Ashley Leechin has built her TikTok following of over 1.6 million people based on her uncanny resemblance to Taylor Swift. But the 29-year-old isn’t a pop star. She’s a Nashville-based trauma nurse and a mom of two who just happens to get stopped in the street by Swift fans.
Usually Leechin is in on the joke — she’s even made merch after a video went viral in 2022 in which someone approached her asking if she was Swift. In the video, her friend replied, “No, it’s just Ashley.” Since going viral, she has leaned into being a doppelgänger of one of the most famous pop stars today.
But a recent “social experiment” has turned the tides against her.
Leechin collaborated with YouTuber Victor Galven, better known as Vic in the Game, to see what it would be like to live like a high-profile celebrity for a day, as she explained in a TikTok. Leechin played up her physical similarities to Swift and wore large sunglasses and red lipstick and surrounded herself with a few actors who were dressed like bodyguards as she walked around various attractions in Los Angeles on Aug. 19. Mobs began to form as fans thought it was Swift — who, in reality, was wading through mobs of her own in New Jersey for Jack Antonoff’s wedding.
In subsequent TikToks, Leechin referred to it as a “social experiment” and “prank.” Fans were not happy, with some questioning Leechin’s motives.
Leechin’s overall point seemed to be that celebrities should hire decoys to try to live more normal day-to-day lives. But viewers weren’t sold.
“I feel like it would be different if [Swift] *actually* hired you,” one commenter pointed out. “But that’s not what’s happening.”
A lot of TikTok users tagged Swift’s account and commented, “Sue her.” When someone asked what Swift would sue Leechin for, one TikToker replied with “For being a crazy fan.” Leechin did not respond to In The Know’s request for comment.
Ashley Leechin needs a cease and desist sent to her ASAP
— claire (@truthor_claire1) August 20, 2023
i don’t understand why ashley leechin thinks it’s a good idea to make a living out of impersonating taylor swift. it was funny at first when she posted little videos of her dressed up as taylor for fun but when she goes out with fake body guards to cause a scene… girl no.
— nancy (@nancysversion13) August 21, 2023
— maddie (@hauntedkarma) August 20, 2023
Leechin is not the first content creator to capitalize on being a celebrity doppelgänger. Ed Sheeran’s doppelgänger, a German singer named Nic, has even performed as Sheeran. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck reportedly used doppelgängers to fool paparazzi on their wedding day.
Leechin speculated on TikTok that a lot of the backlash she specifically is receiving is because of Swift’s fanbase. She argued that there are two subsections of Swift fans: fans who love her music and then Swifties, who Leechin claimed were more “possessive.”
“I feel like that possessiveness can get dangerous,” she said. “I had such a positive experience in person and then, of course, online you get a whole different beast.”
On Aug. 21, Galven posted the full video of the prank with Leechin, which she duetted onto her TikTok profile. Leechin’s comment section was flooded with comments telling her she looked like John Mayer, Matty Healy, Kanye West and Scooter Braun. All four men are enemies to Swiftie fans.
In February, Leechin had to address accusations that she faked an invite to the Grammys for attention. At the time, she claimed in a series of since-deleted TikToks that she had been invited and then uninvited to the Grammys ceremony over the span of a few days.
“So we all agree that she was never going, right?” one commenter wrote. “It was either two things, neither of which are better. It’s either she was never going, and it was a scam, or she was going and Taylor Nation were like, ‘Never mind.'”
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