Meet Toby Sheldon, a 33 year-old man from LA who has spent upwards of $100,000 on plastic surgery in order to look like Justin Bieber. He's changed his hairline, chin structure and even eyelids to look more like his teen idol. Along with Kitty Jay (who spent $25,000 on surgery to look like Jennifer Lawrence) and Madonna impersonator Venus D'Lite, Sheldon has formed a pop trio called The Plastics, a group which poses the question: "Are you one of the boring ones / Who don't wanna be beautiful?"
You can watch their first self-titled single below. It is awful, FYI:
It starts off as Sheldon's ode to Bieber, describing his teen admiration (which swiftly descends into jealousy and resentment):"Watched Justin's videos, imitated the way he posed / Jealous of his perfect face, wished I could take his place." Oookay.
The Plastics are the perfect meta-band for our celebrity-obsessed times. Surgically altering your appearance to look more like your idol might resemble the behaviour of the ultimate fan, but "jealous of his perfect face" doesn't exactly fit the outlook of someone with a harmless interest (neither does surgery, I guess). It's the thought processes of someone who's actively hostile towards their own anonymity – someone who would rather like to enjoy the celebrity status of his subject.
In the video, the Plastics entreat viewers to let their docs "work their magic" on them to look more like them – not Jennifer Lawrence, Madonna or Biever themselves, but the Plastics. It's like they read the 12-step Wikihow guide on How To Become A Celebrity and took part six particularly seriously: "Your image is a version of you, since you don't want to pretend to be someone else, but a more idealised version of you. It's the person who you'll publicly be and which you'll capitalise on when you're marketing yourself."
There's an actual psychiatric disorder known as Celebrity Worship Syndrome, but it appears that the Plastics don't actually suffer from any of its unique classifications – plus, none of them even seem to be true fans of the people they're trying to look like.
One of Sheldon's friends has confessed that Sheldon had "never really been a fan of Justin Bieber", admitting that his sudden obsession with looking more like Bieber came as "a bit of a surprise". Venus D'Lite impersonates Madonna for a living, and has even appeared as a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race walking down to runway to "Material Girl".
Kitty Jay has said that she only started undergoing surgery to look more like Jennifer Lawrence when friends told her how much she resembled the American Hustle actress, not out of any particular devotion as a mega-fan. "I'm trying to look like a very capable, very personal level-headed female who is an Academy Award winner," she told ABC News. Hardly the most emphatic obsession confession for a fan.
Essentially, the Plastics are marketing an image of someone else's image, which has in turn become a pretty unique, Botox-stuffed image. They're the fans who are no longer fans and perhaps never were. The Plastics aren't really a gruesome celeb-obsessed threesome: they are obsessed with the concept of celebrity and becoming famous in their own right. Their USP is not talent, or songs (let's face it, their single is dreadful), but plastic. They're full of plastic, their band is called The Plastics and so is their song. In reality, they're not hiding anything. This is a plea for fame and recognition that isn't based on an infatuation with other people, but with themselves.
As Sheldon puts it: "When Justin Bieber got famous, I was so damn jealous of him."
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot
Have some news? Let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org