A Chat With Melania Body Double Hoax Creator Andi Wagner, Plus Antonio Sanchez's "Momentum" Exclusive/Premiere

A Chat With Melania Body Double Hoax Creator Andi Wagner, Plus Antonio Sanchez's "Momentum" Exclusive/Premiere
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<p>Antonio Sanchez</p>

Antonio Sanchez

photo credit: Justin Bettman

Drummer/composer Antonio Sanchez’s new video is built around the song “Momentum,” a track from his new album Bad Hombre, released September 29. Sanchez is a Golden Globe and BAFTA-nominated artist best known for scoring the Academy Award-winning film, BiRDMAN or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).

Being a native-Mexican and U.S. citizen, Sanchez presents a powerful message with Bad Hombre based on his concern for his country and his fellow American citizens.

<p>Andi Wagner</p>

Andi Wagner

photo credit: Paul Smith

A Conversation with Andi Wagner, Creator of the Melania Trump Body Double Hoax

Mike Ragogna: Andrea Wagner-Barton, I’m so honored to speak to the Queen of the Body Double Rumors!

Andi Wagner: [laughs] It's kind of funny. I mean, I had no idea that it was going to be this big!

MR: What gave you the idea that what you were looking at was a Melania body double?

AW: She seemed robotic...I was watching her mannerisms and it just looked so odd!

MR: My feeling is the post took off because no one was surprised by the concept.

AW: It wouldn't surprise me either. It would just be one more thing that is false or is fake. It's a big show.

MR: It does look like everybody's had a good time with your video.

AW: Yeah, Jimmy Fallon, James Corden... It was on Stephen Colbert... Having him as president has given so much fodder to late night talk shows, especially Saturday Night Live. It's been the best thing for comedians and late night talk shows. Now the fake Melania thing has hit every circuit. I'm dying to see Saturday Night Live, I'm praying they do something. It's been on Ellen, Fallon, Kimmel... Everybody's done something so far.

MR: Do you think comedians are handling this right, not just the subject matter, but Trump in general?

AW: I do! I think they're giving him exactly what he puts out.

MR: Even Jimmy Fallon, the hair-ruffler?

AW: I'm a big fan of Jimmy Fallon. To me, Jimmy can do no wrong.

MR: A lot of people feel like he's one of the ones who normalized Trump. Out of all the late night hosts, he seems to be the most neutral. Maybe I meant neutered?

AW: [laughs] That's actually funny! You're right. Maybe he's gun shy, maybe he's walking the fence.

MR: Yeah, since traditionally, The Tonight Show has such a broad swathe of people on all sides of the political spectrum who watch it.

AW: Right, he's smart. He doesn't want to lose his conservative viewers who have been there for so many years and might tune him out if he gets too vicious like the other ones.

MR: Since we're talking politically a little, when you look at what happened with Corker and Flake jumping up and down warning us the presidency is on fire with virtually no support among their colleagues, it’s a little frightening. It looks like one side of the aisle traded their dignity and morals for their overlords’ tax cuts. I know they have to pay back their big donors but will Trump have to actually shoot someone on Fifth Avenue to finally lose their support?

AW: Right, you just said it. It's going to be an extreme event that's going to have to happen.

MR: Hey, why do you think there’s no pushback among his peeps?

AW: It's fear. Is it like Harvey Weinstein, who was so big and so influential and so powerful that with a wave of his wand, he could fire someone? "You'll never work in this town again!" Is that what everyone's afraid Trump will say? "You'll never be in politics again if you go against me, I'll ruin you, you'll never work in this town again."

MR: Yeah, they’re afraid of that level of vindictiveness that we've never seen, not just in a politician, but in anyone they’ve known.

AW: He's angry, spiteful. One of those people who you can't wrong, because he'll do it back three times worse.

MR: Is it possible that people who won't leave him no matter what are people who have had abusive people in their lives? They think, "Oh this is no big thing, this is what life is all about."

AW: It's true, we as human beings will attract what we are most familiar with from our childhood. For instance, a woman who's been raised by an alcoholic father, the boyfriends she will go after are alcoholics, because it's comfortable and it's familiar. When it's familiar, it feels right, whether it's abusive or not. So maybe that's it. They're used to being around abusive, Type-A narcissists.

MR: Okay, let’s get back to the Queen of the Body Double Rumors! You're out there performing?

AW: I did standup for about two and a half years and then I segued to commercials. I'm not out there anymore. Part of me really wants to go back out now, I'm not going to lie. But I'm also a stay-at-home mom and I just started this acting and comedy thing four years ago because I had a mid-life crash. To go out right now, it's just too much.

MR: Should you right here and now start some more body double rumors about anyone else around Trump?

AW: [laughs] How funny would that be?

MR: Okay, what about this...who around Trump wish they could get their own body double?

AW: Oh my God! Secretary of State Tillerson?

MR: The comedians are having a good time with the concept of the body double, but where do you think this is heading? Are you happy with how your post’s popularity snowballed?

AW: For me, I can die a happy woman if Saturday Night Live does a skit! Then I'm like, "All right, I'm good." I wanted to call Lorne Michaels and say, "Hey, I would fly out if you want me to be part of this sketch."

MR: And are other people trying to take credit for this?

AW: Oh, absolutely! There was a man who reposted my video and my photos, which I thought was hysterical. If you're going to create your own theory, use your own photos! But he used my video because I'm the only one who recorded it from the television and then he had the audacity to say, "And look, the camera man zoomed in!" Well, I'm the one who zoomed-in—the cameraman didn't zoom-in. I was zooming-in on my television, which is why the clarity wasn't perfect, but he evidently is a medical marijuana owner in Vegas and his tweet went viral four days later. I learned my lesson, to not allow embedding from a YouTube video.

MR: Yeah, but then they'll take a video of your video.

AW: Oh, that's true.

MR: What did you say when you reached out to him?

AW: You know what I said? "Imitation is the greatest form of flattery." I thanked him! I said, "You know what, buddy? If it wasn't for you, maybe it wouldn't have gone as viral as it did. It's up to eighteen-million views on my Facebook page, and it's up to one hundred forty-two-thousand shares. I posted it on my personal Facebook page and then a friend said, "Hey I want to share this, it's too good!" I said, "Okay, I'll make it public, then you can share it," and that was the ticket. I had never in my life made anything public on my Facebook page.

MR: Nice first share. So if you were going to create a skit out of this, what would it be?

AW: I would clone everyone in the cabinet and just say everyone has a body double.

MR: Ha! Maybe it will turn out the president is really Alec Baldwin and this is all a skit gone horribly wrong.

AW: Yes, that would be really funny.

MR: So do you think what you've done was used as a force for good?

AW: I think it was a breath of fresh air, to be honest. I think it was something that went viral because instead of talking about him, it gave us something else to talk about. Personally, I didn't want to watch him, so I said, "I'd rather watch her," and when I started to watch her, I said, "What's wrong with this picture?"

MR: Hopefully, this can launch your career in whatever direction you want creatively.

AW: I don't know...who knows what it's going to lead to. I think a lot of people just had fun creating the conversation. It really wasn't political anymore. People were talking about her split ends, why the big sunglasses...it was nothing political. The marijuana guy from Vegas was the one who started this whole political storm of "the White House is creating lies." He took it to the extreme and I think he actually got a couple of death threats, whereas mine was more of a funny observation. We as comedians make observations. "I'm just going to throw this out there and I want you to tell me what you think," and then everybody decided to tell us what they thought, and everybody was tweeting about it. Look at the woman who put the Chewbacca mask on and it went viral. You never know. You don't know what's going to start a firestorm, and this little snowball turned into an avalanche. It's like the the game telephone. One person tells another person, and so on.

MR: I ask every artist I interview, "What advice do you have for new artists?" In your case, I'd say, "What advice do you have for Melania Trump?"

AW: First of all, I feel so sorry for her. I really do. The woman never smiles when she's next to him.

MR: But have you ever seen him smile except for when he poses?

AW: Exactly.

MR: What's your future beyond Guantanamo after this interview?

AW: [laughs] There needs to be a sitcom somehow around this. I'm not quite sure how, but I feel a sitcom.

MR: Aren't we watching one now?

AW: There you go. It's Veep.

MR: Andi, which women are you looking up to these days?

AW: I love and admire Michelle Obama. She remained classy and intelligent and smart and insightful, her whole pitch about health and diet and education for children. She did so much in the amount of time that she was there with Barack Obama, she was such a reflection of him. The two of them were good together. Behind every good man is a better woman.

Transcribed by Galen Hawthorne

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