John Di Domenico has been playing Donald Trump longer than anyone else – except Trump himself. By Jordan Kisner
John Di Domenico looks nothing like Donald Trump: he’s 17 years younger, several inches shorter and a natural brunet, though lately he keeps his head shaved to make putting on the coppery wig easier, and his eyebrows bleached to match. Becoming Trump requires a full hour of hair and makeup. He tapes three large photographs of the president, one in profile and two straight-on, to any mirror he’s using, and then uses Ben Nye CoCo Tan foundation to turn his skin the requisite shade of atomic tangerine, dabs on wrinkles, lengthens his nose, and so on. Trump has “quite a big head,” but there’s not much anyone can do about that.
Even with the elaborate costume, Di Domenico’s physical resemblance to the president requires a little imagination – but of the many people who “do” Trump, his take is the most uncanny. It’s the voice. He recreates the uncommon way that Trump, to use Di Domenico’s phrase, “speaks from his teeth”; the wild fluctuations of nasality; the inconsistent New York accent; the sibilant “S”s and exaggerated vowels. He has also mastered the neck jerk, the squint, the off-tilt swagger. When Conan O’Brien and Chelsea Handler needed a Trump for their late-night talk shows, they called Di Domenico, and he has also become a regular on Fox News’s morning talk show.