With his toothy smile, oversized ears and cropped black hair, Indonesian Ilham Anas is cashing in as a lookalike of US president Barack Obama.
The photographer is already a celebrity in Obama’s former hometown of Jakarta but his fame looks set to reach new heights abroad after the first black US president’s inauguration.
“I will take all the opportunities that come my way, as long as they don’t violate ethical codes and my personal values,” Anas told AFP. A
Filipino drug company has cast Anas in a commercial showing him dressed as Obama visiting the Philippines, and he has also received marketing offers from Indonesian and South Korean companies.
The lanky 34-year-old from West Java made an appearance on Indonesia’s premier talk show “Bukan Empat Mata” (“Not Four Eyes”) on Tuesday to coincide with Obama’s inauguration in Washington.
Anas’ brother was the first person to notice the similarity, but it was his co-workers at a local teen magazine who first asked him to pose with a suit, tie and American flag.
Soon they were taking photos and sending them to their friends: the word was out.
“I’m actually a shy person, I don’t like being put in the spotlight,” Anas said, adding however that looking like Obama was good for his confidence.
“I see my resemblance to Obama as a blessing: I used to look at the mirror and I had a negative perception of myself.
” But he said he would not like to become an official body-double for Obama.
“I don’t want to get shot,” he explained.
The real Obama went to school in Jakarta in the late 1960s, when his schoolmates knew him as Barry.