Ola native a famous lookalike

Thursday 16 May 2002

Lois Castillo
Click over to Lois Castillo's Web site at and you'll see the Henry County High School graduate in a variety of sultry modeling poses. But, drop by her home near Ola and, odds are, you'll catch her in a T-shirt and jeans, playing in the back yard with her husband and kids. A former security guard at Ft. Gillem and the mother of four children, ages 15, 5, 3 and 4 weeks, Castillo embarked on a professional modeling career in December 1999. It all started with her resemblance to singer Mariah Carey.
"My husband Marty encouraged me," Castillo said. "People at work kept saying I look like Mariah Carey, so he took some photos and I sent them out to agencies." An agent in California helped her get started in the lookalike business, she got listed with a few Atlanta modeling agencies, started her own Web site, and the rest is local history.
"The modeling spun off from the lookalike jobs," Castillo said. "I have my own look but, when I try to do (Carey's) look, it works out, too." Since then she's had jobs ranging from hosting at promotional events such as Fight Night, an annual black tie charity boxing match, posing in anything from vintage Victorian dresses to bikinis, and playing Mariah Carey at corporate functions.
A sweet-16 birthday party in Conyers, where she lip-synched to some of Carey's songs, was her first foray as a lookalike. "I was so nervous and scared," Castillo said. "But they laughed and clapped and we all had a lot of fun." She soon got over her butterflies and, last year, she flew to Zurich, Switzerland, for a four-day, expense-paid commercial screen test. Castillo said models who looked like Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and Elton John also tried out.
"They didn't know what they wanted at first, and it was the Britney Spears who got the job. She was really good," Castillo said. "It was fun hanging out with all of them, but I was really homesick." Despite the 33-year-old's glamorous looks, home is truly where her heart is. A page on her modeling Web site is devoted to photos of her family, with a caption that reads: "The sum of who I am can be defined, not only by my actions, but by the impact I have on my children. How will they remember me?"
Her oldest son, Corey, will apparently remember her with pride. He lives in Florida with Castillo's first husband, but introduces his friends to his mother by directing them to her site. "Corey even sent my site to his girlfriend," Castillo said. "I got e-mail from her and I wrote back asking for pictures of them. I'm always getting messages that say 'Hi, I'm a friend of Corey's.'"
Not all e-mail is so benign, however. Castillo said any model on the Internet comes in for her share of questionable offers. A message on her home page states emphatically that she is not interested in posing nude, but that doesn't deter everyone. "Even with (the message) on there, you still get the e-mails," she said. "I realized early that I had to put it up front, but that little caption keeps getting bigger and bolder all the time."
Marty Castillo said he understands it's all part of the modeling business, although he does get annoyed every once in a while. "It's irritating some of the time to see something obvious, like when they ask about escorting or nudes," he said. "All they have to do is check her site and see she's a family person, but I'm getting used to it." Other times, it's not so obvious. That's why Lois Castillo helped found Net Models United, a 200-member organization of professional models who share information about stalkers and other potential predators.
"We call them 'trolls', people who tell you they're one thing, like a photographer, and they're not," she said. "This way, we hear about the scams before they get to us." Castillo said she enjoys her part-time modeling career, which allows her to choose assignments that don't interfere with her home life. Still, if forced to choose, she said she'd opt for the job that involves explaining the cartoon antics of Clifford the Big Red Dog to Alec, Evan and baby Maya.

(The Daily Herald)

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