“Behind the scenes with TikTok star: A Russian woman, 25, with 10.2 million followers shares her experience of cosplaying Scarlett Johansson and facing death threats”

Yekaterina Shumskaya, a 25-year-old woman from Moscow, has become a sensation on TikTok for her uncanny resemblance to Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson. She first noticed the similarity when she was a child, and now has over 10 million followers on the social media platform. Shumskaya’s newfound fame has allowed her to quit her job at a construction firm and move to Moscow. However, there are drawbacks to being a celebrity lookalike. Shumskaya has received death threats from viewers for cosplaying as Johansson, particularly after the Ghost in the Shell controversy. Despite this, she remains a popular figure on TikTok.

Her likeness to the glamorous star of Avengers and Lost in Translation also enabled her to quit her £6,250 job as a construction company sales manager and move to Moscow

The real Scarlett Johansson while  attending the Avengers: Endgame fan event held at Picturehouse Central, London

Kate Shumskaya, also known as Yekaterina Shumskaya, is a 25-year-old TikTok personality who has left her job and relocated to pursue her career as a Scarlett Johansson doppelganger. Kate, who had a passion for sports during her school days and aspired to become a professional handball player, encountered an injury that thwarted her dreams at the age of 17. Her classmates were the first to notice her striking resemblance to the Hollywood actress, which she found surprising when they showed her a picture of a young Scarlett. She had been aware of her resemblance for some time but never gave it much thought. At the age of 17, Kate tried modelling in the town where she grew up, but soon lost interest.

The keen sportswoman, who spent her schooldays training to become a professional handball player was first told she looked like the Hollywood star by classmates

During her school years, the passionate female athlete dedicated her time to becoming a professional handball player. It was during this time that her peers first noticed her resemblance to the famous Hollywood star. At the age of 17, she started her journey on TikTok’s predecessor, gaining popularity in her region of Russia. However, the constant influx of comments and messages became too overwhelming for her, leading her to delete her page after only two weeks. She then decided to pursue an office job, where she worked hard and climbed the ranks to become a sales manager. Despite her modest salary, she was able to purchase an apartment and car by the time she was 22. In 2020, she realized that something was missing from her life, feeling unfulfilled with her job and income. As a woman, receiving recognition and compliments was essential to her happiness.

Her likeness to the glamorous star of Avengers has enabled her to quit her £6,250 job as a construction company sales manager and move from her home town, Maykop, to the Russian capital, Moscow,

Due to her striking resemblance to an Avengers star, a construction company sales manager from Maykop, Russia decided to pursue her dream of becoming a model. She quit her stable £6,250 job and moved to Moscow to follow her passion. Despite her parents’ disapproval and concerns about not earning enough through modeling, she took the leap of faith and left her old life behind. “My youth is passing me by and no one will even notice me soon,” she thought, which led her to make the decision. Although her parents still don’t understand, Kate stands by her choice and believes it was worth it.

Kate is now is trying to use her popularity as a springboard into modelling - as herself, not as a Scarlett Johansson lookalike

Kate is leveraging her popularity to pursue a career in modelling, but this time as herself rather than a Scarlett Johansson doppelganger. Interestingly, even before she resigned from her previous job, she had already gained online fame through a trending hashtag on TikTok called “who do I look like?” In Russia. She recorded a video of herself asking the same question and within hours, influential Russian bloggers had taken notice of her, and her debut TikTok received over a million views. Surprisingly, most of her followers were males from various countries such as America, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile, who expressed curiosity about whether she had ever met Scarlett or if the actress knew of her existence.

Kate enjoyed the attention at first and revelled in her newfound fame as she started being approached with lucrative advertising contracts and was asked to relocate to Moscow

Kate initially relished in the attention and newfound fame that came with her being approached for lucrative advertising contracts and asked to relocate to Moscow. However, despite the backing of an advertising agency, Kate didn’t receive the expected reception. She revealed that there is no culture of professional lookalikes in Russia, and though she moved to Moscow to work as a model, she still doesn’t fully understand what’s happening. Kate admitted that while an advertising agency brought her there, they don’t know what to do with her. She dreams of filming a series of videos where she travels to America to meet Scarlett Johansson herself, as her followers frequently ask if she’s ever spoken to her or if Scarlett even knows she exists. Unfortunately, Kate doesn’t have an answer to those questions.

When Scarlett Johannsson was accused of 'whitewashing' an Asian character in the film Ghost in the Shell, Kate said she received death threats

Photo of Scarlett Johansson attends a photocall to promote Frank Miller's latest film 'The Spirit' at the Mandarin Oriental in central London

Kate, who rose to internet stardom with her video of eating sushi while dressed as Black Widow and garnering 108 million views, is not intimidated by her massive following. She hopes to use her popularity to launch a career in modeling, but as herself and not as a Scarlett Johansson impersonator. Kate has no interest in living someone else’s life, saying that she wants to live her own. With her newfound success, she now earns considerably more than when she was working for a construction company. This allows her to support her parents financially, although they are hesitant to accept her help. Despite the perks of online fame, there are also downsides. Scarlett Johannsson faced accusations of “whitewashing” after playing an Asian character in the movie Ghost in the Shell.

Kate now hopes to pursue a career as a lookalike abroad, because the industry 'doesn't really exist' in Russia

Kate has aspirations of pursuing a career as a lookalike overseas due to the lack of opportunities in Russia, where the industry is virtually non-existent. Despite facing criticism in the past, Kate still sees a future for herself as a cosplayer – someone who dresses up as a popular character – particularly in the US, Europe, or South America. Her followers from around the world have even encouraged her to attend the Moscow premiere of Black Widow as Scarlett Johansson, a role she had previously cosplayed. However, when she dressed up and went out in public, people stared at her and made her feel like an outcast. Kate was so embarrassed that she broke down in tears and had to seek refuge in a cafe to change out of her costume. Ironically, in the restroom, a girl approached her and asked if people often tell her she looks like Scarlett Johansson, causing Kate to scream in disbelief.

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