Holly Ferrier, a 26-year-old former rancher who drives a truck and doesn’t have high-speed Internet, is a dead ringer for the Duchess of Cambridge. In fact, the resemblance is so uncanny that the producers of a French reality TV show, Qui Sera Le Meilleur Sosie? (Who is the Best Lookalike?), invited the Camrose Canadian ad sales rep to Paris, all expenses paid, to compete against other celebrity lookalikes for a grand prize of 15,000 euros (about $20,000). We found out about Ferrier after she just barely missed the deadline to enter our summertime Great Canadian Face-Off competition. Maclean’s caught up with her a few days after getting back from Paris, where she walked the red carpet and had to teach her Prince William how to drive a stick shift, Albertan style.
Q: First of all, how did you traveling to Paris to be on a French reality TV show come about?
A: When Kate and Will came to the Calgary Stampede, a few people noticed the resemblance and the Calgary Herald did a little something on it and I ended up getting an agent. But I didn’t really take it too seriously. I actually moved back to the Camrose area after ranching in High River and took a job at the Camrose Canadian as an advertising sales rep. I had a lot of family stuff going on and a lot on my plate and my agent was kind of getting annoyed that I wasn’t doing anything. So I decided to put up a Kate Middleton lookalike page on Facebook, just to make my agent happy. And that’s how the show in Paris tracked me down—through the Facebook page.
Q: The show found you?
A: Yes! Which is kind of crazy considering they interviewed a ton of girls from England who actually applied to be the Kate Middleton lookalike. The show had been running ads for about a year to get contestants to try out but they sought me out in Canada just a couple of weeks before the show started.
Q: Personality-wise, were any of the lookalikes anything like their “twin”?
A: Oh yes. Amy Winehouse was definitely like Amy Winehouse.
Q: Was it all just go, go, go, once you got to Paris?
A: Oh my gosh, it was just crazy. Thank goodness my aunt came. We took a cab from the airport to the studio and then they took me straight away to the makeup room, did my makeup, hair, got fitted for the dress and the dress was way too big, so they had to redo it. I was so tired. And then I had to smile the whole time for the rehearsal. And I really didn’t feel like smiling, so now I feel bad for stars who have to fake smile for 24/7. It’s hard!
Q: But talk about getting into character, no? It sounds just like what Kate Middleton probably does everyday, don’t you think?
A: Totally. I have a new appreciation for her. When you haven’t slept for so long and everyone is talking to you and telling you to go a million different ways at a million different times and you need to look really good in whatever you’re wearing all the time and then smile on top of that? And all you’re thinking is, “Uh, I really want to go to bed and I don’t feel like talking.”
Q: Was it your first time in Paris?
A: Yes, first time in Europe actually.
Q: Please tell me you got a chance to enjoy yourself and see the city.
A: Well, they gave me Saturday to check out Paris. So I went to the Eiffel tower, a café and had a biscuit and tea, and delicious pastries. I also did a bit of shopping, and afterwards a couple of us lookalikes hit the city. I tried some French beer, which was pretty good.
Q: In a YouTube video of the show it shows you driving the Aston Martin onto the stage rather than the Will lookalike. How come?
A: Will was supposed to drive the car but he couldn’t drive a standard so I had to! All the French people thought I was just the coolest thing because this girl could drive a standard car.
Q: Have you ever met another Kate Middleton look alike?
A: No, I haven’t.
Q: I’d like to see that; a Duchess of Cambridge lookalike smack down.
A: It’s all just fun for me. I’m not looking to take my competitors down or anything. If someone looks more like her than I do, then great. To be honest, when they did my hair and makeup and think I looked less like Kate than when I’m just myself. I didn’t even recognize myself when they did me up.
Q: Will you be more conscious now of keeping up the resemblance? I mean, would you think twice about cutting your hair or eating an entire pie?
A: That’s the thing! She’s so darn skinny. I’ll have to be really careful. Before I went to Paris, I had a trainer at the gym and I went on a huge diet in the two weeks leading up to the show to try and get Middleton skinny, which is impossible.
Q: Did the show tell you to lose weight?
A: No, I thought I would try for it because if you can win $20,000, then not eating cheeseburgers for a week is fine! When I checked in with my parents from Paris I told them to have the Blizzards, burgers, pizza and the beer ready for me when I got home because I need to eat! She’s very skinny and I’m not going to go to extremes, but for the two weeks, giving up chocolate and burgers was just fine.
Watch Holly and the other lookalikes appear on Qui Sera Le Meilleur Sosie 2012: