She and Him and Me

A short history of Zooey Deschanel’s career as told by her reluctant doppelganger

The first time I saw actress/singer Zooey Deschanel was my freshman year of college in a pre-screening of what would become my favorite movie: Almost Famous. An auspicious start. I was a late bloomer, perhaps. Not only did I look nothing like the doe-eyed actress, I never guessed that I ever would. She was silver-screen beautiful, and I … still had my baby fat.

In the early- to mid-2000s, Zooey and I both had some growing up to do. She retreated into a string of forgettable movies (The New Guy anybody?) and I into a string of forgettable college classes. 

The “Hey, you look like that girl” comments started about a year ago, just when Zooey was rising above her bad movie choices and I my diet. At first, it was really exciting. I mean, to successfully transition from actress to touring musician (as She & Him with Volume One) … I mean, to be told you look like a movie star. Then she went and married the lead singer of the band Death Cab for Cutie, thus realizing the implicit fantasy of her first big film. And I? No comment.

In the meantime, more and more people were telling me I looked like her. As her star rose, my response to strangers’ comments went from disbelief to flattery to expectation. When the movie 500 Days of Summer exploded, my flattery turned to annoyance. Why must people assume I liked faux-retro hipster threads just because she did? I hate florals!

“I don’t think I’m very much like anyone else, really,” Zooey is quoted as saying on her IMDB entry. “I’m sure there are aspects of other actors that I share, but I don’t see anybody else and go, ‘Damn, they stole my thing.’”

Damn, she stole my thing. 

But as my twin embarks upon a spring tour for She & Him’s Volume Two, I’m able to seek some perspective, maybe comb my bangs a different way. Of course, I’ll watch her perform at April’s big music festival, Coachella. And perhaps somebody will mistake us and let me backstage. It only fits, I mean Zooey’s next project channels famous hippie groupie Pamela Des Barres for HBO.

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Selected by Jeanne Goodrich, executive director for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.