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Our GirlFocus, Denise Bella Vlasis, recently wrote us with her thoughts on "Girl Power!" We are so thankful to share those thoughts with you. Read below!

For far too long, women have been held down in a male dominated world. For Centuries the woman's extraordinary gifts of insight, intuition, and ability to birth have proven time and again WOMEN are the more powerful sex.

Most men have been threatened by this notion (and subconsciously know it is true), so I suppose this fear of truth is what has held each woman and her truest beauty down...

Role models like MADONNA have broken barriers and rules and years of brainwashing to CHALLENGE the roles of women in today's society (THANK GOD or GODDESS! however you want to look at it!) and re-invented ways for all of us females to find our place in this world.

We are truly blessed to live in a time where this is possible and it is TIME for the new generation of females to TAKE CHARGE of their hearts, purpose, soul choices to create the destiny of THEIR decisions and NOT that of past generations.

As for myself, I was never able to agree with the roles women were playing out in my life-family-society- the media etc. I am/was very much in agreement with Madonna in that I just didn't identify with the women of the time (super models? anorexia actresses? cold corporate stuffs? and God forbid the house wife watching soaps?) not a 1 in the bunch spoke for me..... I've always been a person to listen to my heart first-regardless of if it was "politically correct" (which most of the time it was NOT) and I believe my first comparisons to "Madonna" ( as in being an impersonator) was the idea that people saw the similar personality/strength/ability to challenge the "norm" and not settle for less. I truly believe it was our pioneering spirit to EMPOWER ourselves that was what made people think I looked like the super star. The ENERGY matched (as I explain in my 1st book).

The fact I had Madonna as my guru helped my life in endless ways, and I was able to see that being a woman was a lot of things, and not the limited ideals of what the world thought. How wonderful that we now have many more women (Oprah and so on) to show us women that all those 1950's stereo types are NOT true.

We can create and manifest a life of purpose and joy and to THINK and FEEL and make decisions without the need of validation from the world.

This is one of the biggest reasons Madonna is the star she is- she MAKES choices, and tries new things because SHE wants to- and if she falls she gets back up.

She has not bought into "what a woman is suppose to look like, act like" blah blah blah and THIS my dear sisters is a VERY important lesson I want to pass on to each & everyone of you. You ARE blessed- you live in a time where you CAN find that joy within yourselves- and I am here to remind you (as a woman) that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE- did you hear me? YES all things are possible- whatever dream you hold in your heart- bring it out- write it down- speak of it to your friends- take the 1st step towards that dream.

I absolutely believe in the impossible and I want you too- Every hope I have ever had, thought about has happened for me and I continue to dream and hope as I know I am a woman and I can create and I believe in my abilities to manifest. As I grow- I am able to pass on information and I encourage each of you to grow- grow beyond every limit you have.

Being a woman automatically gives you endless gifts -so use them-share them and as you experience success-pass success on to others...it is a cycle and will continue to come back to you- if you don't believe me...Look at Madonna's life- she totally understands this Universal truth- and now you can too!!

Blessed be
A sister and friend
Denise Bella Vlasis


Denise Bella Vlasis is President of Tribute Productions Talent Providers, a Burbank California based talent agency specializing in unique acts, like celebrity look alikes. Denise Bella Vlasis is herself a working look alike who bears an uncanny resemblance to the music industry's ultimate icon -- Madonna. She has worked in the entertainment industry since 1985 and has a well-established Madonna act called "A Tribute to Madonna". In this Teen Music special feature she shares some expert advice on how you can build a career out of having a famous-looking face.

Before you begin to consider the possibilities of working as a celebrity lookalike, remember: To have the greatest success, you should impersonate someone who is recognized as a “star” and considered famous in the eyes of Hollywood. Agents, future clients, directors, and party and event planners request certain celebrities more frequently than others, and for many events, the celebrity who is most famous or most recognizable may be the most requested character for bookings. The exception to this theory is a look-alike talent that is a dead-ringer. A dead-ringer look-alike is close to identical in their appearance to the celebrity they are impersonating, and may be hired or requested by agents solely for their strong resemblance and not necessarily for having a talent. On the opposite side of the spectrum, an exceptionally talented performer who may not look like someone “Hollywood famous” or even have a dead-on look to a celebrity, but has an entertaining and impressive impersonation of a celebrity may get hired and requested over and over for their great performing abilities. So you see, there are several kinds of possibilities and certainly avenues for all people, after they figure out which category best suits their looks and/or talents.

To begin your work as a look-alike, you must decide which category is going to best suit you.

What should be the core focus of your look alike career?

Are you a Dead Ringer?

Dead ringer means you are the spitting image of a celebrity. This means that people constantly mistake you for that celebrity. You need to be objective and really know if your looks are exact. Your height, weight, hair, eye color, body type, measurements, and style should be so close to the celebrity that people actually believe you are the star. If you are, in fact, a dead ringer for a celebrity, you will most likely get hired for your uncanny resemblance. This must mean that you are mistaken for the celebrity daily, and not just once, twice, or three times. Many great look-alikes fit into this category.

They may not have had any performing experience before becoming a celebrity look-alike, but their appearance was so similar to a famous person that, after hearing comments from strangers over and over, they decided to try out the world of look-alike work. Many agents are interested in hiring dead ringer look-alikes, because most people like to hire someone who can pass as the real star. However, looking exactly like a celebrity doesn’t mean that you won’t have to catch up on your performing abilities— you will still need some talent (or at least be willing to work on it) to be hired.

Are you a Character of a Star?                                        Chris America and a Cher lookalike!

Character of a star means that you have created a “character” that mimics a character portrayed by a celebrity in a film, a television show, or the media. If you do not resemble someone famous, there is no need to abandon the idea of being a celebrity impersonator. You can do what many other successful look-alikes have done—recreate a recognizable character. Bring to life a favorite character that a celebrity is well known for. This is an excellent way to make a place for yourself in the celebrity look-alike world.

Using the magic of hairstyles, makeup, and costumes, the performer who may be looking for another outlet for his or her creative talents can find work this way. If you think you can recreate the appearance of a fun and entertaining character, then your abilities as a performer can carry you through even if you don’t look exactly like the celebrity who portrayed that character. For example, you may not be the spitting image of Jim Carrey, but if you can do a terrific impersonation of his colorful character from the film Ace Ventura, then with the right hair and makeup you can be an “ace” celebrity lookalike!

Other examples include Austin Powers, Charlie Chaplin’s “Little Hobo, Elvira, and Indiana Jones. There are also stars who can be mimicked because of particular costumes, features, or mannerisms they are known for, such as Groucho Marx, Carmen Miranda, W. C. Fields, and Mae West. Another idea for you to consider is dressing as an animated character. Costume rental shops supply costumes of animated characters from film and television, children’s stories or animation. Be creative and have fun finding a star or character that you can identify with or impersonate well.

Are you a Sound Alike?

A performer who may not necessarily look exactly like a famous celebrity, but can sound just like a recognizable voice, can certainly find work using his or her voice. This means voice-over work for film, television, commercials, songs, radio spots, announcements, live tribute performances, stand-up comedy, and specialty work for voice talent.

What should be the core focus of your look alike career?

The actor, singer, musician, dancer, or model turned look-alike.

If you are already a professional performer and you are looking for extra work in between your other performing jobs, look-alike work is a perfect kind of job to allow you the freedom to do what you love to do, without having to interrupt your other performing work. Since each look-alike job is contracted individually, you can easily negotiate each job as it comes through. Since you are already a polished performer, stepping into the role of a look-alike should come quite naturally. Many great look-alikes are seasoned actors, singers, and dancers first, so when they begin to work as a look-alike performer, with the right costumes and makeup, an instant impersonator is born. After working as a look-alike, most actors and musicians find it to be the perfect job to supplement other work and provide extra income. Not all look-alikes can fit the bill of each kind of look-alike job available.

Decide for yourself (honestly) where you fit...

As you begin to consider the possibilities of working as a celebrity look-alike, you need to determine what your natural strengths are, and what kinds of jobs will come most naturally for you. Not all dead-ringer look-alikes have stage performing abilities. Just because you resemble a star does not mean you have the skills to be a strong stage performer. Are you better at utilizing your look to carry you over as a more convincing celebrity? If you are not comfortable being on stage, then you may want to perfect your people skills and become a great mix and mingle look-alike (the kind of look alike who interacts normally with people while in celebrity character).

Mix and mingle requires a talent, and not all stage performing look-alikes have the ability to carry on entertaining conversations with perfect strangers. Some look-alikes perform solely in "Legend" type shows or exclusively on big stages and never work on the corporate circuit as a mix and mingle talent. They may have to wear heavy make up to play the role of their star, and this is not going to carry over when a mix and mingle job requires you to be close and personal with people.

Most look-alikes know their strong points and stick to the kinds of jobs that best feature their natural abilities. It is very important to know how to be realistic with your look. If you are a “fan” of a celebrity, it is best not to become an impersonator. Fans tend to be unrealistic about their own look, the opinion(s) of the celebrity they hope to look like, and in most cases, they are not able to present themselves as professional entertainers.

Once you know who you look like or sound like, or when you have decided what character you can successfully impersonate, it’s time to learn all about your celebrity choice. This means you must study, study, study! Before you attempt to begin working as a look-alike, you must spend however much time it takes studying your celebrity for you to “become” that person. As a professional performer, your study should be a process that never ends.

Begin your research by finding movies, videos, documentaries, magazines, books, newspapers, posters—anything that can provide you with valuable information about your star. Look at the face, eyes, mouth, hair, and body. Listen to the voice, speech, accent, laugh, or cry. Search out every identifiable trait associated with that person. What makes you notice and recognize your star immediately when you see him or her? These features are the ones you will need to re-create so that people will immediately recognize you as that star. Find out what you both have in common. Is it a look in your eyes? Your smile? Your body type? The way you move? Whatever it is, you must learn how to exaggerate and emphasize that quality and make it your strength. Determine which quirks and characteristics are most successful in bringing your star to life, and then be rehearsed enough so that you can turn yourself into that person at a moment’s notice.

All celebrities have something about them that helps the public recognize them immediately. Find these trademark features and try them out in front of a mirror, or for a friend, in an acting class, at a costume party, or with other look-alikes. Keep practicing until you feel completely confident that you can recreate that celebrity without even having to think about it. You will know when you find those one or two trademark features, because of the immediate reaction from your audiences.

The little things that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Our eyes ARE the windows to our soul, so we must remember how very important our eyes are to our overall presentation as an impersonator. Pay attention to your eyes, and begin to study and learn how your celebrity communicates with his or her eyes. As an impersonator, the eyes are one of the most important qualities needed to match your celebrity. When the eyes are off, the whole presentation is off. An audience may not be able to put their finger on what is wrong with an impersonator’s look when it seems “off”—but chances are that it is THE EYES! Learn more about your celebrity by carefully observing his or her eyes. You can discover many elements of a person by looking into their eyes. We all hold a distinct energy in our eyes, and who we are will be prominent there. When learning about becoming a professional look-alike, an important detail to try and match is a similar type of energy and essence to your celebrity. When the energy/essence of one person is similar to another, it is this element that makes people feel like “those two people look the same.” Most look-alikes match the celebrity they look like in several ways, and the greatest success stories come from look-alikes who share a similar look to the eyes, along with the correct overall look, talent, and essence.

Begin to pay attention to what type of aura your celebrity conveys, and then try to analyze how you can re-create the very same feeling. The places to practice these expressions are in your eyes, and then in your stance, walk, voice, and overall presence. Practice in front of a mirror, finding the most accurate expressions with your eyes. Find several ways to hold your face, eyelids, eyelashes, looks, and expressions. Play with different looks, and try holding your eyes in several different expressions to match your celebrity. Learn what you need to do to your eyes to make them match your celebrity. If you do not have the same color eyes, you might want to consider using color contacts. If you need to re-shape your eyes, look into makeup application techniques to create new ways to reshape your eye area.

When you speak to people as your character, catch their attention with your eyes. Making eye contact with people and holding their attention with the impact of your eyes will make an impression that most people will not forget.

The 15 minutes of FAME look-alike...

Many people working in the celebrity impersonator field have over the years had varying amounts of success. There are several professional look-alikes who have experienced over a decade of bookings and still continue to work. Then there are others who have jumped head first into working as a celebrity look-alike simply because of an uncanny resemblance to someone who is temporarily in the public eye or in the headline news, such as Monica Lewinsky, Anna Nicole Smith, Ozzy and family or Ross Perot.

These faces that are known for having 15 minutes of fame have allowed for the look-alike to also cash in on that 15-minute ride by being a recognizable face to cash in on. There have been ongoing 15-minute look-alikes who were able to jump into the market at just the right moment to create non-stop work for themselves with some amazing results. Feature films, television shows, and news programs have all employed 15-minute look-alikes as well as corporate functions and personal appearances, so if you happen to look like the NEXT 15-minute celebrity, then read on and get ready for the ride of your life (well, at least a 15-minute ride!).


Want to buy her books? Order them here and learn about this fascinating career!
Denise Bella Vlasis provides all the information you need to break into the business of impersonation and seeing if you can make a living pretending you are someone else, maybe even the Diva! Click here to order!

304 pages; perfect bound; catalogue #02-1221; ISBN 1-55395-506-4; US$29.95 (Can$46.00)


Denise' second book goes further into the impersonating industry and gives you some great first-hand accounts of just what it takes to make it in the industry. Click here to order!