Turning an obsession into an emotionally-fulfilling profession.
That’s what Kat Fullerton did four years ago when she decided it was time to pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional impersonator of, arguably, the most recognizable woman in human history.
Marilyn Monroe captured the Prince George resident’s heart and after years of mimicking the icon for shows locally and elsewhere, she was rewarded with a prestigious honour among the global impressionist community.
At the 2020 Reel Awards in Las Vegas earlier this month, an internationally-recognized event, Fullerton won the Classic Crooner Award, which goes to the performer displaying a celebrity singer before 1960.
“I’ve always been fascinated with Marilyn,” she said in an interview with PrinceGeorgeMatters.
“She’s always been that way and it’s like, you can’t take your eyes off of her. The mythology and her legacy is so interesting; she’s still on the cover of magazines, we’re still talking about her to this day. She’s the most recognizable woman in the entire world. I was always a good mimic; I can do good impressions, I can sound a lot like people so I got involved naturally. Any time for any reason I could be a Marilyn-type character, I could do it.”
She beat out two older men impersonating Frank Sinatra, but doesn’t necessarily think of it as a competition.
Fullerton believes impressionism is an under-rated art form and requires collaboration between other performers in order to be successful on-stage.
“When we do it, it’s so good and when it’s bad, it’s not very good, but we really are family because we’re a bunch of weirdos when we get together and do this weird thing,” she said when talking about being in the same room as people who look like Martha Stewart, Gordon Ramsay, Prince Harry, Adele, Kenny Rogers and Boy George.
“We all understand each other, you don’t have to explain to people why you do what you do; you get together, we laugh, you learn and you network. We love each other so much.”
Fullerton boasts a degree in musical theatre from Mount Royal University (MRU) and her social media handle is ‘Almost Marilyn.’
Now 41 years old, she says she initially began to think about becoming a Marilyn mimicker about a decade ago.
“I started to get invested and work on it, and then life got in the way and my dreams got a little bit crushed. I then reached a point in my life where I was like, well, it’s now or never. So, I was in a good place and I re-committed to my dream and this was always my dream.”
Fullerton says Ms. Monroe isn’t the only impression she can do, having dressed up among other cosplayers as Marvel’s Jessica Jones for Prince George’s Northern FanCon.
However, she explains there’s a difference between impersonating a celebrity and playing a character at a convention.
“Impersonation is a totally different skill-set to me,” said Fullerton, adding it takes roughly 90 minutes to get into Marilyn Monroe’s character.
“Cosplayers are the people who build costumes; they’re building armour, they’re doing crazy special effects with make-up. Even with my Jessica Jones, it’s technically cosplay, but it’s me in a leather jacket. I’m not building anything and, again, I’m a natural look-a-like because of it. I go to Northern FanCon, I’ve been to Comic Fan Expo and people loved it, but I don’t consider it as cosplay.”
Fullerton has appeared on multiple occasions as Marilyn Monroe, most recently during Vegas Night for the Prince George Cougars on Jan. 25.
She sang the national anthem, one of the biggest highlights, she says, of her career and acted as the bridesmaid during a wedding ceremony before more than 3,000 fans.
After hosting Foxxie Follies at the Prince George Playhouse on Saturday, March 7, she’s off to perform in a jukebox musical for three months starting in Edmonton.