Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate running neck-and-neck in the polls against fellow Sen. Bernie Sanders, was taken aback at a town hall rally event on Monday when she saw a familiar-looking face.
Stephanie Oyen, a Warren supporter, showed up to the St. Paul, Minnesota rally in what was said to be her Elizabeth Warren Halloween costume, with the physical looks that made her an uncanny match to the candidate.
“I thought it would get some giggles,” Warren’s doppelgänger told the StarTribune. “Then people started yelling, ‘Senator Warren!’ People were clapping and running up to me to take photos. I kept saying ‘I’m not her!’ but I looked up and hundreds of people were staring at me.”
Oyen, who sports a strikingly similar haircut and overall look to the Massachusetts senator, said the situation “got weird very fast.”
The resemblance was so closely matched that she resorted to hiding behind a tall man to divert some of the unexpected attention and because she began to feel bad for possibly confusing some of the rally’s attendees at Macalester College for the town hall event.
The StarTribune reported that even some of Warren’s staffers had to take several glances at Oyen.
Oyen insisted that she wasn’t trying to be a “prankster” and explained that she figured people would get a kick out of it but realize it wasn’t, in fact, Warren.
— California for Warren (@CA_for_Warren) August 20, 2019
Several people in the audience, who were completely clueless as to the woman’s actual identity, began to run up to her and tell her things like “you’re my hero!” Oyen explained.
When Oyen received the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Warren for a selfie opportunity with several other supporters, after a moment of pause, Warren pointed to Oyen’s outfit and exclaimed, “We need to talk!”
“I couldn’t tell if she recognized I was dressed like her or if she thought, ‘Here’s a weird lady dressed like a stereotypical politician,'” Oyen said.
Oyen said she was called back for more photographs not long after and assumed some of Warren’s staffers wanted a picture, too.
The experience overall was “inspiring” for Oyen, who explained that the people in the crowd who thought she was actually Warren were “teary-eyed” because they consider Warren a heroic figure. She also said it solidified her support for Warren.
According to The Hill, Warren’s campaign estimated she was able to draw 12,000 attendees to the event, which was also her first one in Minnesota for the 2020 election. Local outlets reported that thousands attended.
Warren currently sits in 2nd place in the national polling average, according to Real Clear Politics.