Ooh na na what’s her name? This 22-year-old may look like Rihanna, but it’s actually Andele Lara, a student from Boston, Massachusetts. She’s frequently mistaken for the sexy pop star, but as a kid Lara wasn’t always so keen on her looks. “Growing up, I was a very shy girl,” Lara told the Daily Mail. “I was known as the skinny girl with the big forehead.” But after experimenting with her hair and swapping her school uniform for more trendy clothes, her classmates started noticing her likeness to the Barbadian singer with the hit song “Umbrella” on the radio. “The comments started in my sophomore year. My friend had a magazine with Rihanna on the cover. He held it up to my face and was like, ‘You look like her!’”
As Ri-Ri rose to fame, Lara got increasing attention from strangers seeking photos and autographs. Nowadays she’s mobbed by screaming fans and sought after by brands interested in capitalizing on her similar appearance. She says she’s paid $20,000 by clothing companies to endorse their products. She’s also landed contracts to promote sneakers, mascara, and hair accessories with very little effort. “I know I could happily give up my part-time job and studies to have a career as a Rihanna lookalike,” Lara told the Daily Mail.
While some attention has been unwanted—Lara says there have been creepy situations where she’s followed to work—overall she loves pretending to be the star for fans, saying it makes their day to think they just met a celebrity. Once she was in the same club as Chris Brown so everyone assumed she was Rihanna. Lara says she gets the most attention when she hits the clubs with men buying her drinks and clamoring to get her number.
Obviously a big fan of the singer, Lara can’t sing a note herself. She has yet to meet her in person but did have one run-in on social media. Once a fan unknowingly posted an image of Lara on Instagram with the caption, “Rare pic of Rihanna.” Ri-Ri herself commented on it “OH?!” After hundreds of followers and some nasty comments flooded Lara’s Instagram feed, she decided to make all her social accounts private. And like any fan she’s still dying to pose with the real star: “I would love to meet Ri-Ri and take a selfie with her!”