July 24, 2013 at 10:25 AM ET
Millions anxiously followed the Duchess of Cambridge’s transformation into a new mother, from her expanding waistline to the birth of her son on Monday. But one British woman’s career has depended on getting every detail right.
Professional look-alike Heidi Agan, 32, makes her living by dressing up as Duchess Kate. She copies her makeup, hairstyle, clothing and over the last few months, has even grown her belly in step with the beloved royal.
“This is strange new territory for me,” Agan told TODAY.com. “I stole my daughter’s doll for some recent photo shoots and now that the little prince [is here] I am sure there will be plenty of real look-alike babies for us to use professionally.”
Agan is also in the market for a new stroller, and is waiting until Duchess Kate appears in public with hers to buy the expensive new prop.
“Rumour has it that she bought a Bugaboo, but in photo shoots we’ve been using a Silver Cross buggy. Like with Kate’s clothing, we will just have to wait and see what she’s actually purchased,” said Agan, who works frequently with Prince William look-alike colleagues.
Agan got her start as a Kate look-alike in Feb. 2012. She was working as a waitress at a hamburger restaurant in Corby, Northamptonshire and customers would constantly tell her how much she resembled Kate – so much so that some even started bringing in family and friends to take a look at her.
Figuring she had nothing to lose, she sent out photographs to an agent who specializes in look-alikes and four days later, booked her first job.
Wanting to appear as realistic as possible, Agan decided to mirror the royal's pregnancy and maternity style. As soon as the royal announced she was expecting in Dec., Agan went to her seamstress and together they developed four prosthetic bumps made out of foam that she could wear under her clothing.
“I thought if I wanted to be the best and come off as authentic, I needed to look the part,” said Agan. “Even when Kate was at the end of her pregnancy she wasn’t huge, so a lot of the pre-made bumps I could have bought would have been too big. I even had to get one of the larger bumps that I had made taken down a bit to keep it as realistic as possible. Even during her pregnancy, I do a lot of working out to stay as slim as her.”
Agan has worked hard to duplicate Kate’s mannerisms and to capture the exact look of the duchess. She also spent days searching for a polka-dot maternity dress by Topshop that Kate wore on a visit to Warner Bros. studios in April. The dress sold out on the retailer's website and in stores almost immediately, and she went to store after store to get one for herself.
Agan, who has gone through two real pregnancies of her own, had to make sure that the prosthetic bumps were packable, as many of her jobs are in London, about an hour away by train from her home. As Kate, she can earn close to $1,000 a day at her agency Susan Scott Lookalikes, and spends a lot of her time doing meet-and-greets at corporate functions, as well as photo shoots for newspapers and magazines to simulate what the real royals might be doing.
“The great thing about this job is that every day I’m doing something different,” said Agan. “Now that she’s becoming a mom, I am interested to see how her fashion will evolve, and how having a baby will change her and William. I definitely feel that I have been blessed with this job.”