Ekaterina Shumskaya: Scarlett Johansson lookalike got death threats for imitating star
Despite failing to be mistaken for ScarJo at 'Black Widow' premiere, the Russian model is making waves for her uncanny resemblance to the actor
Ekaterina Shumskaya was bringing in just $700 a month as a sales manager, keeping herself afloat and her family happy. Then she decided to make a change - she began cosplaying Scarlett Johansson. The 24-year-old TikToker has now gained fame not just in Russia, but around the world for looking exactly like the 'Black Widow' star, so much so that she is "often thanked for the excellent acting in the film ‘Black Widow'."
Celebrity doppelgangers have been making the waves a lot recently, with the help of social networks like TikTok. In June 2021, a trucker named Amelia went viral for looking exactly like Amy Schumer. Earlier in February, 17-year-old Hannah Everhart turned heads on 'American Idol' after Katy Perry called her a "country twin". The same month, TikTok star Sofia racked up over 1 million views after users noticed an eery similarity between her and Cardi B.
But it's not all fun and games being a celebrity doppelganger. As Shumskaya noted, there's a major downside too. But, for now, she seems to be enjoying the money her looks bring, having moved to Moscow and earning enough to support herself and her parents in Russia's capital.
Who is ScarJo's doppelganger?
The 24-year-old is now a viral TikTok sensation, with around 10.2 million followers on the platform. But before that, she was just another ordinary girl. "Some school friends came up to me when I was around 12 years old and showed me a photo and I was like, 'Is that me?' They said, 'No, it's Scarlett Johansson when she was a child,' and I was really taken aback." That sent her down a modeling career, but she didn't stick with it for long.
She first dabbled with modeling as a 17-year-old, but deleted her page after just two weeks because of the "constant comments and messages". She then took a job at a construction company and rose to become a sales manager, managing to buy her own car and apartment by the age of 22. But one day, she had an epiphany. "Crudely speaking, I woke up one morning and thought, 'My youth is passing me by and no one will even notice me soon'".
So she quit her job, and stable $700 income to once again try modeling, albeit this time via TikTok. Using the popular hashtag 'Who do I look like?', Shumskaya rose to fame almost overnight for looking exactly kike ScarJo. "There were millions of followers, mainly men, from America, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, all commenting and asking if I had spoken to Scarlett or if she knew I existed."
The fame brought with it advertising contracts, which led to a move to Moscow. While she wouldn't reveal how much she earned, it's certainly a huge jump from her construction firm gig. But, it all came at a price.
'I want to live my own life, not Scarlett’s'
In Shumskaya's case, being a celebrity doppelganger comes at a steep cost. "I want to live my own life, not Scarlett’s," she said, noting that many times people have mistaken her for the actor. On occasion, like the success of 'Black Widow', it's worked out well, but other times it's been less unpleasant. "When Scarlett Johannsson was accused of "whitewashing" an Asian character in the film Ghost in the Shell, some of the criticism ended up aimed at me, as her lookalike." Reportedly, Shumskaya received death threats for cosplaying ScarJo's character from the film Motoko Kusanagi.
Ironically though, not everyone is fooled by Shumskaya's looks. During the Russian premiere of 'Black Widow', she attempted to get some attention pretending to be the star, but it didn't exactly go to plan. "I dressed up and went down to the center of town with a photographer, but no one came out to see me. People just looked at me as if I was a weirdo! I was so embarrassed that I burst into tears and ran to a cafe to get changed."
But in many ways, Shumskaya has come to accept that ScarJo's fame is in a way hers. She's now planning to leave Russia to take her career as a cosplayer forward. She also dreams "I'd love one day to film a series of videos of me traveling to America to meet Scarlett Johansson herself."