China’s Obama Impersonator Faces Uncertain Future Come January

Yicai

2016-12-13

(Yicai Global) Dec. 13 -- Xiao Jiguo, a Chinese security guard-turned-impersonator of US President Barack Obama, faces an uncertain future as the real Obama prepares to leave the White House in January.

Xiao earns about USD1,000 an appearance thanks to his resemblance to the real President Obama.

Xiao worries whether people will still ask him to perform with his “fake English” when Obama’s second term ends in January. 

Despite speaking broken English and being just 168 centimeters tall, the 30-year-old native of Sichuan province can pass as Obama in China thanks to his features, short gray hair and practiced gestures.

Xiao’s security guard colleagues in Guangdong told him he looked like Obama in 2008. Work picked up after the President Obama won a second term in 2012. In 2014, Xiao’s act won him public recognition after he appeared on television.

“Most of the time I watch videos of him on the internet,” Xiao said in an interview at his home in Beijing. “I don’t speak English, so I’ve invented some ‘fake English.’ It sounds like real English for people who don’t speak English.”

Xiao started earning USD1,000 or more for his appearances last year. “I’ve performed many, many times [across China] and made around CNY1 million (USD145,000) in total,” he says.

President Obama and his Chinese look-a-like. 

This plastic surgery ad from August last year reads “Impersonator: Xiao Jiguo” below what appears at first sight to be US President Barack Obama.