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The Daily Dish

10 Real-Life Imposters Who (Briefly) Fooled the World

Even the best fake gets spotted eventually.

By Tamara Palmer
Behind-the-Scenes: Secrets from Imposters

Bravo's scripted series Imposters keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with equal parts drama, comedy, and tension as they wait to find out: How long will it take for the persona-shifting Maddie (Inbar Lavi) to be found (and found out) by everyone? Well, if these pop culture masters of the bait-and-switch are any indication, probably not too long.

1. Fashion Week Crasher

Gavin Barnes was only 13-years-old when "The Thong Song" came out, but his age didn't dissuade anyone at New York Fashion Week from thinking he was the '90s R&B star Sisqo. Word is he attended several shows and even tried to board a private jet before his blonde cover was blown. And now the real Sisqo is threatening to sue.

2. The Fake Exodus

In 2010, Joaquin Phoenix starred in I'm Still Here, a movie purported to be a documentary that announced he was going to retire from the acting world to rap under Puffy's tutelage. After its release, people figured out that it was too absurd to be real and was actually a fake mockumentary. Filmmaker/Oscar-winning actor Casey Affleck later revealed that the project destroyed him financially.

3. High-Society Sneak

David Hampton's life was immortalized on the silver screen a decade before his death in 2003. Will Smith played David, who successfully pretended to be Sidney Poitier's son in New York City society circles, in 1993's Six Degrees of Separation.

4. Paris Hilton 2.0

Paris Hilton had an imposter who tried to steal her shine during her peak paparazzi era, and it pretty much worked. Natalie Reid was trying to get in clubs as Paris in 2006, shot a Playboy spread and eventually landed a role playing her in 2013's Not Another Celebrity Movie.

5. Rock Star Imposter

Even though he was homeless and lived under the Santa Monica Pier at the time, Chris Dickinson was able to fool people into thinking he was Peter Criss, the drummer of rock supergroup Kiss. Peter was livid when he found out, and confronted Chris face-to-face on the popular '80s talk show Donahue.

6. An Imposter Abroad

Jim Carrey's imposter was so convincing abroad that he got invited to the Czech equivalent of the Oscars. What's really funny is that all the two seem to have in common is brown hair and fair skin.

7. Red Carpet Double Take

A man who looked a lot like Bradley Cooper cheesed with Bradley's swindled fans at Sundance last year. All it took was a beanie and some good stubble. His name is still under wraps, so that's probably a success story in the con world. 

8. Conspiracy Theory

Last year, popular Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane came out of jail some 75 pounds lighter and speaking with much more refined diction than anyone had ever heard come out of his mouth. He had to eventually debunk a conspiracy theory that he had somehow been replaced by a clone. Some fans still aren't so sure...

9. Lounge-Singing Alter Ego

Taxi star Andy Kaufman created a Vegas lounge singer persona named Tony Clifton who has continued to tour and make live appearances even after Andy's 1984 passing. When Andy was alive, no one was really sure if the persona was him or not, since he often had friends play him from time to time.

10. Grammy Fakers

R&B pop act Milli Vanilli almost perfected the art of faking it before their downfall. The good looking duo earned a Best New Artist Grammy in 1990 before the world found out that they didn't actually sing any of the songs on the album and the Grammy got yanked back. Higher heights of fakery have yet to be achieved — or have they?

Imposters: Pros and Cons is Bravo’s home for everything you need to become a pro at conning. Imposters Season 2 premieres Thursday, April 5 at 10/9c. See you in the game.

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