Chris McAfee: Behind the Costume

image02Chris McAfee was born on January 13th, 1998, around 2 am.    He never went to preschool– he started in kindergarten.   He was diagnosed with autism at the age of ten, eight years ago.  

In middle school he started dressing up. “I first started doing this around seventh or eighth grade by becoming Michael Jackson, then after a couple of years it got old and I started doing other people,” he said.

After a couple years he got bored and started doing other movie characters. He puts a whole bunch of pictures up on a screen and usually plays “eenie-meenie-minee-moe”– that’s how he picks.  

Chris watches movies over and over.  He is working on watching breaking bad– it has been hard for him to watch it since the series ended years ago.  Chris watches the small details in movies. When the character sneezes, he sneezes the way they do it.  For his props? “I buy them mostly from ebay or thrift shops,” he said.

He has retired from dressing as Michael Jackson. After two years the makeup started to itch, and so did his costume. Now he is working on imitating other characters like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. He has also dressed up as different teachers, like Keith Garrett, Brian Albee, and Brian Slopey.  

image01After he is done for the day, he goes home and takes off all his make up. Then he works on the next character for the next day.

Chris thinks he has matured since seventh grade. He is the only 18 year old celebrity impersonator in Vermont. He is working on a voice that is hard for him to do, that of Arnold Schwarzenegger. When he did Jim Henson, he took one of his Kermit frogs and took all the stuffing out. He made it into a puppet so he could maneuver it around and talk like Kermit.

One time Chris was an actor named Joe Pesci. Everyone in his backup TA was talking. When he did Joe’s voice, everyone laughed– they said he did it very well.

He plans to make a career out of acting. His favorite character he has done was Frank Sinatra because Chris likes his baritone voice. He has a natural deep voice so he can do most men’s voices.   On May 4th he was Prince, who died this spring. On May 8th he was Willie Nelson.

Chris is going to do an auto-documentary about himself and how he dresses up every day, so he makes it a mystery of who he is going to be. Chris says he has been in so many characters that he forgets what the real Chris looks like.   

When Chris talks he makes the character he is portraying come alive.

The Klingon he's attempting to learn.

The Klingon he’s attempting to learn.

“I am trying to learn klingon. I have been fascinated with it for years,” he said.

When Chris is a character he becomes the character.