On Being Mistaken A Lot For Popular DJ Steve Aoki: Felix Jung, 20×2 Chicago
Usually when someone yells out the name of a famous person at me, it’s done as a provocation: Bruce Lee, Mr. Miyagi, that sort of thing. When someone yells a name at me, I immediately tense up and prepare myself for some kind of altercation.
But somewhere around 2013, I started to hear a different name from strangers: Steve Aoki.
Got asked this morning if I knew I looked like Steve Aoki, but guy asking did so partly as a way to see if I actually was Steve Aoki.
— Felix Jung (@avoision) December 10, 2013
As this continued to happen more and more, I started to think that maybe… just maybe, people weren’t just trying to provoke. That some were under the impression that I might actually be Steve.
My initial reaction has always been to bristle and tense up when this happens. But I’ve gotten more used to it, and have been trying to train myself to flip things around. Instead of scowling or looking puzzled, my goal is to roll with things – and to put my finger to my lips, as if to tell the person to keep things secret between us.
Because yes, I am a famous DJ.
Didn't even get a foot outside of Amsterdam Central before I hear a shout of someone calling me Steve Aoki. LOL. Everywhere I go, dammit.
— Felix Jung (@avoision) August 28, 2015
Having this happen in another country was a first. And, it would turn out, not to be the last time on our trip. Several days later, we joined up with our friends Meg, Josh, Michelle, and Mike… with everyone meeting in Paris.
On the day we all went to the Eiffel Tower, it happened again! Someone called out “Steve Aoki” as I was walking around the base of the tower.
The big difference this time around was that it happened while I was in the group, in front of everyone. So now there are others who have witnessed this thing happen.
Fast forward a few days to when we visited the chalk caves at Taittinger, in Reims – and we happened across a Steve Aoki poster in the city. I think he might have been on tour at the time. Given all the sightings, it kind of felt like Steve was with us, on vacation.
It’s a funny thing – while I was working on this talk, I kind of resigned myself to the fact that – yes. Fine. I’m Steve Aoki’s doppleganger. And I needed to make some kind of peace with that fact.
And then I found out that someone else already had that job! That there’s another guy who’s already known for being his doppleganger!
As an added insult to injury, I’m not even unique in being mistaken for the guy. I learned there’s actually a rich history of people being mistaken for Steve Aoki, as I discovered in The Weird World of Steve Aoki Impersonators.
It turns out there are lots of other Asian dudes out there who have a similar problem as me – getting mistaken for Steve. Photographer Jarrad Seng walked around a festival pretending to be Steve Aoki while Steve Aoki was performing. And before him, there was Don Lim (who first coined #fakeaoki).
So I’m not even Steve Aoki’s double, I’m like… a third or fourth string double AT BEST. So it goes.
I had a really fun time prepping for this last 20×2 Chicago event. For those not familiar with the format, 20×2 Chicago brings together 20 creatives and gives each of them the same prompt, in the form of a question. Each person then has 2 minutes to answer the question, however they like: speech, video, interpretive dance. People have sung songs, drawn pictures, and even used the web as their medium.
A few favorite presenters from the last event:
Elizabeth Gomez on being great at bad relationships, and finding the perfectly ideal mate to ruin your life.
Eamon Daly, telling a story about a game of tag as a kid, his shoe, and a kid named Daniel.
I highly recommend checking out the whole event in full, which is posted up at the 20×2 Chicago YouTube channel: