By Josh Saunders
A father-of-five has gone from Navy Veteran to professional Snoop Dogg lookalike, receiving 150 fan messages a day and bringing in up to two thousand dollars for a 15-minute booking
Eric Finch, 50, from Fontana, California, USA, had no idea who the rapper, real name Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., was when he was first compared to the star 13 years ago.
After being confused multiple times for Snoop and having retired from the US Navy after serving for 20-years as a load master, he pursued a career as a ‘D-O-GG’ doppelganger.
He claims that whenever he goes to outdoors or restaurants he is mobbed by fans who think he’s the real deal and chose to live away from LA to maintain a private life.
Often the stunned strangers cry with joy who approach him are desperate for him to take pictures with them or even their babies.
Eric, who started as a professional lookalike two years ago is booked for photoshoots, corporate events, parties where he raps and even TV shows, one where he was once paid $2,000 (1.4kGBP) for a 15 minute booking.
He says he cannot change his appearance and that as soon as he leaves the house the ‘cameras are rolling’ as people regularly come up to him believing it’s the ‘Drop it like it’s hot’ star.
Eric, a full-time parent and lookalike, said: “I never imagined my life would be like this, I get a chance to know what celebrity life is like.
“People are often crying, jumping, screaming, pushing others to get out the way and get in there, it’s just amazing to see.
“It’s natural for me now, if I see someone on the street screaming ‘Snoop’, I shout back ‘What’s Cracking baby’ and other things, then I’ll go back to acting like a fool with my wife and kids.
“I’ve had people ask, ‘Hey man, can you blaze on with me?’ a few times, I always tell them not right now and leave it.
“The cameras are always rolling, it’s like being on a television set, whatever I do I have to make sure it’s not distasteful and try to stay away from anything that could harm Snoop.
“Several weeks ago, I went out with my wife and kids for something to eat, four restaurants later and we still couldn’t sit down without being surrounded by people.
“It’s hard to eat in restaurants as people gather around me all the time and once when I was out filming on the Hollywood boulevard I was swarmed by over 600 people.
“They were screaming ‘It’s Snoop Dogg’ excitedly to one another, one person started crying, it was one of the greatest moments in my life because I was able to make so many people happy.
“It’s hard for me to go to amusement parks, I can’t visit Disney without being escorted around, as they say I cause ‘too much havoc.’
“I also remember going shopping to a Target store not too far away from where Snoop lives, thinking people must see him regularly so they wouldn’t jump at seeing me.
“Next thing, I had a lady in the parking lot crying for me to take a picture, holding her new-born baby who was only a couple of weeks old.
“I make people happy and put a smile on their faces, it’s hard to explain what it’s like to give someone that, it’s like being a magician of the art of illusion.”
After being initially compared to Snoop Dogg during a toga party, Eric embraced the look for the first time in Halloween in 2005 and would later go onto become a professional lookalike.
Despite initially not knowing the rapper due to ‘not hearing many recording artists’ while serving in the Navy, he was shocked by their facial similarities.
Eric said: “I would have to say everything about me looks like Snoop, from my bone structure to a scar we both have on our left cheek. I got that scar as a child.
“We have the same body size and frame, I even move like him, but my face is one of the most similar things, I can’t change that and don’t put on make-up, it’s a natural look for me.”
Last month, Eric’s image went viral after helping a stranger with car troubles on the California Highway, with the internet and even the press believing he was the real Snoop.
Eric said: “There was a story where ‘Snoop Dogg’ rescued a motorist on the side of the California highway, that was me.
“I took a picture with the person and just thought of it as an act of kindness next thing I knew everyone was seeing my picture online.
“Later I was contacted to verify it was me and not the real Snoop, but by that time it had gone viral, people literally cannot tell us apart.
“When I look in the mirror I see me, I don’t try to look like Snoop, my hair is similar to his which takes it to a new level.”
Eric’s work varies from once a month to once every couple of months with Mirror Images, peaking around Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July and other holidays.
He works everything from TV to corporate events and birthdays where we raps, interacts with the crowd and poses for pictures.
Eric said: “I’ve been booked for private and birthday parties, performances on stage, it’s crazy when you look and sound like him, I don’t see or hear it but everyone else sees it differently.
“After my performances, I dance in the crowds, that’s just me, I enjoy people, interacting and having a good time, if they are enjoying themselves so am I.
“Giving someone that moment when I pose for a picture can be so meaningful for them, I wish they could see it from my eyes, seeing some smile, making them so happy is a gift.
“For me, I couldn’t ask for a better job, being able to make a person happy for a living is the best thing I can do and for me I believe I was very lucky.”
Eric is represented by Mirror Images, which has been running for 23 years and has over 15,000 individuals on their books worldwide.
Dot Findlater, originally from Brixton, London, who founded the agency believes Eric’s looks to his mannerisms all mirror Snoop Dogg, bringing him such success.
Dot said: “First of all Eric looks a lot like Snoop dog, in our industry we are creating illusions so that is extremely important.
“Secondly they need to have a very strong personality of their own.
“They spend their time walking around looking like somebody else, it can be difficult for them but with Eric he has a strong personality in his own right.
“When Eric is out he is naturally very much like Snoop so it’s hard, even if he tells them he is a celebrity lookalike as most people wouldn’t believe him.
“His body language is quite similar, the stronger a person’s characteristics the more they look like a celebrity.
“Nobody wakes up, thinking I look like Angelina Jolie today, it takes a lot of research and the trick is for lookalikes to be able to switch and out because they have studied the role.”
To see more visit: www.mirrorimages.co