TikTok’s Viral Mariah Carey Doppelgänger Gives Me Straight-Up Chills

“Oh, I didn’t realize Mariah Carey was on TikTok,” I found myself saying a few nights ago while on my usual Sunday Scaries scroll through the app. Carey does have her own TikTok, but the video I was watching wasn’t actually hers. It was by Aurelio Sanchez, an illusionist who has gone viral multiple times for his scarily accurate impersonation of Carey. 

Every seemingly minuscule detail of Sanchez’s hair and makeup — the cut of the cheekbone, the metallic cut-crease, the exact shade of cool blonde with shadow roots — is a dead ringer for Carey’s signature look, to the point that you could barely tell the difference between the two if you put them in a room together. Naturally, I had to reach out to Sanchez myself to pick his brain about this. 

As he recalls to Allure, Sanchez has always had a penchant for impersonating people and characters. “I believe my celebrity impersonations happened from combining my love for art in all aspects into one — music, painting, acting, and a little magic to make a character come alive,” he explains. He was heavily involved in performing arts throughout high school, but the concept of doing specific celebrity imitations hadn’t clicked with him until one day, at age 18, he acted out a character for his mom and knew what needed to happen from there. “I felt such a surge of happiness I knew that’s what I wanted to continue to evolve.”

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Now, Sanchez is a professional illusionist who gets paid to perform as certain celebrities because his hair and makeup work are just that accurate. He had never impersonated Mariah Carey until a few years ago when an employer of his requested her specifically. “When I read the email, I froze,” he recalls. “I grew up watching this legend but I was terrified because I wanted to make sure I gave it my all.” 

Since then, Carey has become a big muse for Sanchez. “I studied more than I knew about Mariah Carey and discovered not just a beautiful image but a beautiful person that allowed me to grow further admiration and respect for her,” he says of the first time he was asked to perform as Carey. “I have been able to continually develop my illusion through different makeup techniques and acting strategies but above all with my love for her music and beautiful lyrics.”