Is it okay to tell a stranger they look like someone famous?

Occasionally at work I share the elevator with a woman who looks exactly like a slightly younger Caroline Kennedy. I’ve never spoken to this woman, I don’t know who she is, and we don’t work at the same company, but I have this compulsion to tell her who I think she looks like.

In general, is that kind of thing appropriate? Is it flattering or offensive - or even creepy? Does that depend at all on the genders of the parties involved?

If you think it’s sometimes alright, you’d probably also agree that there are some famous people no one wants to be compared to. But where’s the dividing line? Should you only compare people to celebrities who are universally regarded as attractive?

ETA - Shoot - I asked one question in the thread title, and another for the poll. If a mod is inclined to make the thread title “Is it okay to tell a stranger they look like someone famous?” I’d appreciate it.

I don’t think it’s creepy at all, especially if the similarity is uncanny (and not some bullshit line). Chances are you will say, ‘I’m sorry, but do people always tell you you look like–’ and she’ll finish your sentence for you. It might get annoying, but I doubt it’s offensive. Maybe specify ‘A *young *Caroline Kennedy’ if you’re worried. :wink:

In one of my college classes, the guy next to me compared the teacher to a celebrity. The conversation went something like this:

Guy Next To Me: I like your new hair cut.
Teacher: Thanks!
GNTM: It makes you look like that celebrity…
T: Really?! Which one?
GNTM: Edith Bunker.

I apparently look like the singer of a local, fairly popular soft rock band. I tend to get remarks about that every once in a while, when they have a new record out. Once when I was in a grocery store, a 7 years or so old kid asked me if I was the “man who sings on the telly”.

Personally, I wouldn’t tell a stranger that they look like a celeb. They’re probably already aware of it, and why point out the fact if you have no other reason to talk to them. And if it’s a woman, she’ll probably think it’s a lame attempt to hit on her.

“Excuse me, but has anyone ever told you that you look exactly like Caroline Kennedy?” - Good

“Excuse me, but has anyone ever told you that you look exactly like a slightly younger Caroline Kennedy?” - Oh, so bad.

Living in Tokyo with a large immigrant Filipino population, I get a lot of comments saying that I resemble the popular Filipino singer/actor Aga Muhlach. Since I had never heard of him nor seen him before, I would always ask the them “Is he handsome/attractive/famous?” They would usually answer with an emphatic, “YES!” So I would thank them for their original comment. FTR, I’m not Filipino or have Asian background.

I wouldn’t mind if somebody told me that I look like somebody famous, but I don’t think I’d tell somebody else that unless I knew them. For all I know they can’t stand Caroline Kennedy (or whoever it is that they look like). Unless you know them you can’t be certain it will come across as a compliment.

I’ve been told a few times that I look like a certain famous actor who - er - I’ve never actually seen in any movie. So sure, whatever.

The come-back I’ve worked out is to agree that, yes, I have been told that so-and-so looks a lot like me. :smiley:

Which has alway had the effect of shutting down that conversation. And I don’t mind that, either.

A few years ago I walked into a hostel dorm room and a girl looked up from her backpack and said, “Has anyone ever told you you look just like Hilary Swank?” She went on about it for a bit. In that context, where we were complete strangers but were to be sharing a bedroom it seemed a bit quirky but not at all weird. And no, no one had ever told me that before (though just a few months ago a hairdresser mentioned it).

(I didn’t believe her at all until just recently I saw a picture of Swank looking straight on at the camera and flashing a big toothy grin. Suddenly I saw it - big teeth, slightly wide nose… I could be that picture’s ugly little sister. ;))

I probably wouldn’t say anything unless you were already chatting. But then again, while I fear being an eccentric, I relish meeting them, so I don’t know why I restrain so much.

The only ‘famous’ person that I’ve ever been said to look like is…

Princess Fiona from Shrek.

No, not the Cameron Diaz one, the ogre one.

Which honestly, I do. Round face and body, red hair. Not green skin, but I love the color. A sweet nature, but don’t eff with me, either.

There are worse things, like being hitler cats.
(Google it up yourself, am I your mother?)

Every time I see my aunt she tells me that I look just like Vince Gill (a country singer). She seems to think he’s handsome, so I take the complement.

I hope I don’t look like Vince Gill.
I don’t look like Vince Gill.

On another weird note though, I get called the wrong name all of the time. Not because people forget my name, but because they think I am someone they used to know. It’s weird to have someone looking you in the eyes saying “Steve, Steve, Steve, from first semester, Steve!” as they get closer and closer to you.

Or,“Alan? Alan from Bart’s Grill? Alan?”

I just stand there with a timid smile and say what my actual name is, and that I get that a lot. Both I and the party involved feel really awkward after that. They didn’t get to meet an old friend, and I get to feel like I look like Steve Allen.

I’ve even had friends spot me in places I’ve never been. But there’s always been a give away, like that I don’t own sandals, or my hair was shorter in the back.

That sort of freaks me out more than looking like someone famous.

Wonder if I’m the only one to mis-answer.

I saw Would you be offended if a stranger told you you looked like someone famous? and immediately chose *No, never * not realising that the poll question is the exact opposite of the thread title.

I used to get told I looked like a female celebrity who is not unambiguously considered attractive. In fact, there used to be a percentage of her press on how unattractive she was.
I never knew how to take that. Especially since I look nothing like her at all. Not a bit. Not a single feature.
I’d advise against doing that to someone.

I would not be offended to be told I looked like someone famous (provided I or the person saying so found that person attractive) but I think it can be offensive to others.

Those that bear even a passing resemblance to a celebrity are probably told about it several times a day and I imagine it could get annoying after a while. Just like having any striking feature that is mentioned every time you meet someone.

My son has the bluest eyes that ever existed and not a day goes by that someone doesn’t remark on them. He has taken to heading them off with, “Hi, pleased to meet you, no I am not wearing colored contacts, yes I know they are very blue.”

For that reason, I don’t point out or comment on any similarities in looks unless it is the topic of conversation raised by someone else.

I can only imagine being faced with, “You look just like [some celebrity]” a hundred times a day. No matter how attractive that celebrity might be, I think I would take pains to get rid of the look.

I’ve been told I look like Carmen Lawrence.

Given that she’s a good 20 years older than me, I wasn’t entirely happy with the comparison.

In general, though, I don’t think I’d care.

I get Jerry Springer a lot. That kinda bothers me because I don’t like the guy or his show.

Elton John as well, which, although I’m straight, doesn’t bother me in the least.

I have some round glasses and when I grow my hair out longer, I get John Denver.

I also have some round sunglasses and when I wear THOSE, John Lennon (but that’s kind of a “reach”, if you ask me, because I don’t have the “nose”).


I’ve said it to strangers. It used to be one of the ways I would start a conversation. But I did encounter one person who thought the person I told them they looked like was ugly.

I don’t think I’ve ever been told I look like anyone besides someone in my family.

I once asked one of our ER docs if people told him he looks like Scott Peterson.

He laughed and said, “All the time, dammit!”

Of course I don’t consider Peterson a “celebrity”.

I consider him a monster.



A somewhat FOAF story. The brother of a colleague of a cousin of mine was going to pick his sister up at work (a school). When he walked down he corridor he met a man that he thought looked just like the Finnish singer MA Numminen, which he pointed out to the man in question. The reply he got was “I am MA Numminen”.

I shared a house as a student with a girl who was the spit of Gillian Anderson. Really, could’ve been her twin. This girl had pretty low self esteem and I really really regret that I never told her.

When I went through a blonde phase I used to get Princess Di all the time. Once met an American tourist on a train who went on and on about it and was very keen to introduce me to her ‘very eligible lawyer son’. Didn’t have the heart to tell her the girl sat next to me was my girlfriend.