Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Me...? The Prime Minister of Canada...?

How many times have we seen someone and we’ve said, “I recognize the face, I just can’t place the name...” It has happened to all of us occasionally. Like fingerprints, no two faces are alike -- every face is slightly different. Almost from birth, babies are able to recognize faces, even subtle differences in faces. However, there is a small percentage of folks – about 2.5% -- who cannot recognize faces at all. This condition is called prosopagnosia and can be inherited, or can be caused by a brain injury. People with prosopagnosia often cannot recognize even their own face, but they often can identify people by touching their features.

Have you ever been told “You look just like such-and-such-a-person...?” Oh, goodness. I remember once my mother met one of my brother’s friends on the street, and had a long, chatty conversation with him. “How is your mother? How are you doing in school this year...?” The only problem was, it wasn’t my brother’s friend; it was a complete stranger, and he had no idea who my mother was. I was so embarrassed for my mother, but I didn’t have the heart to tell her, as she and I strolled merrily on our way.

Yesterday I went shopping after work, and it became an exercise in frustration because everywhere I went, no one had any of the items I needed. The Bay – my good old standby – has discontinued just about everything I like. So, by the end of my fruitless expedition, I was tired, my feet were sore, and I decided to take a taxi home. I strolled over to the Four Seasons Hotel taxi stand, and was immediately treated like a celebrity. Well, I know the folks there are polite, but this was ridiculous. They practically rolled the red carpet out for me. When the taxi rolled up, the doorman held the taxi door open for me and said, “Have a wonderful evening, Ms. Campbell...”

“Ms. Campbell...!?”

And then it dawned on me. They had mistaken me for Kim Campbell, who had once briefly been the Prime Minister of Canada. I don’t think I look anything like Kim Campbell, but I have been mistaken for her before, so I suppose there are enough facial recognition points in our faces for people – strangers – to think we look alike.

Has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever been mistaken for someone, or mistaken someone else?  Who do you look like?


KrippledWarrior said...

Thankfully no one shares my angelic countenance. But I see the resemblances between you & your lovely doppelganger.

Jo said...

Kurt, actually I think you look a bit like Kris Kristofferson. :-)

Rebecca Nelson said...


There are two peeps I've been told I look live over my half-century of living!

When I was a young girl it was Karen Valentine from Room 222 (or Bridget Grows Up) and then a few years ago it was Fran Drescher (The Nanny).

I got The Nanny thing all the time. I wish it wasn't my face they thought that looked like her...wish it had been my BODY! Her's ROCKS!

:) Fun Post!


Kathryn said...

I've never been mistaken for someone famous. But when i was about 16 i kept having strangers talk to me as if they knew me & i was very confused. Turns out there was a Kathy in town who was about 5 or 6 years older than i & we evidently looked a lot alike. I never met her tho.

I went thru a period of time about 5 years back where my memory was failing rapidly. I've always been very good with names, faces, & where i'd met the person, even years later. All of a sudden i couldn't remember at all. I would work on a client even three times & not recognize them or the details of the work i'd done the next time i saw them. It scared me very much.

Part of that is typical for people with Chronic Fatigue, i'm told. It has gotten much better, tho my memory still is not what it was. I credit the improvement to changing my diet & using supplements. I'm thankful i didn't get worse or i would have been full-blown Alzheimer's before i was 45.

The Bug said...

Oh you DO look very similar I think.

Way back in the dark ages I was told I looked like Valerie Bertinelli - but now that we're all grown up that's not true anymore.

I once had a guy from college take me to his home town to show me off to his friends - I supposedly looked just like his sister. The friends were offended that I didn't wave back to them until he told them I wasn't her. I never met her though - so this might not have been a compliment LOL.

Charles Gramlich said...

apparently I look very much like a local guy and am mistaken for him constantly. I suspect it's the hair and beard.

Single and Sane said...

That's too funny.

I went to high school with another Margaret who had the same last name. We don't look anything alike, and I'm quite a bit shorter, but our coloring was similar. People have mistaken me for her at class reunions and sometimes we're so far into the conversation before I realize they think that I'm the "other one" that it's always a little awkward at that point to let them know that I'm not who they think I am.

Teri said...

I can see the resemblance.

Husband has been told many times he looks like Christopher Reeve. It was rather funny when we were at Mackinaw Island (set location of "Somewhere In Time") - people would stare at him. He really freaked some people out when he played the theme song from the movie on one of the pianos in the Grand Hotel! LOL

Pauline said...

I can see the resemblance - suck up all the gravy while you can ;)

Once after an unfortunate haircut and a pair of rimless glasses I was mistaken for John Denver. If only!

Anonymous said...

No one ever confuses me with anyone famous but I was mistaken by some Algonquin Indians as a fellow native American. I had shoulder length hair at that time and felt quite flattered to be mistaken to be a "brother".

mrsnesbitt said...

Apparantly there is some poor soul walking around who is the image of me! If I ever come across her I will comisorate! lol!

Linda said...

My twin sister gets called my name a lot! Of course, she moved down to our neck of the woods 7 years ago, and I've been here 37 years. We are identical, but we have people ask if there is a triplet somewhere, because they've seen us all over the country. God must have loved our faces because He made a lot of them!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I don't think you look like her either, but there is a similar facial geometry. I would definitely play it up, though, if it gets you first in line at the taxi stand.

When I was in my early 20's, I spent a summer in Nice, where people thought I might be Brigitte Bardot. I was thrilled, of course, despite the fact that she was considerably older than I (and several inches taller) because it meant I didn't look like an American tourist.

In Madrid, I actually saw my "mythical double," the one everybody supposedly has. She was walking with her parents on the main Prado, and as we passed each other, we both stared and gasped. It was like looking in a mirror. No words were exchanged and we kept walking.

DJan said...

It happens to me every now and then, nobody famous unfortunately. I was walking around at the festivities at Ski to Sea here in Bellingham a few months ago, and a couple kept following me, and finally the man said, "Leslie?" He stared at me and I said, "no, I'm not Leslie." He said he had been following me and wondering why I was there, but it wasn't me. We chatted for a few minutes and I went on my way.

It was kind of nice to think of having a doppelganger somewhere, though.

Alicia said...

Wow, you do resemble her quite a bit. I get mistaken for my sister all the time. When we are together people always think we're twins. I don't look anything like her! I think it's the glasses though.

Jennifer said...

Mostly, people say I look like my mother!

Katy said...

My daughter looks like me, does that count? She has her father's beautiful eyes, but our faces are quite similar.

Jennifer D said...

You do look like her!Very much like her.

When I was a small child people thought I looked like little Tabitha from Bewitched, as a teen it was Sandra Dee. Then as a young adult it was Monica Lewinsky. Now I think I look just like my Mom!


I've been told I resemble Jane Fonda; others have said Sally Fields.

My great grandfather looks a lot like Henry Fonda did, so maybe that's where I get the resemblance.

My dad looked like Tyrone Power; I had an uncle who looked like Burt Lancaster; another uncle who looked like Hugh O'Brien and one who really looked like the twin of Gary Cooper.

My mom looks like Elizabeth Taylor (before she gained so much weight - Elizabeth, that is).

It's fun being told you resemble another person - famous or not.

Paula Slade said...

Oh that's great story - there is a resemblance Jo - you do bear a very similar visage to Campbell. :)

When I was younger I was often compared to Shirley McLaine or later Suzanne Pleshette, and I had a great time with both!

Marguerite said...

You do look a lot alike! I am always mistaken for an RN that works at a local hospital, here. People come up to me in the grocery store, and restaurants, and even on the street and call me, by her name! I have yet to meet her, but would like to.

Mac the Mom said...

You should have published this picture

Kind of shows her saucy side

Firefly the Travel Guy said...

What an awesome mistake this guy had made. Good thing he didn't mistake you for somebody on the other end of the ladder. Hahahaha.

janiao said...

Well, you really do look like the prime minister. But of course, there're some differences like your eyes and mouth are not really look like hers.
Interesting! =D


Russell said...

The next time the someone refers to you as Ms. Campbell just smile, look them in the eyes and say "thank you."

You will have made their day! They will go home and tell their family they met the former Prime Minister and it will be a big day for them!

Should we be calling you Lady Johanna? I am from the states and do not know the protocol for such things!!

In any event, you should feel good. It is quite a compliment!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I agree with Russell, just thank them and go on. There is an autographed photo of Gloria Estefan in our store (also one of the Marshall Tucker Band.....if you are famous and stay here, you must leave a momento.....) and one day a customer mistook the photo for a picture of me! I laughed and thanked them for such a compliment, but I see not the faintest likeness there!

Jo said...

Rebecca, yes, I can definitely see the Fran Drescher resemblance. You have the same pretty features.

Kathryn, I have always been able to remember faces, but sometimes names escape me too. I think it's quite common -- not to worry. :-)

Dana, you DO look like Valerie Bertinelli, and I can still see the resemblance...!

Charles, to me, everyone with long hair and a beard looks like someone from ZZ Top. :-)

Margaret, omygoodness, that must be too funny...! I once went to school with a girl who looked like me, and people thought we were twins.

Teri, your husband looks like Christopher Reeve? Omigoodness...! He was gorgeous!

Pauline, John Denver!!!??? No.......! *heh*

Calvin, you had long hair? Pictures! I want to see pictures!

Denise...! You are too funny. She's probably very cute. :-)

Linda, I think I have told you about 100 times that you have the cutest avatar in the bloggosphere. So that is why God made two of you...! *heh*

Susan, that would be surreal to pass someone on the street who looks just like you. I can't even imagine. But yes, you do look like BB very much!

Djan, are you sure he wasn't using a line to pick you up? Sounds like a pretty good one to me. :-)

Alicia, that must be fun to have a sister that you look alike. You could confuse people -- teachers. :-)

Jennifer, have you ever seen Bette Midler and her daughter? They are clones..! :-)

Katy, it sounds as if your daughter is very beautiful. :-)

Jennifer, you are too funny! Sandra Dee and Monica Lewinsky? Well, they are both very pretty. I wish I looked like my Mom, but I look like my Dad.

Diane, good grief...! You had a whole family tree of movie stars. Well, I have seen your picture, and you are gorgeous, so it's no wonder! :-)

Paula, yes I can very much (!!!) see the resemblance to Shirley MacLaine. She is one of my favorite actresses.

Marguerite, gosh, you should see if you can find her, and the two of you could meet. I would love that to happen to me. :-)

Mac, *heh* yes, I considered posting that picture, but then I would have to find one of myself that is similar. Eeek! :-)

Jonker, I realized after the taxi door was closed, or I might have corrected him. He'll probably go home and tell his family he met Kim Campbell. *heh*

Janelle, the odd thing is, we were both born in Port Alberni, and now we both live on the same street in Vancouver...!

Russell, I would be referred to as "The Right Honourable Johanna". *heh* Say that ten times fast. :-)

Kathy, my goodness, that is a compliment. But, I think you are actually prettier than she is. :-)

nomore said...

From now, I'll call you another a Prime Minister of Canada. Very resemble...Once I'v been my car...resembled a car.... resembled the VIP's a car...They made a military hand salutes at

Malinda said...

When I was in my 30's I looked like Mary Steenbergen. When I watched the movie "Goin South" even I could not mistake the resemblance. Even her attitude was me! Now we are both older. She is still rail thin and I am.....not!