Hillary Clinton Impersonator With Ties to Bay Area Cashing in on Politics - NBC Bay Area
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

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Hillary Clinton Impersonator With Ties to Bay Area Cashing in on Politics

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    Hillary Clinton Impersonator With Ties to Bay Area Cashing in on Politics

    Teresa Barnwell, who used to live in Livermore, is Hillary Clinton's doppelganger. And she's never been busier. (Published Friday, Sept. 16, 2016)

    Just like her admittedly more famous doppelganger, Teresa Barnwell returned to the campaign trail Thursday. 

    But the Hillary Clinton lookalike didn't address foreign policy, immigration reform, education or healthcare. Instead, she performed comedy skits as her favorite politician — something she's done all around the world. 

    "I'm pooped and tired, just like Hillary," Barnwell said. 

    The 61-year-old took a few days off after a demanding performance schedule. Although her exhaustion is not tied to pneumonia like Clinton's was, Barnwell played a role in conspiracy theories this week.

    On Sunday, after video surfaced of Clinton being helped into a van at the 9/11 memorial in New York City, some asked if Barnwell had been immediately hired by the campaign to be the Democratic presidential candidate's body double.

    Barnwell briefly fueled the speculation on Twitter. When asked if she was in the Big Apple, she replied, "Maybe I was."

    However, Barnwell quickly clarified that it was a joke. She’s been resting in Los Angeles since last weekend.

    Having fun with Clinton’s persona is something Barnwell has been doing since 1993, just before she and her husband moved to the Bay Area where she worked as an advertising executive for the Contra Costa Times. The couple lived in Livermore and then moved to Tracy, and now reside in Southern California.

    Her idea to professionally impersonate Clinton started after friends exclaimed, "Hey! You look like the First Lady!"

    The two met in Los Angeles in 1996 during a book signing event for Clinton's “It Takes A Village.” 

    "Has anyone told you that you look like me?" Barnwell asked Clinton.

    Clinton chuckled.

    Then a woman behind Barnwell told Clinton, “I think that’s your evil twin.”

    Clinton laughed again, Barnwell recalled.

    Teresa Barnwell and Hillary Clinton at their first meeting at a Los Angeles book signing in 1996.
    Photo credit: Getty Images, Sonia Keshishian

    Barnwell doesn't only resemble Clinton, though. She genuinely admires the former Secretary of State.

    “I’m with her this November, I was with her in 2008, and been with her since she entered the White House as First Lady,” Barnwell said.

    The one-sided love affair has turned into ongoing paychecks for Barnwell. With gigs paying hundreds of dollars an hour, she’s impersonated Clinton in numerous movies and television shows, including NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”

    Now Barnwell can’t go anywhere without being stopped out and asked, “Are you Hillary Clinton?”

    Lately, Barnwell has taken to explaining Clintons' gaffes.

    Clinton came under fire last week for saying that "half of Trump's supporters" are a "basket of deplorables."

    In response, Barnwell told audiences: “Hillary has been trying to learn Spanish from her running mate Tim Kaine and she was talking about flowers, so she actually meant basket of de-florables.”

    For her part, Barnwell doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime time soon. Whether Clinton wins or loses in November, her impersonator is staying in the spotlight.

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