Here’s a fun fact about me: In some really warped, alternate version of reality where the sky is purple and it rains skittles and hair-color-apparently-equals-resemblance, I’ve been told I look a little like Natalie Portman.
This compliment does wonders for my ego. Whenever someone says it, I blink back at them like a goldfish and thank them like I was just knighted by the Queen of England. I walk around the rest of the day with a tiny spring in my step, trying my best to carry myself the way I imagine Natalie does. Birds sing, and flowers bloom, and my life is all unicorns and rainbows for awhile.
Don’t get me wrong, though – I’m self-actualized enough to know this claim is completely bogus, and I understand that the people who make it are likely long overdue for a trip to the eye doctor. I look like Natalie Portman in the same way that a starfish looks like the sun.
But nonetheless, every so often I’ll get the head-cocked, pointer-finger recognition: “Do you know who you look like?”
I stare back at them with hopeful anticipation. “Please be Natalie, please please be Natalie.”
“THAT’S IT! Natalie Portman!”
Then, my heart swells up like a balloon and I float off into oblivion.
Once, a guy just barely believed I wasn’t Natalie herself. I was working at a hotel at the time, and he mentioned it as I was checking him in. We chuckled good-naturedly at the resemblance. Afterward, as I was handing him his room keys, I thought we’d moved on in the conversation… but he kept eyeing me suspiciously like he half-expected a cameraman to leap out and tell him he was on some celebrity prank show.
“You’re suuuuure you’re not Natalie Portman?” he asked, squinting at me sideways.
I stared at him. “Yup, you got me. I’m playing the part of a hotel manager in my next movie, so I’m here doing character research. Shh! Don’t blow my cover!” I laughed.
He didn’t let up, though. “I mean even that, that right there. That sounds exactly like something she’d say.” (He and Natalie are besties, apparently)
After a few more back-and-forths, I managed to convince him that I was not, in fact, an A-List celebrity taking a break from my red carpet life to hang out at the front desk of a random hotel. He reluctantly agreed that he must be mistaken, but still asked if I would do him the honor of taking a photo so he could trick his buddies back home into believing he’d met the great NP.
Bizarrely, this was actually the 2nd time in my life this had happened. The first took place four years earlier, with a movie theater employee in San Diego – who pulled out his camera phone to snap the picture before he tore my ticket.
I have no delusions about my resemblance to Natalie the Magnificent. I imagine this to be one of those cosmic, unsolvable mysteries – like the Bermuda Triangle, or the world’s infatuation with reality TV. There are some things science just can’t explain.
Historically, I’ve reveled in this comparison… but I’d like to request, here and now, that everybody just stop.
It’s way too much pressure.
First of all, Natalie is one of the most amazing people to ever grace the Planet Earth. She is a Harvard graduate, former Ambassador of Hope for FINCA, and a fanatical human rights activist. She became a vegetarian at age 8, after witnessing a laser demonstration on a chicken during a medial conference with her father. (Know what I was doing at age 8? Watching Spongebob Squarepants and eating cookie dough with my fingers.)
Oh, and by the way, she’s also a stunningly talented Academy-Award-winning actress, and the heartthrob of every teenage boy in the last 15 years.
Do you get what I’m saying here? I can’t handle it. I can’t compare. I just can’t do it.
It’s even worse when one person points it out to another person, in front of me. Because then the 2nd person takes a long, calculated look at my face. And I feel like I should do something as a physical response to this analysis, but I have no idea what that thing is. Smile? Shrug? Wave? Do something Natalie Portman-y?
Then the other person reluctantly shrugs and says, “Sure, I guess I kinda see it.”
Nope, no you don’t. And that’s okay. Tell me I look like Susie, and then I’ll have a lot less to live up to.