Idaho Wastewater Operator Doubles as Celebrity Lookalike

November 16, 2017

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William “Rusty” Goss, an industrial wastewater operator living in Idaho Falls, works as a Ed Sheeran celebritiy impersonator. Photo courtesy of Mirror Images (Los Angeles).

William “Rusty” Goss, an industrial wastewater operator living in Idaho Falls, works as a Ed Sheeran celebrity impersonator. Photo courtesy of Mirror Images (Los Angeles).

When Ed Sheeran burst onto the music scene several years ago, William “Rusty” Goss took little notice of the popular English singer–songwriter and guitarist. Although familiar with some of Sheeran’s songs, the industrial wastewater operator living in Idaho knew little about the musician, including his appearance. That soon changed, as friends and even strangers began informing Goss of just how much he resembled the red-haired, blue-eyed Sheeran, who had gained fame for such pop hits as “The A Team.” After viewing photos of Sheeran and noting their striking resemblance, Goss realized that he had a unique opportunity.

Goss (right) attends events to perform and take pictures with attendees as a look-alike for the singer–songwriter Ed Sheeran (left). Photo courtesy of Mirror Images.

Goss (right) attends events to perform and take pictures with attendees as a lookalike for the singer–songwriter Ed Sheeran (left). Photo courtesy of Mirror Images.

Approximately a year and a half ago, Goss contacted Mirror Images (Los Angeles), a casting company that specializes in celebrity impersonators. When he’s not working as a wastewater operator for the Jerome (Idaho) Cheese Co., Goss now attends the occasional corporate event as an Ed Sheeran lookalike. “It’s a really weird combination of acting and being an industrial professional,” Goss said.

After high school, Goss joined the U.S. Job Corps program to learn a trade. He “learned the importance of water” while studying plumbing, Goss said. During a work program with a local wastewater treatment facility, he realized that a career in the water sector offered more than job security. “It also appeals to me as something important,” Goss said. He now has worked as an industrial wastewater operator for the past 4 years.

Goss works both as a wastewater operator for the Jerome (Idaho) Cheese Co. and as a celebrity look- and sound-alike cast member at Mirror Images. Photo courtesy of Mirror Images.

Goss works both as a wastewater operator for the Jerome (Idaho) Cheese Co. and as a celebrity look- and sound-alike cast member at Mirror Images. Photo courtesy of Mirror Images.

As a Sheeran lookalike, Goss typically attends corporate events or store openings, where he either performs or meets and takes pictures with attendees. “It’s like acting,” Goss said. Just as an actor studies a role, Goss goes to great lengths to learn all he can about his doppelgänger. “There’s a lot of research that goes into being a lookalike,” he said. Along with watching all of Sheeran’s interviews, Goss needs to know extensive details about his life and career. “It’s kind of stalker-ish how much research I have to do to play this character.”

Last year, Goss began learning to play the guitar. “I had to start from scratch,” he said, acknowledging that he still has a long way to go to emulate Sheeran’s musicianship. “He’s basically a master at it, and I’m still a beginner,” Goss said. Then there’s the matter of trying to perfect Sheeran’s English accent. “It’s like learning another language,” Goss said.

─ Jay Landers, WEF Highlights

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