Take another look. That viral TikToker is not Ariana Grande. She’s actually Paige Niemann, a 15-year-old home-schooled Californian who has such an uncanny resemblance to the pop star that the internet is officially “creeped out” — and even Ariana herself has taken notice.
The attention doesn’t faze Paige. She says strangers have been telling her she looks like Ariana for years now. Since she started mimicking the singer’s looks and mannerisms and uploading videos on TikTok, she has gained a million followers. And this week, the real Ariana Grande responded to her work, tweeting about Paige’s recent TikTok video where she mouths dialogue from Nickelodeon’s Victorious while dressed up as a 2019 version of Ariana, high pony and all.
For Paige, Ariana noticing her was a big shock, especially since she’s been Ari’s fan for years. In earlier TikToks, you can see Paige in a room surrounded by posters of the pop star.
“I was so shocked that she would notice me,” Paige tells Teen Vogue. “I was shaking. I was, like, really happy.” In her tweet, Ariana seemed surprised to hear the crossover between her character Cat and her actual onstage persona. “I don’t know if she thought it was bizarre to see them together,” Paige adds about Ari’s response.
To be fair, it’s all a little surreal. Paige’s hair color, hairstyle, makeup, eyebrow shape, and mannerisms are an exact copy of how Ariana presents herself as a performer. But Paige has been working on it for years. She started at 12 when she would post selfies and Musical.lys dressed up as Ariana, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that the resemblance really started to form. Fans can see the transformation perfectly on Paige’s TikTok. In 2017, she uploaded a black and white video of herself lip-syncing to a rap song and after a two-year hiatus, she uploaded again — a video dressed as Ariana lip-synching to her song “Successful.”
To perfect her look, Paige follows online makeup tutorials. From there, it takes about an hour to do her hair and makeup and film the TikTok. She says she doesn’t edit her photos on Instagram to look more like Ariana — that’s just how close the resemblance is. It helps that Paige is half Sicilian and half German, while Ariana herself is half Sicilian and half Abruzzese.
The attention has gained Paige a manager. Dyllan Murray says he found her and was impressed with her talent in makeup, so now together, they are working toward a career in singing and acting, he tells Teen Vogue. Paige says she’s been singing ever since she was little and she specifically likes ‘50s music.
“That would be cool to be successful at singing and acting and stuff,” Paige says, adding that she has been asked to do an Ariana impersonation at an event, but she isn’t sure yet.
Meanwhile, Paige isn’t the only Ariana doppelgänger out there on the internet.
Patricia Osorio, a 21-year-old from El Salvador, also has a striking resemblance to the singer. “I personally don’t think I look like her, it’s just people,” Patricia tells Teen Vogue. “They think I look like her. I think it’s just angles. And then there’s people who don’t really know how Ariana looks and they’re like, ‘Oh, she looks just like her,’ but nah, because I’ve seen Ariana and we look nothing alike.”
Patricia is also a fan of Ariana, and when people began telling her she resembled her, she decided to lean into it with TikTok videos of herself mostly posing like her, with some lip-synching ones. The resemblance got her a deal with a company called Insert Name Here Hair. She says they offer her fans a discount code, and Patricia uses their high ponies to achieve the Ari look.
“I’m inspired by Ariana, but I’m not trying to look like her because there’s no way I’m ever going to look like her,” Patricia says. “I think it’s fun to re-create her looks.”
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue