A former waitress now gets a seat at the table at fancy dos all around the world - just because she looks like Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.

Heidi Agan had never considered working as a lookalike until 10 years ago when many of her customers began commenting on how much she looks like the Duchess - and soon began requesting to be served by her specifically.

"I didn't really think anything of it," she told MyLondon. "I didn't realise that lookalikes even existed, that you could make a living, that it was a job - that there was a whole community of people. So I just sat on it for a long time."

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After six months of being continually approached by customers at work and members of the public when out and about, Heidi decided to send her photo to the owner of a celebrity lookalikes agency, Susan Scott.

Just four days later, Heidi booked her first lookalike job: impersonating Kate Middleton at Gatwick Airport for the London 2012 Olympics.

"It was nerve-wracking - it was the first time I'd ever done it - and it's not quiet at Gatwick. There were a lot of people around," she said. "It was a 'jump in at the deep end' kind of job. You look at pictures of that and you think: 'Gosh, I've learned a lot since then.'"

Heidi Agan (left) attends events all around the work while working as a Kate Middleton lookalike
Heidi Agan (left) attends events all around the work while working as a Kate Middleton lookalike

Since that first event in 2012, Heidi's career has taken off and she's now billed as the UK's "most realistic" Kate Middleton lookalike.

She looks so much like Kate that she's frequently mistaken for her - even if she's out with her husband and two children, who don't look like members of the Royal Family.

Whilst Heidi, who hails from Northamptonshire, finds it amusing when people start staring at her and try to work out who she is and why they recognise her, she wouldn't want to be Kate and wouldn't want to be hassled for photos all the time, she says.

"I wouldn't want to have that all the time - I wouldn't want to be her - but the snapshot of her life is really cool," she said.

Perhaps surprisingly, the celebrity lookalike industry is a big one and brings in big bucks!

Heidi's agent Susan Scott has around 20,000 clients on her books from Winston Churchill lookalikes to people who look like Harper Beckham.

She has most lookalikes for Jason Statham and had 200 Kate Middletons at one point, but Heidi has long been one of the most popular fake Kates.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic Heidi was in high demand, sometimes working multiple events a day at different parts of the country.

Her work as a lookalike has also taken her abroad to New York, Germany, Austria, Hong Kong and Australia.

Archive pic: When Kate Middleton was pregnant, Heidi Aglan started attending events with a baby bump to continue to look like the Royal
Archive pic: When Kate Middleton was pregnant, Heidi Aglan started attending events with a baby bump to continue to look like the Royal

She said: "The variety of jobs is huge. No two days are the same - no two jobs are the same. Events like the Jubilee, the birth of Prince George, the Olympics, the Queen's 90th birthday - those generate a lot of work. Whenever there's a big royal event, there's always going to be some fun events for us as well."

As well as meet and greets, lookalike work also includes appearing in adverts and attending corporate events and private parties - sometimes with unusual requests.

Heidi was once flown to Melbourne, Australia for 10 days to appear in an advert for Chinese Jersey milk, one of the highest-budget jobs she's been involved in.

"That's an experience I'll never forget, and probably never have again," she said.

One of her most unusual jobs involved attending a private party in Austria with a Harry Potter lookalike and a popular impersonator of the Queen.

"It was the weirdest trio, but we had a fab time," she said. "You know, when your family or friends ask what you're doing this weekend and you're like: 'I'm just nipping over to Austria with Harry Potter and the Queen', it can seem bizarre.

"Anything where you get to travel and do things out of the ordinary, you just thank your lucky stars. Because of waitressing, I would never have had those opportunities. Sometimes I think: how can I call this work?"

Heidi (centre) has made many appearances on tv and at corporate events
Heidi (centre) has made many appearances on tv and at corporate events

When working as a waitress, Heidi was single and her income had to support herself, her young daughter and her adolescent son - and she struggled working the unsociable hours.

Now, she feels fortunate to have greater flexibility with her work - and a higher salary.

"Being able to pick and choose when you work, for the children's sake, is priceless. In terms of my time, and not missing a nativity, or not missing a sports day, that's something you can never get back. For me, that was the most important thing," she said.

As an established lookalike, Heidi is paid well, though her salary can vary depending on the length and type of job she's sent to, but she says she can earn "anywhere from £500 to thousands. It just depends what we're doing."

On average, celebrity lookalike agent Susan says that established clients can expect to earn £500 to £750 for half a day's work, plus travel expenses.

With Heidi impersonating royalty, it can be difficult to replicate Kate Middleton's look - especially her expensive clothing.

But Heidi is a big fan of AliExpress and TK Maxx.

She said: "I try to invest in pieces that I think she'll re-wear, or block colours that I can wear on multiple occasions. When she wears something from Zara, you jump in the car and you go and find it."

But when Kate changes her style, for example changing to a longer hemline on her clothes, Heidi has to start sourcing suitable clothing all over again.

"A lot of the clothes that I have now are redundant - you have to start again," she said. "I'm continually Googling pictures of the back of Kate's head so that we can see how high her layers go - you know, stuff like that, that I don't think normal people would care about. But to me, it's vital.

"You only become as good as you want to be. I spend a lot of time looking at the mannerisms and what they do...that can set you apart from someone else."

One of the biggest challenges of working as a lookalike, Heidi says, is the lack of mentoring.

"There's not really anyone you can ask for advice," she said, mentioning that the onus is on her to adapt and develop to the demands of the job.

"There's no lookalike training - you can't go to lookalike school. You become as good as you can make yourself, I suppose."

Fortunately, Heidi has become friends with other lookalikes in the biz and works regularly with Simon Watkinson, a Prince William lookalike, and Mary Reynolds, who impersonates the Queen.

"I've travelled the world with Simon more than I have my actual husband - that's quite bizarre," she joked. "We have this bizarre, alternate family...we have all these strange experiences together that I don't think anybody else could comprehend. It's a nice little bond and community."

The pandemic put a halt to Heidi's busy working schedule and saw event after event cancelled.

Even now, Heidi says the amount of work is less than a normal year when she'd usually be attending several corporate Christmas parties.

"We all need to get our boosters and get in complete control. We're hopeful for the Jubilee [in February]," she said. "At the moment, the Royals have got longevity. The Queen [Mary Reynolds] has been doing it for 30 years, and there are lookalikes out there who have had a massive career...fingers crossed I'll be Queen one day.

"I really do enjoy it. If you'd told me 10 years ago that I'd be doing it, I wouldn't have believed it.

"The experiences and opportunities that I've had, the people I've met, the new friends, the new family I've made - it's just unreal. I'm forever thankful."

"The lookalike world is very separate from my own world," she added. "I think there's a huge misconception about lookalikes, that they go around looking like that person all the time, trying to seek attention. That's not what happens. You're paid to do a job and then you come home.

"...Infringing on my daily life? I don't think so. Sometimes I take a picture with people and that's great, but otherwise, I scrape my hair up in a ponytail and carry on."

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