Johnny Depp Impersonators Say Business Is Better than Ever, Despite Abuse Claims
Photos by Alexis Gross


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Johnny Depp Impersonators Say Business Is Better than Ever, Despite Abuse Claims

Since Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp of assault, the actor’s Hollywood Boulevard impersonators have defended him—and reported an increase in business.

At the entrance to Madame Tussaud's wax museum on Hollywood Boulevard, a woman is begging their husband to take photos of her posing with a Johnny Depp wax statue. The fake Depp wears a fedora, vest, and baggy jeans. As Whitney Houston's cover of "I'm Every Woman" plays at the Starbucks next door, the woman grabs Depp's crotch while her husband takes a picture.

The woman's name is Yin. She lives roughly 40 minutes away in Santa Monica, California, and traveled to Los Angeles's tourist district to see Depp. She professes her love for "his acting, his face, everything."


"I don't follow [the divorce and abuse allegations]," she says. "I just love his art!"

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This is the general consensus about Depp along Hollywood Boulevard. Although his wife Amber Heard has accused him of domestic violence and obtained a restraining order, Hollywood Boulevard denizens continue to view him as the biggest star in Hollywood—and nobody loves Depp more than the Johnny Depp impersonators posing for photos with tourists in exchange for cash.

Outside the nearby Hard Rock Cafe, two impersonators huddle, discussing their business for the day. Their competition consists of people dressed as superheroes, Disney characters, and Minions. An overweight Depp performer identifies himself simply as "Johnny." (Based on his striped scarf, white fedora, and the silver chain hanging out of his pants, I assume this means he is portraying Depp's current bloated wannabe rock singer era.) His colleague is dressed in full Edward Scissorhands garb, complete with suspenders and fake scissors on his hands.

The Johnny impersonator has worked the job for four years. "I just look like him," he explains. In 2015, he recruited his brother to play Scissorhands. They have agreed to speak to me on the condition that I pay them each one dollar.

They dismiss the notion that domestic violence allegations would deter middle class tourists from paying them to take a Snapchat. "You want to know what affects us?" Johnny asks. "Stupid Spiderman, Zorro, and Japanese pirates who are not Jack Sparrows, who are also taking photos on Hollywood [Boulevard]."


"Actually, business is even better now!" Scissorhands says. He clips the air with his scissor hands and then laughs. "I'm serious."

Johnny tells me that he relates to the real Depp's problems. "I take Johnny's side. I know how bitches can be," he explains. Scissorhands looks away and laughs, visibly uncomfortable. "I'm just kidding!" Johnny says. "Amber was married. She was engaged to a chick. Her ex-girlfriend, her fiancée, [got a] restraining order against Amber." He then tells me, "I'm married, and my wife can take me to the level where I want to kill her, so I understand Johnny if he did."

"Johnny's a good guy," the Johnny impersonator insists.

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"He doesn't hurt anybody!" Scissorhands says.

Women also work alongside Scissorhands and Johnny. A Catwoman stands outside the iconic Chinese Theatre, and on Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, girls in cartoon costumes pose for photos with kids. I wonder what they think about these views.

I approach a woman dressed as Minnie Mouse in her classic red and white polka dot dress. I ask her opinion, and she redirects me to a man dressed as Goofy. I ask him if she can do an interview, and he says she doesn't speak English.

Across from them, a female Minion wears pink bows on her head. I start speaking to her, but a middle-aged man intervenes. He acts as a wrangler of the Minions. I tell him I want to interview her about costumed men on the street, and he agrees—if I will tip her. I hand her a dollar. I start speaking, but she puts her hand up. "Is this for a video?" she asks.

"No," I explain. "I'm writing an article."

She hands me my dollar back and shakes her body back and forth, the Minion equivalent of shaking your head to say, "No."