Young mother spends 12,000 on making herself NOT look like EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy
Most women who are told they look like a celebrity would feel rather flattered.
But when Cassie Smith was constantly compared to actress Natalie Cassidy – she spent 12,000 on a make-over.
Ever since her schooldays, Cassie has been told she is a dead ringer for the EastEnders star, who has played Sonia Fowler in the show on-and-off since 1993.
Separated at birth Cassie Smith, left, is a dead ringer for EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy
The mother-of-five has been pestered for autographs, begged for behind-the-scenes details of Albert Square – despite having her cut her hair to curb the cases of mistaken identity.
She has spent 3,460 on hairstyles, 6,000 on clothes and 2,160 on make up over the last ten years to make herself look as different from the actress as possible.
Cassie, 29, from Dorset, said: “Ever since I was little I have been told I look like Natalie Cassidy.
“I”ve never seen the resemblance myself and I don”t want to be mean about her because I actually quite like her, but being compared to Natalie is ruining my life.
Cassie has spent 3,460 on hairstyles, 6,000 on clothes and 2,160 on make up over the last ten years to make herself look as different from the actress as possible
“I”ve lost count of how many times I”ve been asked whether I play the trumpet.”
Cassie, who is mother to Leah, 11, Connor, nine, Matilda, five and two-year-old twins Jenson and Jemima, lives in the village of Corfe Mullen with her partner Mark Barber, a 35-year-old mechanic.
A full-time mother, she was born in London and brought up in the Isle of Wight before moving to Dorset four years ago.
But despite the great lengths she has taken, there is no denying Cassie still bears an uncanny resemblance.
She said: “I am an EastEnders fan and I”ve always enjoyed watching the character of Sonia.
“I think I probably paid more attention to her than anyone else because of the constant comparisons.
The mother-of-five has been pestered forautographs, begged for behind-the-scenes details of Albert Square and has even had to cut her hair to curb the cases of mistaken identity
“Ever since I was little I”ve tried to be a bit eccentric with my hair and to make my clothes stand out so that people won”t keep comparing me to her, but nothing seems to work. Even my nan called me Sonia because she knew it wound me up.
“I spend about 40 on my hair every six weeks, 50 a month on clothes and 30 a month on make-up but no matter what I try people still think I look like her.”
Natalie Cassidy joined EastEnders in 1993 as Sonia Jackson, the trumpet-playing socially awkward misfit daughter of show regular Carol Jackson.
After leaving the iconic BBC soap in 2007, Cassidy pursued a career in TV presenting and has starred in her own reality show, Natalie Cassidy: Becoming Mum about the birth of her first child, Eliza.
She has revisited EastEnders on three occasions for short stints but has more recently become known for her weight and body image issues, appearing in magazines to discuss her yo-yo weight loss and breast enhancement.
In May of this year, Cassidy”s boyfriend Adam Cottrell was charged with two offences of assault and two charges of criminal damage after he punched her microwave and beat her with a slipper during a row.
The shocking assault came just days after Cassidy gave a gushing interview about the couple”s post-baby sex life.
And while Cassie”s life is a world away from that from her famous lookalike, the actress”s tumultuous private life has meant she has rarely been out of the papers in recent years.
Cassie said: “Everyone knows who Natalie Cassidy is. When she kicked Adam Cottrell out, a woman in the doctor”s waiting room told me I”d done the right thing and I should be proud of myself for not putting up with a scumbag.
“I tried to tell her that I wasn”t Natalie, but she just sort of winked at me and said “Your secret is safe with me.”
“I didn”t know what to do so I just tried to ignore her.
“When I was younger I got asked about EastEnders constantly. Sonia”s brother had a dog called Well-Ard on the show and people would always ask me, “How”s Well-Ard doing”.
Natalie has been on EastEnders since 1993 but has more recently become known for her weight and body image issues
“As I got older, it just got worse. When I had my daughter at 16, even my consultant said I looked like Sonia. And when I went out to clubs I was always getting groups of lads coming up to me thinking I was her.
“I used to get so annoyed, especially when my ex-boyfriend used to do it. I find it a bit insulting because – without being nasty – I wouldn”t say she was very pretty.
“”Another time, a group of girls in the street begged me for my autograph, shouting out “Sonia! Sonia!”.
“I was with my daughter Leah and it was just so embarrassing. I tried to ignore them but they followed me around the town centre.”
With Cassidy”s public profile greater than ever, Cassie tries her best not be mistaken for the star – often with little success.
Cassie said: “If she gets a distinctive haircut, I make sure to go out and get the exact opposite haircut. I would be mortified to find I had the exact same hair as Natalie Cassidy and I try always to have my own style and not to dress like her.
“Once, when I was younger, I went out and had my hair chopped short and died orange just so I could have a break from being mistaken for her.
“One time I went to the shops and the woman behind the counter simply didn”t understand that I was not Sonia from EastEnders. I think she thought I was the actual character because she was asking me whether I preferred Martin or Jamie.
“She kept asking me loads of things about her and I kept saying, “I don”t know, I”m not her!” It was completely bizarre.”
Cassie has even been told that she sounds like the 28-year-old from Islington, even though she does not have a cockney accent.
Cassie said: “People have often told me I should work as a lookalike but I really don”t think I look like Natalie Cassidy at all.
“Since I”m the only person who can”t see the resemblance, I don”t see the point.”