Devon Cass has been doing Cher’s makeup for more than 10 years. He’s also daubed on the famous faces of Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, and Barbra Streisand. So what if he hasn’t actually met these legendary divas? (Except Cher. Once. When he was 16.) A master of celebrity impersonation, Cass has high cheekbones down pat.
For all you gals — and guys — with a little Liza Minnelli inside, bursting to get out, his new book, Double Take (written with John Filimon; ReganBooks), tells how. Eyelash by eyelash, Cass transforms ordinary people into convincing apparitions of Liz Taylor, Robert De Niro, and the like.”There were moments,” says the 29-year-old “fashion artist,” “when I felt like I was working on actual celebrities.” (One Whoopi Goldberg look-alike regularly fends off overemotional fans.)
But while many of the guide’s guinea pigs share some of the stars’ idiosyncratic features, Cass says “anybody can do most characters. You put a Diana Ross wig on? And the boa? And the nails? People are going to know what you’re trying to do.” Ersatz Marilyn Monroes are the highest earners, but “my Rod Stewart does very well too, believe it or not.”
Crossing gender lines, of course, requires specialized knowledge. To wit, Double Take includes instructions for padding one’s derriere (“1. Put on stockings. 2. Then put on fake underwear butt”) and a certain maneuver called “tucking” (if you have to ask, you don’t want to know). And don’t think applying pancake is such a piece of cake. “I want to show people how to blend. They don’t know how to blend,” anguishes Cass. Anyone in particular? “I would love to do Tammy Faye Bakker. I could make her look so beautiful.”