You know you've "made it" when strangers take the time and effort to fabricate wild tales that you've died and been replaced by a clone. This is what's happened to Canadian musician Avril Lavigne, and some fans are citing pieces of Avril Lavigne conspiracy theory "evidence" to "prove" she was allegedly replaced by doppelgänger named Melissa Vandella, an actress who bares a striking resemblance to Lavigne.
The rumors started when a website dubbed Avril Esté Morta, which translates to Avril Is Dead, surfaced several years ago. The site apparently created the hoax to demonstrate just how easy it is to get people to believe most anything on the internet. And, that's exactly what happened. Fans with too much time on their hands, who most likely spent too many hours marathoning cult clone show Orphan Black, helped spread the rumor even though the website posted a disclaimer that the claim that Lavigne was dead was not true, according to an article on Heavy.
After reaching a fever pitch in 2015 when BuzzFeed writer Ryan Broderick published photos from the blog that suggested the current Lavigne is an imposter, the rumors subsided — until now. The theory was resuscitated over the weekend through a viral Lavigne-is-dead Twitter thread. And, here are 10 pieces of Avril Lavigne conspiracy-theory "evidence" people are citing to convince you Lavigne is a clone.
1Her Music Changed Drastically
here's a video I made comparing an avril song from 2002 to an avril song from 2014 pic.twitter.com/1KFZJ8cHnD— 🅴 (@givenchyass) May 13, 2017
Lavigne began performing in her teens, and released her first album Let Go in 2002 when she was just 18. Let Go was a skate-punk mash up, and a clear product of the post-grunge music landscape of the early 2000s. By 2014 Lavigne's music style had evolved, as one's style typically does over the course of a career, and in the years from your teens to your 30s. But, for some, this is evidence that Lavigne is a clone. "Okay, yes, obviously you can change your genre of music but like ... just saying," @givenchyass wrote on Twitter.
2The Pressure Of The Paparazzi Was Too Much
so she decided to hire a look alike to walk around LA for her and pose for the paparazzi (avril on the left, look alike on the right) pic.twitter.com/wNSrDVh09i— 🅴 (@givenchyass) May 13, 2017
The viral Twitter thread also claims that Lavigne could not deal with the pressure of being followed by paparazzi, so her management team hired actress Melissa Vandella to walk around Los Angeles as Lavigne, and divert attention from the camera-shy singer.
This theory is actually the premise of the Star Wars movie The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones in which Queen Amidala has her handmaiden Sabé be her decoy to keep her safe. While the photos of Lavigne do look a little different, this is primarily due to her makeup and hairstyle changing, and not because she was replaced with Vandella.
3Her Jawline Looks Different
OK, how many of you look exactly the same since the day you were born? I am one of those people who does (save for a few unfortunate hairstyles), but I know I am in the minority. Most people's appearance evolves and changes over the course of their life, especially as they transition from teenagers into adults. Conspiracy theorists claim that Lavigne's jaw looks different in several photos.
There are myriad plausible explanations for this. The first being that Lavigne grew up, and as you get older you lose your "baby fat." The second explanation is makeup. I know I have used highlighter and bronzer to accent my jawline and cheekbones. Since Lavigne likely had a team of makeup artists working on her look for these pictures, it's normal for her to appear different.
The third reason these photos do not prove that Lavigne is a clone is lighting. Being photographed is an art, and good photographers know how to use lights to get the angle and shot that they want. Finally, there's a little something called Photoshop that can change the way images look by altering aspects of a subject's appearance.
4Lavigne's Lyrics Confirm The Alleged Swap
"Secret messages" being sent to fans through songs is not a new concept in the conspiracy theory realm. When a similar conspiracy theory that former Beatle Paul McCartney died in a car accident in 1967 began making the rounds in 1969, fans began dissecting the Beatle's lyrics for clues that McCartney was actually a clone.
Similarly, fans dissected Lavigne's lyrics from her 2004 album, and cited songs "My Happy Ending" and "Nobody's Home" as proof that the singer was saying goodbye to fans. One Twitter user even said, "She really tried to tell us." If you believe this version than Lavigne could not have possibly died in a skiing accident as one theory speculates. A goodbye album would indicate that she knew she was going to die, and let's not go down that rabbit hole.
5Lavigne Began Dressing Differently
Avril always wore pants on red carpets. The dresses started late 2003. Melissa (bottom) loves the attention but Avril (top) clearly doesn't. pic.twitter.com/rPtIbzsqpH— goth princess (@angeldelemuerte) May 14, 2017
Apparently you're never allowed to change your style. With the exception of Stevie Nicks, most musicians change the way they dress over the years. In her late teens Lavigne was clearly more into the skate-punk look, but later began wearing dresses.
In my late teens I wore bellbottom corduroys, felt clogs, and oversized t-shirts. I can assure you I would not be caught dead in this outfit today, but that doesn't mean I have been replaced by a clone. There are many explanations for Lavigne's evolving style, including changing tastes, and recommendations from her stylist.
6Her Face Is Totally Different
Some conspiracy theorists have pointed out that Lavigne's face looks different. Honestly, I really don't see it. I can name 10 celebrities off the top of my head whose faces really do look different, and most people would cite plastic surgery as the reason versus being replaced by a clone.
If there are subtle changes to Lavigne's face they are also easily explained by her skincare regimen, aging, and photography angles.
7The Mysterious Moles
The change in the appearance of Lavigne's skin is one reason some fans are buying into the theory. If you have fair skin, chances are you've had a mole or two removed to protect yourself from skin cancer.
Lavigne is indeed a fair-skinned woman, and it's totally possible her freckles and moles look different because she chose to spend less time in the sun, which makes freckles fade (take it from me, I have experienced this first hand), and/or she had moles removed by her doctor. If she spent more time in the sun before being photographed, this could heighten the appearance of freckles and make them stand out more than usual in pictures.
8Her Handwriting Is Different
The difference in Lavigne's handwriting over the course of the years in another piece of evidence believers are pointing to in the effort to prove Lavigne is an imposter. I'm no handwriting expert, but if you really can't sleep at night because you think Lavigne is not really Lavigne you can hire a handwriting expert to compare the samples above. Personally, think they look pretty much the same, and everyone writes sloppy when they're in a hurry.
9She Lost Her Canadian Accent
Apparently Lavigne's Canadian accent was noticeable in her earlier work — honestly, I never heard it. However, you will notice that most musicians do not have any sort of accent when they sing. If Lavigne was demonstrating an accent in her music early on, I suspect handlers advised her to drop it to make the music appeal to a wider audience.
10She Hates Nickelback
The real proof that Lavigne is indeed Vandella lies in her choice of romantic partners, according to some conspiracy theorists. Fans speculate that Lavigne would never marry someone from the band Nickelback because she actually hates their music, so obviously Lavigne must really be Vandella since she married Chad Kroeger.
In general, the only time anyone gets away with passing for someone else in on a soap opera when they replace a long-running character with a new actor and you hear that voice, "The part of blah blah is now being played by blah blah." In the soap opera world you buy into this because you want to keep watching the show. In real life taking over someone's identity is pretty difficult to do. There is even a Netflix documentary called The Imposter where a man in his 20s assumed the identity of a teenage boy. The imposter was caught and sent to prison.
Similarly, a money-hungry manager replaced the band Fleetwood Mac with a copycat band in the '60s when the real Fleetwood Mac canceled a U.S. tour. Rather than lose the money, the manager hired a clone band to perform as the actual band. The real Fleetwood Mac sued the manager, and the band, and won.
In today's digital world, getting away with replacing a public figure with a clone would be almost impossible to pull off, but that won't stop conspiracy theorists from buying into the hype. I guess everyone needs a hobby.