A woman became so convinced that a painting was her "doppelgänger" that she spent months hunting down the portrait so she can keep the uncanny likeness on display in her living room.
Jenny Smith was amazed when her sister sent her a screenshot of a Facebook post in June showing the painting. "When I opened it I was immediately like, 'who painted me?' The forehead was what got me, I have a very large forehead. And the curly hair, the colour of the hair and the eyes," Ms Smith said.
The 43-year-old says she immediately knew that she "had to find the painting", only to be dismayed when she discovered it was located more than 1,445km away at an antique shop in North Carolina, USA.
Ms Smith went on a hunt for the painting for more than a month, calling antique shops, contacting community Facebook groups and even asking for help on TikTok. "I was instantly like 'I've got to find this painting, I've got to have her'. It's not like some random portrait to me because it looks just like me. I wanted the painting really bad, so I went to TikTok. I figured that someone, somewhere, had to be close to Spruce Pine. I even joined a Spruce Pine Facebook group," the mum-of-four explained.
"I tried for a good month and a half, and then I gave up because nobody was able to help me and the antique shop wouldn't answer the phone. I was really sad about it. I had never seen a doppelgänger of myself, because I feel like I look different.
Breakthrough in search for painting
Ms Smith claims that the helpful shopper nabbed the painting for only $10 and posted it to Ms Smith's home in Mississippi just days later, as a gift.
"I took it out of the box and it was like unboxing myself. We've got the same facial expression, it's crazy. It felt kind of freaky when I saw it. It was such a 'wow' moment — like, somebody has painted this lady who looks just like me," she said.
"I've hung it up in my living room above my bookshelf. She's there, watching me. My sister came round and saw it and said it's crazy how much it looks like me. She said it looked like I sat for that painting."
Mystery painter revealed
After doing a little digging, Ms Smith discovered the artist is believed to be Stephen Farris Jr, who passed away in 2014, so she reached out to his granddaughter online. Ms Smith claims that Stephen's granddaughter told her the painting likely came from one of the art classes her granddad would attend, where different people would sit for paintings.
Ms Smith shared a photo of herself and the painting on Facebook earlier this month, where it racked up more than 140,000 likes, comments and shares. "This is so fabulously uncanny," commented one user.
- Madeleine Patrick/Kennedy News and Media
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.