Mark Leiren-Young and "Kate Upton doppelganger" Ania Korkh. (photo by Tav Rayne)
Mark Leiren-Young and “Kate Upton doppelganger” Ania Korkh. (photo by Tav Rayne)

So just another typical day posing for a photo with Sports Illustrated supermodel, Kate Upton… I mean Ania Korkh, the 22-year-old rhythmic gymnastics coach (and college student) dubbed “Kate Upton’s doppelganger” whose life turned upside down courtesy of a round of super-silliness on the Twittersphere.

Korkh’s friends kept telling her she looked a bit like Upton. So when Korkh saw the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue with the supermodel wearing a parka — a parka that looked a lot like the one Korkh had in her closet — she and a friend decided to have some fun and took their own version of the shot. Then Korkh tweeted the pic to her 78 twitter friends. That’s when the photographer 19-year-old Ariana Sairafi @_asairafi , dared her to DM it to Upton. Korkh hit send.

Then Upton @KateUpton did the same and added the word “amazing” — but Upton has 700,000 plus followers.

Thing is… the Moscow-born Korkh’s joke description of herself — an in-joke for friends — read “mail order bride in training.” So the global tabloid media went into overdrive with the news that Upton had a double and she was a mail order bride. For those of you who haven’t seen or read Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, the Bard played out this plot before…

Now Korkh aka @Huliganjettaa has 7000-plus followers, and that number should jump after she appears on CNN with Anderson Cooper later this week.

My photogapher Tav Rayne @open2om and I sat in the Integral Artists @integral_agency  conference room in Vancouver and watched as a still shell-shocked Korkh joked with her brother, his friend talent agent Nigel Mikoski and Sairafi about the madness, just before she did a Skype interview with ESPN. It’s not often I get to interview a roomful of people with the giggles.

No, she didn’t have a talent agent before this happened — and Mikoski isn’t actually her agent  now — just Korkh’s brother’s ex-roomie and the only person Korkh could think to call when her inbox was flooded with interview requests and marriage proposals.

For a bit more detail here’s the version of the story I did for The Vancouver Sun

And here’s the photo by Sairafi that set this storm in motion.

And my twitter handle


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