An Afghan talent show contestant’s striking resemblance to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has turned him into an unlikely celebrity in the war-torn country – and potentially given him the winning edge.
Abdul Salam Maftoon, a wedding singer from a village in the remote and impoverished northeastern province of Badakhshan, had never even heard of his more famous doppelgänger until a judge on the popular television music contest Afghan Star pointed out the uncanny likeness.
Slightly built with a long face and dark brown hair and eyes, Maftoon, 29, hopes the flattering comparison to the politician widely rated as one of the sexiest leaders in the world will bring him more votes on Afghanistan’s version of American Idol.
“People have forgotten my name and now they just call me ‘Justin Trudeau’,” Maftoon told AFP, his self-conscious smile revealing two gold-plated front teeth.
“I didn’t know anything about Justin Trudeau until I saw the photos on social media. “The resemblance has boosted my chances of winning the competition by 50 percent.”
Composite photos of the pair – Maftoon wearing a hat favored by men in northern Afghanistan and Trudeau in Western-style clothing – have drawn scores of comments on Facebook.
And a video of an Afghan Star panel discussion about their physical similarities has been viewed tens of thousands of times.
“Trudeau’s lost twin,” wrote Neila Abdulzadah on Facebook.
Fowzia Zereh posted: “I think their story is like a Bollywood movie – they were separated at birth and he found his lost twin brother.”
Another said: “This is truly the copy of Trudeau. I’d love to see our Trudeau win this year’s Afghan Star.”
– ‘Next Justin Bieber’ – Maftoon has a good chance.