You are not alone: Michael Jackson double Navi talks to Vibe ahead of show featuring other MJ impersonators
WHEN performer Navi looks at the man in the mirror, the face looking back at him is the King of Pop.
“I have the most famous face in the world and it’s not mine,” the self-proclaimed World’s Number One Michael Jackson Tribute tells Vibe.
For nearly 25 years Navi has dedicated his life to performing as his idol, including hours of rehearsal, study and going under the knife.
He said: “No-one rolls out of bed and looks like Michael. I’ve had surgery, I take it very seriously. It is not a job to me, it is a dream. I do it because I love Michael Jackson’s music.
“There has been a lot of pain and a lot of money.”
Navi will bring his band, backing singers and team of six dancers to the Michael Jackson Spectacular fan event at IndigO2 on October 14, featuring the top MJ impersonators and ties in with the 25th anniversary of Bad and the MJ Cirque Du Soliel Immortal Tour at the O2.
The show promises to be a thriller. Navi said: “You have to bring your a-game.
“Jackson had a full production, a full team, probably 10 times the size of mine. You can’t do it one tenth, you have got to deliver something that people for a moment believe the magic continues.
“Last week I knocked off four kilos in four days. I have pinpointed October 14 to take me back to the shape I was when I performed another big event a few years ago.
“I’m gunning for October 14.”
That's quite a statement of intent from someone whose off the wall career has taken him around the world, performing in front of 30,000 people at this year's Bahrain Grand Prix and even getting a standing ovation from
Jackson himself at the star's birthday party a few years ago.
Navi's obsession started when he arrived in London from Trinidad aged seven in 1979, around the time Don't Stop Til You Get Enough shook the charts.
"He was like a real life superhero to me," Navi said. "It hasn't stopped since.
"It demands full attention in my life.
"I will be buried where he is, I have wardrobes with 150 to 200 costumes. My whole place is Jackson.”
Despite his obsession and cosmetic work, Navi insists he can still pop to Tesco anonymously and wouldn't like to be his idol.
He drew the line at getting his own Bubbles the chimp, too.
He said: "I was scared of the monkey beating me up. I did try to get a hand monkey but they get violent too."
Navi was lucky enough to meet MJ several times - he travelled to his trials to stand outside the court room with a sign that said 'smooth but not a criminal' - and was even invited to his Neverland ranch.
He said: "Going to Neverland was probably the most insight I had into him - real animals, theme park, bumper cars, eating a barbecue, going in the cinema - I realised this guy had created Disney World meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets the Yellow Brick Road."
Navi's resemblance even led to work as a decoy.
He said: "There was one time when 2,500 people were chasing me in Thailand. I thought I would probable die that day.
"The police and security team had to block the area off and call more police.
"We ran out into a van and a crazy fan grabbed onto the vehicle and started shouting 'Michael, Michael'"
Navi sad his 25 years working as Michael Jackson means he probably no longer needs to work, but he's not ready to hang up the glove yet.
He said: "The journey has been unbeleivable. Imagine waking up and going to work and getting butterflies at every job. Then you know it is not a job, it is dream."
The Michael Jackson Spectacular fan event is at IndigO2 from 1pm on Sunday, October 14. Tickets cost from £19.50. Go to mjspectacular.com.