A BAFTA-winning artist is looking for an alternative Nicola Sturgeon lookalike after the First Minister’s dramatic transformation left her original doppleganger looking off the pace.
Alison Jackson is famed for her irreverent and risqué photographs depicting the rich and famous in compromising situations – including a near-naked Duchess of Cambridge draped in an ermine cape admiring herself in a gilded mirror.
She had auditioned 20 potential Nicola Sturgeon doubles in April for a series of satirical political photoshoots.
But unlike any of her male counterparts in Holyrood or Westminster, Ms Sturgeon is judged by fashionistas to have radically altered her appearance presenting a new glamorous and toned version of herself and causing Jackson to ditch her somewhat sturdier models.
A svelte and blonde-highlighted Ms Sturgeon, dressed in form-fitting suits with a cinched waist – often from Edinburgh boutique Totty Rocks – and teamed with vertiginous heels is a far cry from her more functional image of just a few months ago.
However Jackson, who insists she admires Ms Sturgeon’s political talent and ability to engage with the public, said the new image had thrown her own plans into disarray.
I had five Margaret Thatchers and ten Tony Blairs. I also have a very good Alex Salmond. But I never really found a good Gordon Brown and Nigel Farage proved a nightmareAlison Jackson
“Her style transformation has been great for her – but bad for me. I had about 20 people come forward from the first appeal and some were promising but as soon as I got close to choosing one, Nicola went and changed her look,” said Jackson.
“She has really glammed herself up. She looks great. I like her. She reminds me of a Scottish midge – small but full of bite. Very nippy behind the smile.
“She has lots of qualities – very bright, down to earth and straight to the point. People engage with her. I think she is going to be a major figure in British politics, not just Scottish, for some considerable time, and that’s why I’m desperate to find the right lookalike.
Jackson, who last year brought her show “La Trashiata” opera to Summerhall at the Edinburgh Fringe, added: “It is a pity she changed her look because I had somebody who was very close to her. Now I have to start all over again, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
“I found somebody I could use from the back for the General Election shots with Ed Miliband, but I need a double for the new Nicola.
“I also like the way she is very incisive and clinical with her analysis, almost forensic. She is more Nicola the surgeon than Nicola Sturgeon.
“I had five Margaret Thatchers and ten Tony Blairs. I also have a very good Alex Salmond. But I never really found a good Gordon Brown and Nigel Farage proved a nightmare.
“It just shows that people are happier owning up to looking like some people but not others.”
The photographer, who earned a Bafta for her BBC Two series Double Take, added: “I searched for six years to find a Gordon Brown and failed. I just hope that I have more luck with Nicola.”
Dr Mary Brown, a former lecturer in psychology at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, said there was huge interest in the “Nicola Sturgeon story line” and that Jackson’s work fed that appetite.
“Nicola Sturgeon is seen as someone who has fought her way to the top and is now taking on world leaders.
“When she was second in command, people were only interested in her when she was saying something political. But now she’s leader, everyone wants a bit of her and her appearance has come under scrutiny.
“Celebrities, royalty and powerful politicians like Sturgeon have replaced the gods and goddess of the Ancient Greeks. There is almost an obsession with who they are and what they look like.
“People are comparing them with archetypal mythical figures in their head even if they are not aware of what they are doing.
“Sturgeon knows what she is doing, what image she wants to get across. She is leading a very stressful life and wants to look good.”