Growing up, Louis Ortiz, 43, wanted plastic surgery to fix his ears that noticeably stick out. Thankfully, Ortiz never had the opportunity to fix his ears. His current job is “Barack Obama impersonator.”
And it’s actually a lucrative career.
Ortiz says about himself, “I look at myself a lot in the mirror, and I start speaking like Barack. It’s like Barack is speaking through me, to me. . . . It’s weird.” Ortiz’s impersonator name is Bronx Obama and appears as President Obama two to three times a week. His appearances are booked through an agency and he usually works at parties or corporate conferences. Sometimes, he will even come unannounced to weddings as a guest. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Ortiz continues, “Real big Obama fans want me to come and say a surprise speech for the bride and groom. It’s entertainment while everyone’s all liquored up.”
Although it may seem like fun and games to act as the most powerful man in the United States, Ortiz’s salary fluctuates based on the President’s popularity. When the President’s popularity is high, Ortiz secures more appearances but that decreases once the President perception dips into unfavorable territory. Last year, Ortiz earned $60,000, a decrease from what he earned in 2012 when the President was reelected.
Despite the income flux, Ortiz may receive a bonus with a new Showtime documentary that will focus on Ortiz’s life. Ortiz is of Puerto Rican heritage and grew up at 172nd Street; he has two children and served in the Army. Once he became a veteran, Ortiz worked for Verizon for 13 years as a field technician but found him out of work in 2008. Ortiz’s Obama doppelganger was born that same year which coincides with President Obama’s first election.