Decline By Association: When Your Doppelganger Hits the D List


“Do you ever hear that you look like…?” These are words I heard nearly every day for ten years. Each time I heard it, I’d stop my interrogator mid-sentence and say, “Yep, I get that a lot.” Had I let them finish the question, they’d have said “Alanis Morissette” or “that angry ironic-chick” or “the girl who sings about making out in a movie theater with Uncle Joey from Full House.” 

At first, I was offended by the comparison. Not that I didn’t find her beautiful in an intense, “I-need-to-go-to-India-and-chill-out” kind of way. I just felt as if my own identity was shrinking due to the convergence of our similar appearances and Hollywood’s need to put everyone in a box labeled “famous.” But soon things got weird. I remember being at the Sky Bar on Sunset when a self-described “successful” screenwriter bought me a martini and asked, “Are you the girl who sang about Santa Monica Boulevard?” “No,” I replied, surprising my self as I said it, “That is Sheryl Crow, I’m Alanis Morissette.” 

As Morissette’s success grew, I felt an odd, embarrassingly misplaced sense of pride. When she’d win a Grammy, I felt like I’d won a Grammy. When she’d date Ryan Reynolds, I felt suddenly like the luckiest girl in the world to be in a relationship with such a funny, cute actor. Having embraced my superficial connection to the singer, a one-way, emotional bond set in.

Then our relationship took another turn. While she remained successful and maintained respect in the music industry, Morissette began to fall off the charts. She took long breaks from the business and her star-status faded. As a result, so did mine. I was no longer ushered to the front of the line at hip Hollywood clubs. Waiters stopped asking for my autograph (which, for the record, I had always signed in shoddy penmanship with my own name.) Who was I if not the look-alike for a multi-award winning, platinum recording artist? I felt deflated, let down.

I knew it was officially over when I was enjoying a margarita at El Compadre one Sunday afternoon. The bartender asked, “Are you Alanis?” I said slyly, “Maybe.” “Yeah, well, they’re towing your Neon,” he snorted. Morissette’s coattails had officially been cut off. I’d have to find another star on which to hitch my wagon. Or, God-forbid, I had to actually just be myself again. 

So, for you doppelgangers out there, here’s hoping your celebrity look-alike has a long, illustrious career. Take it from me, it’s not as fun to be a has-been, even if it is just in appearance. Then again, patience remains a viture; My look-alike is performing at Club Nokia tonight.

Pictured: Morissette, left. The author, right.


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  • steve

    I have known Alanis for a long time and its funny who thinks they look like her. You might want to consider being completely satisfied with your own beauty (yes its true, without need for comparison), and know that you look nothing like the real Alanis. In photos as far as I can tell. You may have to actually meet her and do a side by side photo test and send it to all of your friends. What do you think everyone? Do I ? Do I ? Karaoke might be the net best step and play out this fantasy. Might be good fodder for your next book. Thanks for the article. Steve

  • John

    Hilarious and insightful! More articles from Ms. Knobler and I’ll be a daily LA Mag reader.