By Josh Saunders
A field scientist who is constantly confused for Ed Sheeran says he’s been forced to don ‘paparazzi cover’ in shades and a hat as the public can’t tell them apart.
Redhead Rusty Goss, 26, from Twin Falls, Idaho, didn’t even know who the British-singer songwriter was prior to a group of people believing he was the real deal two-years-ago.
After regularly being stopped to pose for pictures, he recognised that as well as sharing the same hair colour they have a similar build, jaw structure and are only five months apart in age.
Now Rusty’s a professional lookalike for Mirror Images, working everything from meet and greets to corporate events, photoshoots, store openings, Comic Con and more.
He now lives a double life, where he works as a field scientist by day and a ‘celeb by night’ where he earns up to $2,000 (1.4kGBP) a session.
Whenever Rusty’s out in public, he’s swarmed with giggling and whispering admirers, who believe he’s the real deal and has also been inappropriately propositioned because of the likeness.
He admits the ‘fame’ comes at a cost, often requiring him to wear sunglasses and a hat, to keep a low-profile like he is trying to hide from the ‘paparazzi’.
Rusty, water treatment plant operator, said: “When I went to look him up online it was weird, it was like my picture was all over the internet.
“It was like discovering there was a clone of me who is super famous.
“The first thing I thought was, ‘I hope he doesn’t have any warrants against his name’ because that could get me into trouble, but it was strange seeing ‘me’ living a different life.
“Being a lookalike is quite a big step away from what I do, I work performing lab tests and working with machinery, so it’s like being a field scientist by day and celebrity by night.
“It doesn’t matter where I am or if I’m dressed like Ed or not, people will comment that I look like him, I can’t leave the house without getting stopped or shouted at, even in my small town.
“I was out at a restaurant with my wife a few weeks ago, just wearing a boring hoodie and the entire bar was looking, pointing and taking pictures of me.
“There are a wide range of requests, for the most part they are funny, there are a lot of people who ask me to pose with their babies.
“There have been weird requests too, like for me to have a picture without my shirt on, I get a whole range of requests, from the absurd and strange to simpler things.
“You get a lot of requests, there are inappropriate requests that I always decline, I have to be mindful for me and Ed Sheeran.
“Because of my likeness to Ed, there are times that I have to go incognito with sunglasses and a hat, it’s like I’m being followed by paparazzi, it goes from funny to tense and awkward.”
Rusty considers himself lucky to share such a similar resemblance to Ed Sheeran after researching the gentle-spirited star online.
He added: “There are a lot of redheaded men who get told they look like Ed Sheeran because of their hair and beard colour.
“But I think Ed and I have a bit of a round face and our jaw structures match, I have blue eyes just like he does, I’m a little taller but we also have the same body type.
“He doesn’t have great vision, which is the same as me and we are both artists too.
“After I read more about him, I realised he is such a nice guy, very talented and humble, what are the chances I have the nicest guy to be a lookalike for.”
Rusty has been a professional lookalike with Mirror Images for two-years-now, which requires him to keep his hair longer and trim his beard to have a similar style to Ed Sheeran.
He is currently learning guitar to enhance his talents but believes one of the hardest things has been mastering the British accent.
Rusty said: “I tried working on the accent but it’s like learning a new language, going from my accent of 26-years to a British one is not as easy as people think.
“I do play guitar but am new at it and can only play a few songs, I practice singing in the car but it’s a working progress.”
To enhance his similarities Rusty also designed realistic temporary tattoos, which he says convince people even more that he’s Ed Sheeran.
He added: “I had to go through around 40 pictures of his tattoos from all angles and as a digital artist I was able to map them out onto a 2D sheet and print them out.”
Work fluctuates for Rusty, on average with him securing a gig every other month, ranging from photoshoots to corporate and promotional events.
Despite being paid for his time the doppelganger maintains, the joy he is able to bring to people is one of his biggest motivating factors.
Rusty said: “I’ve done weddings, photoshoots, promotional stuff for companies, store openings, meet and greets, I also did Comic-Con.
“Once, while walking up the Hollywood strip, it was crazy because there were up to 150 people trying taking picture with me, it was awesome.
“Normally I don’t seek or need attention so it took a while to get used to, but now when I walk into a room everyone will gasp and smile.
“It’s exciting and just great knowing that I can make people happy for no reason at all.”
Rusty works with agency Mirror Images, founded by Dot Findlater, originally from Brixton, London.
They have over 1,500 individuals listed on their books ranging from Snoop Dogg to Austin Powers and more.
Dot said: “The celebrity who Rusty portrays is such a lovely character. He is loved by just about everybody.
“His music ranges from him on stage playing guitar to performing with Andrea Bocelli.
“Rusty did a lot of research into his character, which takes a lot of effort, from developing temporary tattoos to learning to play guitar.
“Instead of pretending and miming along to music, he’s actually learning the songs, the guitar is not an easy instrument at all.
“Rusty has taken on playing the guitar, he dabbled in it before but now he is really concentrating to get it right when we put him out as a performer.
“He was first told about his similarity by a couple of co-workers but when he started to embrace it, fixing his hair the same as the celebrity, dressing a bit more like him, they all saw it.
“People think you can jump out of bed and magically look like them, but really it’s all in the small details, from the top of your head to the tip of your toe. That is what creates the illusion.
“Celebrities don’t go out in public with nails bitten or nail polish half-off, they walk out looking like a million dollars, even when going to the gym.
“When in public they are the pinnacle of perfection and that’s the illusion we have to create for the enjoyment of our clients. “
For more information visit: www.mirrorimages.co.