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Professional Donald Trump impersonator Li Liangwei attends an event held to promote a plastic surgery hospital in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. Photo: Yang Yifan/CFP
Despite the success of former US President Barack Obama's Chinese impersonator, a performer dedicated to mimicking President Donald Trump has struggled to find success.
Li Liangwei, a retired official with the "literature and art federation" of Yueyang, Central China's Hunan Province, was told he resembles the man in the White House by someone who saw Li bragging at a banquet.
"He used to be a leader, and that demeanor is still there," Zou Dangrong, now Li's agent, said of his hand gestures.
"A leader first must have a [strong] aura. Only people who have achieved success have that kind of confidence inside out, including Obama, Trump and Hillary Clinton," Zou said.
Wearing a brown wig and blue contact lenses, Li now looks vaguely like the US leader with his broad face and stout physique. He has learned five of Trump's signature gestures but is still struggling with simple English phrases like "good evening" and "thank you."
However, Li's mimicry hasn't gone over well. Once, he was paid to attend a promotional event by a plastic surgery hospital in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. While people were eager to pose with him for photos, the audience made for the exit when his speech began.
Li is part of a performance agency, which also manages two Obama impersonators and four who mimic North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
One of the "Obamas," Xiao Jiguo, has been the company's biggest success so far. Xiao used to act in various small roles and also speak for a plastic surgery hospital. Now his fee for appearing at a commercial event is 50,000 yuan ($7,500), and he has won better film roles.
In order to hone his performing skills, Xiao signed up for training classes at the Beijing Film Academy. He said he can act with more confidence now, bolstered by his performing skills rather than his appearance.
The company's owner, Zou, looks for performance opportunities for his clients in company galas, weddings, commercial events, among others.
He said that many of his performers don't have attractive appearances, neither do they have prominent families or a good educational background, but they try every means through hard work in order to become famous, Zou said.
"They either go through plastic surgeries or enhance their chests. They work hard from the very bottom. They will succeed sooner or later," Zou said.
Li arranges his wig before a performance. Photo: Yang Yifan/CFP