The Scarlett Johansson lookalike Yekaterina Shumskaya may have 10.2 million followers, but she is also not treated somewhat nicely. Recently, she got death threats for a cosplay costume she wore in a video.
It’s cold in Moscow, but no one notices it on the TikTok videos from Yekaterina Shumskaya. The 25-year-old has become famous on the short video platform for looking like Scarlett Johansson. And while she has made a career out of it already, everything is not fitting in. But, before the darkness, the story starts with a Russian dream.
- A Russian dream
- Not all cheery
- Can she make a career?
Yekaterina Shumskaya didn’t want to be a model. She trained as a sportswoman, planning to be a handball player by hitting 17. But she failed spoilsport when she injured herself and was left unable to compete at the national or international level. From the age of 12, however, the aspiring sportswoman had a different opportunity.
Her friends had shown her pictures of Scarlett Johansson’s photo. She says,
“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?’”
She had a remarkable resemblance to Scarlett from a young age. And when she was 17, she started showing off the look-alikeness on TikTok. She made short videos cosplaying various characters Scarlett had played throughout her career. With options like ‘Black Widow’ and the character from ‘Ghost in the Shell’, she gained a dedicated fan following within months.
The rise was so meteoric that she confessed,
“When I became so popular online, I moved to Moscow to work as a model, but I still don’t know what’s going on”.
The Scarlett Johansson look-alike has since amassed a massive following on social media, with about 10 million followers to her name. But she still has a lot to worry about.
Not cheery all the way
Yekaterina has confessed, “I want to live my own life, not Scarlett’s”. Ever since she played a Scarlett Johansson look-alike role on TikTok, she has got bad news from all corners of the internet. While she has got some advantages from there, making more money, for example, “It’s a secret how much I now earn, but let’s just say when I was working for the construction company I couldn’t afford to send any money to my parents to support them, now I can every month”.
The lack of a look-alike culture in Russia means that her income is not stable. She has said that while she has an ongoing contract with a modelling agency, Moscow isn’t where she sees much growth. While having fans and a worldwide audience helps, she is still figuring out how to monetize herself so she can make a decent living for herself.
She has said, “A career as a cosplayer in Russia doesn’t exist, so I would like to visit these other places – although I wouldn’t live there permanently”. She has to move to Europe, America, or other places where cosplay culture has gained fame to earn more money.
The model has also received death threats because of what she does. When Scarlett Johansson was accused of whitewashing a character in ‘Ghost in the Shell’, Yekaterina had to shoulder some blame. The Scarlett Johansson look-alike received death threats because of the nature of who she pretends to be, and that’s scary for her. It is also deeply unpleasant to understand that the blames usually put on Scarlett is being passed over to Yekaterina, who in many ways doesn’t have the same resources as Scarlett Johansson herself.
Can there be a career?
Yekaterina has to confront a reality every day. While cosplayers make a lot of money from different avenues, the gig doesn’t play well in Moscow. So, she has to move and leave behind her parents to achieve her dreams in the modelling world. In effect, her career hinges on her ability to leave her country and go to some other place to try and get the career path she’s aiming for.
Currently, the death threats aside, the model and look-alike are doing TikToks and advertisements, and she has mentioned that she is planning to travel to expand her business.
Yekaterina might be TikTok famous, but she has to deal with many problems. The Scarlett Johansson look-like has become the easily approachable proxy for the hate and death threats usually directed at Scarlett. With her career being stilted in Moscow and the prospects of travel to expand her business, Yekaterina doesn’t have a super enviable life.