering outside. It was quite a big crowd as it turned out. The local press were there with their photographers as well as the radio station who had set up a P.A. system and, using one of the DJs doing a live broad cast, were working the crowd. As I was not displaying myself as a character from one of his films, more playing the part of Tom Cruise the actor himself, again I used the suit jacket and tee-shirt look that was popular with him back then. Suzanne popped her head around the changing room curtain seeing if I was ready and it was all systems go. I just had time to gel my hair when I heard the call “And now ladies and gentlemen please would you welcome…. Mr TOM CRUISE!”
I stepped out from behind the curtain to be met with a rousing cheer and a thunderous round of applause. Putting on my biggest Hollywood smile, I stepped out from the shop door and on to the platform where I shook hands with the DJ. We were live on the radio at this point and in front of this live audience, he started asking me questions such as what it was like to be a lookalike, how long I had been doing it for and did I have some advice for any of the budding wannabe lookalikes out there? Well, this was only my second ever job as a lookalike so I had virtually no experience at all to draw upon and as I hadn’t been prepped for this part of the gig, I was totally unprepared. What was I meant to say? The crowd fell silent in anticipation of my response. I stared blankly at him for what seemed like forever while the cogs were turning in my head. In reality, it was probably only a few seconds but long enough for him to want to start to repeat the question. Just in the nick of time, I cut him off at the pass. The busker in me kicked in and I launched into an animated regalia of how I had started many years ago and a few funny anecdotes of jobs past. God knows how, but I managed to make the DJ chuckle and pass a few laughs into the crowd and it all went down rather well. Little did I know back then that it wouldn’t be the last time I would have to bluff myself out of a sticky lookalike situation!”