*Things between the United States and China may not be as harmonious as it could be, but that hasn’t stopped a Chinese man from promoting international goodwill as a popular impersonator of President Barack Obama.
According to The Wall Street Journal, demand for Obama is high at charity events and birthday parties all across China and Xiao Jiguo has no problem honoring those requests, considering he bears a healthy resemblance to America’s commander-in-chief.
“Everyone wants a picture,” the 29-year-old shared in a recent interview with the Journal, while adding that he also belts out a few Chinese songs for the crowd here and there.
Masquerading as Obama a few times a month with traveling around China, Jiguo’s time is spent attending fundraisers and christening new Chinese businesses while supporting local communities and cheering on job creation.
Jiguo’s popularity as Obama comes in the wake of Chinese President Xi Jinping trip to the U.S. to meet with Obama last week. Interestingly, right now the U.S. and China are not sharing favorable views of one another. Recent disputes regarding cybersecurity and islands in the South China Sea, among other things, have contributed to opinions shared in a recent Pew Research Center poll, which highlights that only 38% of Americans view China favorably, while 44% of Chinese have a positive view of the U.S.
Nevertheless, Jiguo has become the exception, the Journal reports, adding that he gets selfie requests on the regular.
“It’s very rare for a Chinese person to look like a Westerner,” he said while attributing his well-received, well-known status as an Obama impersonator to pure oddity.
Jiguo’s journey to impersonating the 44th president resulted after a co-worker at the factory he worked at noticed how much he looked like Obama. After taking a hard look at himself in the mirror, Jiguo saw that his co-worker was right.
Another interesting note is that despite the demand for an Obama impersonator, Xiao tells the WSJ that he’s never met anyone pretending to be Jinping. Instead, impersonators he’s mingled with have gone with assuming the identities of Communist Party of China chairman Mao Zedong, Michael Jackson and Taiwanese pop stars.
As for Obama, Jiguo confessed that he doesn’t extend his impersonation to Q&A’s from audiences and that although he doesn’t speak English he makes up speeches that sound like English.
To see more on China’s Obama impersonator, Xiao Jiguo’s, check out the video below: