By Josh Saunders
A comedian with a near identical life and looks to ELLEN DEGENERES blasts passers-by who refuse to believe she is not the TV star.
Dawn Lutrell, 48, from Corvallis, Oregon, USA, says that even when covering-up, people believe she the American comedy superstar and often won’t take no for an answer.
Comparisons started in 1986, shortly after graduating from high school, while Ellen worked a stand-up act.
Since getting her talk-variety programme, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dawn says she has been constantly confused for her.
She claims strangers confront her every day, due to her comparable facial features, mannerisms and persona – often with them being lost for words, shaking in shock, asking for selfies and more.
Dawn believes their likeness runs deeper with them both being comedians, gay and determined to make the world a better place with kindness.
Due to her resemblance, she’s regularly asked for hugs in Starbucks, has received a discount at Burger King, shops have closed their doors to the public for her and more.
She decided to embrace her similarity two-years-ago to work as a lookalike for Mirror Images, after a meme and paparazzi style photographs surfaced of her online.
Dawn said: “I literally look like probably the second most famous person in the entire world, because of her high visibility it just fuels everything.
“I made a video saying, look I know you think I look like her but I am not, which went viral.
“The more I say I don’t look like her, the more I look like her to other people, the whole thing completely backfires.
“I once had a girl at a Burger King drive-thru flip-out when she saw me, she was shaking so much then a bunch of people came to the window – I told her I wasn’t Ellen, but she didn’t believe me.
“Me and a Justin Timberlake lookalike went out and they shut a store down because they thought it was Ellen and Justin, the power of this is beyond me.
“There’s nothing I can do about this, even people at Starbucks ask to hug me because I look like her.
“It’s like we live a parallel existence, even our sense of humour is so similar, I have to say it freaks me out.
“We are both gay women, stand-up comedians, both fighting the same battle as far as being kind and good, our physical looks are one thing but it goes so much deeper.
“It makes people happy, I can’t knock that, it is what it is. It’s a problem of luxury, it’s not like I look similar to Charles Manson, that would be unfortunate.
“What Ellen has done for the gay community alone will be in the history books and from that perspective, I won’t complain. She is an amazing, loved person and I guess I’m lucky.”
Dawn recognised the true power of her likeness after attending an event at Oregon State University, where Ellen was set to appear.
She was mobbed with people after selfies, had paparazzi style shots of her getting into her car and people refusing to believe she wasn’t the TV star.
To combat the confusion, she released a video, that would later go viral, speaking out about the fact that she isn’t Ellen DeGeneres.
Dawn said: “I was on the university grounds for five minutes and noticed people gather, stare and point, then the whole thing took off, people were coming up to me and saying, ‘Oh my god, you’re her.’
“I tried to tell them I wasn’t and that my name was Dawn, but they wouldn’t believe me thinking that it was an ‘Ellen thing’ to do by showing up to an event and trying to act like a normal person.
“I was like this is crazy and just went with it and took selfies with people.
“I was taking a bunch, having fun like everyone else, never once saying ‘Yes, I’m her’, but in fact actually telling them I wasn’t her.
“People were taking it in turns like a paparazzi shot situation, there was also one of me getting into a car, when they thought I was her.”
At this point Dawn recognised she must look more like the star than she believed.
She added: “I didn’t see the similarity, but these people thought I was her even though I was adamant that I wasn’t.
“I realised this thing may be bigger than me, I blew it off, then several months later a meme came out where some students thought I was her.
“Ellen is an incredible person, I’m pretty lucky, but it just got to be so ridiculous that I can’t ignore it no matter how hard I try.”
Dawn avoids watching any broadcasts featuring Ellen for fear that she will be influenced or altered by watching the host onscreen.
She said: “At first I struggled with it, but it genuinely makes people happy and they are truly excited when they see me in line or whatever, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“I literally am approached every day, I have to think how Ellen would react. She wouldn’t say ‘No, you can’t hug me’ she would say ‘Absolutely.’
“I always should have pursued comedy earlier, if I did I wonder if our lives would be different? I’m not egotistical but it could have altered the past, you don’t know.”
Dawn, whose picture was shown on the Ellen DeGeneres show, maintains she is very respectful of the performer.
Instead of ‘capitalising’ on the comedian’s comedic material, she writes her own scripts.
She said: “If Ellen by chance was to see a five-minute clip of my stand-up, I would at least want her to go ‘Wow, at least this girl wrote her own jokes.’
“If I wanted to, I could impersonate her and use her stand-up scripts, but I’ve tried to maintain autonomy.
“I would like to meet Ellen in private for coffee, rather than face to face then on her show,
“I don’t think I’d feel like I’m meeting a celebrity, it would be like meeting a better version of me, which could be interesting, we could have a good laugh about our lives.”
Dawn has been working with Mirror Images since 2016, they have over 1,500 individuals on their books ranging from lookalikes to tribute acts, impersonators and more.
Dot Findlater, originally from Brixton, London, founder of the agency said: “It was very interesting, she made a video in her car with her dog on YouTube and got a hell of a response.
“When I looked at the video I couldn’t believe it, not only did she look like Ellen but sounded like her and her comedic timing was incredible.
“She can’t get away from looking like Ellen and sharing her mannerisms.
“It’s very hard for an individual performer when they look so strongly like a celebrity that you see everywhere.
“Mention Ellen anywhere in the world and everyone knows who she is.
“But Dawn is coming into her own and I’m extremely proud of being a part of her life in the entertainment factor.
“She went from zero to 99 in less than a year and a half, with professionalism, panache and respect. She will be a smash hit.”
The company has been running for 23 years and features acts ranging from Snoop Dogg to Ed Sheeran, Justin Timberlake and more.
Dot commented on Dawn’s appearance on TV, she said: “Mirror images have been fortunate to work with The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Out the blue a couple weeks ago Ellen did a bit on our lookalike Dawn.
“She makes fun of them and she pulled up Dawn – she was mortified – it was from her first video, now she is much more relaxed with the camera.”