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Biography and Frequently Asked Questions

Every once in a while I get e-mails from fans which is curious about the person behind 'Tess the impersonator'. Below I've posted some questions asked and my answer to them.

I've also been interviewed by a French Michael Jackson website, www.universjackson.fr.fm. To read the interview you can click here.

Where are you from?
I'm from Sweden!

When is your birthday exactly?
29th of June

How old were you when you started?
Um... I started taking in the role as an MJ impersonator more seriously in the end of 1997 so I was 18 years old =) But my love for dance I've had all my life and I learned the moonwalk back in 1992 when I was 13 years old .. :)

Was it frustrating learning?
Sometimes it can be quite frustrating yes ... some movements are quite difficult to perform and it takes quite a while to figure out exactly what Michael does just from looking at some videoclips .... the latest one which took me a while to figure out was You Rock My World for example where they change camera angles very fast .... but eventually I got it .. >>smiles<

What inspired you to dance like him?
Well ... what can I say ... he is an incredible and amazing dancer... and I love music and I love to dance myself... and when I saw the way he could entertain a crowd I just felt that I would like to be able to do the same thing ... >>smiles<< ... I would like to be able to perform those moves so one day I just decided that I would accomplish that .... and I'm well on my way to do that too .. =)

How did you learn?
Well all I have to help me learn is a videoclip of actual dance routine .. a mirror wall.. and a video camera.. =) And a lot of patience and a great love for dance =)

Have you met michael in person?
Nope not as of yet... but I haven't lost my hope about being blessed with that experience one day =)

Do you consider yourself a shy person?
Ummm... when I was younger I was very shy... always hid behind mummy when we had someone visiting us.. hehe .. now a days I wouldn't say that I'm shy but I don't take much "space".. I'm kinda quiet and keep myself in the background .. that's where I'm most comfortable.

What do you do?
I work as a Lotus Notes programmer, for those who doesn't know what that is it has to do with computers =) I suppose somewhere in my mind there is a dream about perhaps being able to make a living on my impersonation of Michael .. or perhaps as an artist myself in my own name :o)

Have any family members around?
Yes mum and dad doesn't live that far away from me, I tend to visit them quite often as I have my horses out where they live aswell .. :-)

Do you have any brothers and sisters?
Nope .. sigh.. wish I had though..

Did your mom or dad dance or sing?
Umm... mum has always had a love for music and dance.. she hasn't played any instruments or performed anything, even though she had a dream of becoming an artist .. :-) I'm grown up with listening a lot to music from the 50s and 60s .. I remember me and mum used to dance around together in the kitchen singing our hearts out... heheh
Dad has been playing some guitar, but never on any professional level or anything, just for fun at home.

When you perform i notice you tilt the hat down over your eyes, does that help you to relax more when you are performing?
Of course at times it can be nice to not having to look the crowd in the eyes, but if I tilt down the hat I do it because that's the way I've taught myself that Michael does it :-)

How tall are you?
I'm quite short actually, I'm 157 cm.

You seem to have really small feet(teehee), what are your shoe size?
Well since I'm not that tall my feet is also quite small, my feet size is usually somewhere between 36 - 37. I know there are many different ways of saying the size of one's feet, but this is the measurement that I'm using.

What kind of movies do you like, or what do you like to do for fun?
Movies that I like you usually find within the genre comedy! Eddie Murphy (A prince in New York) I think is hilarious, so is Jim Carrey (The Pet Detective,Liar Liar) Adam Sandler (WaterBoy, Happy Gilmore), Ben Stiller (Zoolander) and the list goes on ... :-)

What do I like to do for fun?
Well I have a creative mind so I like to rebuild the design on my website every now and then, I have two horses so I enjoy spending time with them.. I try to keep myself healthy so I don't mind doing some physical activity aswell .. like play "Innebandy" (it's very popular here in Sweden), go out for a run or go down to the gym for a workout... =)

Would you ever like to come to the united states?
I have actually been to the united states once, this was back in 1997. I went to Florida, need I say that I loved it? It was absolutely WONDERFUL! I wouldn't mind visiting the US again sometime .. it's all a matter of time and money ..hehe ... :-)

Where would your dream home location be if you could choose anywhere in the world?
Well .. as they say .. there is no place like home .. I love my home country Sweden.. here is where my friends and my family is .. so I guess the answer to that question will be Sweden.

Do you have a dance studio that you go to for practice?
Unfortunaly no.. I do my dance session in my apartment .. in front of my big mirror wall .. when I get a house in the future I will have my own dance studio though .. =)

 How often do you think you practice?
It all depends if I have a gig coming up or not, if I have a planned performance coming up I tend to practice quite a lot. But if there is nothing planned I just don't have the motivation to dance that much. It's the actual thought of being able to stand on stage in front of a crowd that motivates me.

Do you ever get paid for any performance giggs?
It has happened, but usually I'm just happy if anyone is interested in having me perform for them.

Where exactly would you like to go with your dancing, where would you like to be?
This is quite a good question, it makes me think about what it is exactly that makes me continue with my impersonating... I guess as fans of Michael we all have different ways of showing our love for him .. my way is to impersonate him .. I'm just very happy that me doing my performances has turned out so well .. everywhere I've been performing I have always received positive feedback.. when I perform it just feels right for me ... and the feeling I have afterwards is an incredibly strong feeling of satisfaction .. that I have truly accomplished something good ... so in a way I'm feeding off of the energy and excitement of being on stage performing .. it's like a drug ... :)

But where would I like to be with my impersonating ... well one of my biggest dreams is to dance together with Michael .. just in our own privacy .. not necessarily in any official event .. even though that would also be kool .... cuz I am a dancer in myself .. I love to dance and being able to dance with the person who has inspired me so much would surely be something amazing to me..

Another dream I have is to be able to travel around the world, bringing my own stage and backup dancers and do shows in Michael's honour. So the ultimate goal for my impersonating career I think would be to do just these two things that I've just described.
Wow.. I've been talking quite a lot here ...hehe

If you could get the right money would teaching dance somethin your interested in?
To be honest I don't think I would be interested, what I'm passionate about is to impersonate Michael and to be on stage. But since people have been asking if I could help them to learn some Michael moves I've felt that I don't mind sharing my knowledge that I've gained in that area.

You seem to have a great production visualization, the way you set up the performances, who else helps you with that?
Not exactly sure what you mean with this question, but the way the "stage" was put up when I was doing my streetdancing was basicly just the carpet I was dancing on and speakers. The music I have mixed myself that I'm dancing too.

I get help from my parents and my boyfriend to set the stage for me, I'd like to also send out a big thank-you to them aswell for supporting and helping me :-) I truly appreciate it!

How often do you and your backup dancers reherse before a performance?
I wish I had backup dancers! Anyone interested in voluntaring? ;) If I'm up for a performance I tend to rehearse quite a lot .. when I was up for my latest performance.. the streetdancing ... I rehearsed almost every day for 2 weeks straight before the actual performance took place.

I can tell you are a dancer in your spirit, what were your first encounters with dance, what were the first dance steps you were copying?
For as long as I can remember I have loved music and dancing .. =) The first dance step I learned, with the goal to try and copy Michael, was of course the MoonWalk =) I was so proud when I had figuered out how to do it! >>smiles<<

When you first was starting out, did you ever think you would get this kind of love and reponse from being an mj impersonator. And does that alone make you happy?
I can honestly say that I didn't think I would get this much attention from other MJ fans around the world, and I'm truly grateful for it :-)
And of course it warms my heart when I get positive feedback from fans around the globe, it is also one of the things that makes me continue to do what I do. I'd like to take the opportunity to thank EVERYONE that has supported me!

Maybe it would be interesting for you to know that my website gets an average of 200 visitors every day! I think that is quite amazing! And one month I had over 30 GB of people downloading clips from my website!

Have you ever been to one of his concerts?
Yes I have, I've been to his HIStory concert when he was in Sweden 1997. Can't say that I remember much from it however... think I got a blackout or something ... >>laugh<< ... just couldn't for my life understand that he was there in person on that stage .. :)

What type of shoes do you use?
Dancing ShoesThe sole of the shoe is kinda hard and smooth, not "rubbery" cuz then you won't be able to slide as good.

I know some observant people notice that I don't use my shoes when creating my dance clips, that's because of pure lazyness really ... I use my slippers cuz they are comfortable and I manage to put out the moves with them also .. just aswell as I do in my shoes. :)

What shoes would you recommend to practice with because I keep hearing that loafers are best but maybe you have something else in mind, some low cost ones would be nice if you don't mind telling me where to buy them.
I would say that it is very much up to each and every person what he / she feels comfortable to dance in - whatever works fine for you, you should use.

I was just wondering if you could tell me where you got your shoes(what kind and brand)from. The shoes I use is the brand of ecco - but I had to make a special arrangement to get them where I wanted. I had big troubles to find the same type of shoes as Michael weares, especially since my feet size is not in the range of Michaels. Male loafers don't fit well on my much smaller feet.

So when I finally found a pair which at least resembled Michael's loafers and actually fit my feet, I was happy. But the problem with the shoes was that they had a soft rubber sole and that is not the ultimate thing when you are a dancer. So I had to take the shoes to a shoemaker and let him add another type of sole which was harder and more suitable for a dancer.

So... there you have the story about my shoes.. :)

I would also like to know where you got your hats from and what kind if you can tell me.
I bought my hat in a store in Stockholm, Sweden called "Hattbaren". It is not of any particular brand, it is an import from Poland. That's what the store told me when I asked them.

So how did U get into making these Michael Jackson Videos?
Umm ... it came kind of naturally when I decided to make my site a pure impersonator site. Cuz I've always recorded my performances (almost) so why not create some videoclips out of it and put it on my website, it gets so much more interesting that way =)

How do u put your videos on the web like that?
Well ... I have a videocamera ... that I use to record my clips with ... then I have a pretty advanced graphic board in my PC .. that I connect to a VCR .. and what I do is that I press play on the VCR and play the tape and through a cable that is connected via the SCART slot on the VCR and the graphic board ... I can pick up the video and audio via a software program that came with the board ... :) Sounds kinda difficult I know but it really isn't .. :)
The format I get on the videofile is an AVI .. and from that I use a software from RealMedia that creates a RealMedia file out of the AVI file ... this is necessary since the AVI file gets very big .. RealMedia manage to keep the filesize relatively small if you look at the quality you can get out from it.

Where do you get your clothes?
I've received a lot of questions about my clothes and where I get a hold of them etc. Well, some of them I've found at my parents house .. like Michael's black suit for example.. I was allowed to make a few adjustments on an old suit from my father in order for it to fit me. The golden body costume and matching black pants I have actually created myself. And I sometimes take a look in 2nd hand clothing stores for garments that I could maybe use for some dance routine just with making a few adjustments to it or so. One of my backup dancers actually gave me a jacket that she thought had the "Michael feeling" to it for me to wear cuz she didn't want it anymore. Umm.... my Billie Jean sequined Jacket and matching pants I've bought from a guy in the states... cost me a whole lot but it was worth it :)

So.. my current wardrobe of Michael clothes has come about in many diffrent ways... one important thing that I've always carried with me though is that the clothes I chose to wear has to look as similar to Michael's costumes as possible.. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to the clothes .. and if I can't find the right costume for a certain dance routine... I will not perform that dance routine on stage in front of a crowd.

Tess aka Michael Jackson
Tess as Herself
Tess at Skansen

Random Quote

"what I'm passionate about is to impersonate Michael and to be on stage"

© 2008 Tess' Michael Jackson Impersonator Site
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Malc Jennings but slightly modified by Tess herself