Shad Ellis, 43, from Bedfordshire in the UK, has spent the last 25 years appearing at nightclubs, weddings, and corporate events as Will Smith’s doppelgänger.
Ellis charges up to £600 ($1,050) per appearance and says that comments from friends, family, and fans center on “The Slap.”
“I had a guy last week stop me to say how much I look like Will Smith. We spoke for a bit, and he ended the conversation by jokingly saying, ‘Don’t slap me.'”
Ellis said that his side hustle as Smith’s doppelgänger has afforded him a home and the ability to “drive nice cars.” He adds that lately, as he is asked about the slap, he has tried to see things from both sides.
“[Given] my thoughts, it was hard for me to comprehend what was happening,” he said.” But after seeing the full situation pan out, I get it from both sides. I think we all as humans are capable of a flashpoint triggered by a raw emotion or feeling, and regardless of the situation, once you see red, everything around you becomes blurred,” Ellis adds.
“I strongly disagree—he should [not] have slapped him, but how many of us do an action we immediately regret after doing it, driven by being caught in your feelings or the moment.”
Ellis has yet to meet Smith. The UK-native said that he was tapped to be his body double in a production that was later rescheduled. For now, he is keeping his side hustle, adding that “it’s all in good humor.”
On the other hand, Will Smith was recently spotted at Mumbai airport, smiling and laughing with his fans.