Friday, April 12, 2024

RiRi double living the life


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Meet Andele Lara, the 22-year-old student who is the mirror-image of risque superstar Rihanna.

Andele, from Boston, Massachusetts is such a dead-ringer for the Bajan beauty that she can’t step out the house without being mobbed by screaming Rihanna fans.

Strangers follow Andele on her way to work and send her fan mail whilst companies pay her thousands of pounds to endorse their products – making her life not too dissimilar to the Umbrella singer.

 Her success has prompted Andele to become a full-time Rihanna lookalike.

She explains: “The moment I step out anywhere, everyone starts staring and whispering before I get bombarded by strangers asking to take their photo with me.

“This happens every day – It doesn’t matter what I do. I can’t go 24  hours without hearing Rihanna’s name.

“I know I could happily give up my part-time job and studies to have a career as a Rihanna lookalike.”

As a child, Andele always felt like the ugly duckling. However she became more confident in her looks during her teens.

She said: “Growing up, I was a very shy girl. I was known as the skinny girl with the big forehead.

 “But as I got older, I went through many stages to find myself and experimented with different hairstyles and fashion trends.”

Striking similarity

Andele – who is single and dating – was 15 years old when friends at school first noticed her remarkable likeness to the world-famous diva.

She explains: “The comments started in my sophomore year. My friend had a magazine with Rihanna on the cover. He held it up to my face and was like, “You look like her!”

“I wasn’t really sure. She was glammed up in a magazine and here I was in my school uniform.

“Personally, I never realised I looked like Rihanna. I do see some resemblance but not as much as everyone else I think.”

But as Rihanna’s fame increased, Andele could not escape the comparisons to the star and her day-to-day life changed forever.

She explained: “When Umbrella came out, a lot more people began commenting that I looked like Rihanna.

“But after Ri-Ri released her album Loud in 2010, the attention I started to receive for looking like her was undeniable.”

Now, Andele’s incredible likeness to the singer means she is regularly swarmed by strangers believing her to be Rihanna.

 “Literally, people mistake me for her all the time! I only have to step out of the house for an hour before I hear someone say, “Oh my God, is that Rihanna?”

“At first, I thought it was funny to take a picture with someone who believed I was her and then make their day. But as Rihanna gets even more famous, the attention just intensifies.

“Some people follow me into stores or as I’m driving. Other times 15 people will swarm at me all at once to take a picture with me.

“I do think the attention I get is cool but there have been some scary occasions when some super-fans have followed me on my way to work everyday.

“And I must admit there have also been moments when I couldn’t face taking a photo with yet another Rihanna fan. But it really makes their day to think they met Ri-Ri. I’ve never denied anyone a picture.’

Andele said the attention is most extreme when she goes out clubbing.

Attention peaks

“When I go on a night out, that’s when the attention is at its highest. Even my friends get annoyed by the number of people that come up to me.

“Men come up to me all the time, thinking I’m Rihanna and buying me drinks! They chat me up and try to get my number.”

Last year, Andele was even mistaken for Rihanna when she happened to be partying at the same nightclub as the star’s bad boy ex Chris Brown.

She said: “I was at a club in Boston and Chris Brown was there. Because he was there, I guess everyone assumed I was Rihanna!

As a result of the similarities, Andele has landed over £13 000 worth of clothing contracts in the last year and over 18 000 followers on Instagram.

“I’ve scored hair contracts as well as sneaker, mascara, hair accessories and apparel deals. I also get into clubs for free and I get a lot of free drinks too!”

She said: “I know I could make a career of it. I’m pretty much a lookalike in my daily life now! But unfortunately I can’t sing though so I might have to take singing lessons!”


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