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Tue January 28, 2014
Chaz Rorick Is A Class President — 44 Of Them, In Fact
Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 6:55 pm
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Our 44th president is giving the annual State of the Union address today, one man with great responsibility. Now, Chaz Rorick, a high school junior in Rochester, New York, has comparatively little responsibility and yet he has stepped into the shoes of all 44 presidents of the United States.
He's elevated the much overused selfie - self portraits taken with a smartphone - to the level of presidential portraiture. His Instagram account is filled with pictures of himself matching the poses of each occupant of the Oval Office. And Chaz Rorick joins us now from his school. Hello, Chaz.
CHAZ RORICK: Hello.
CORNISH: So how do you get this idea? I'm sure there's better things to do in Rochester in winter.
RORICK: Well, there might not be. It is very cold here. But the inspiration started out as just a project I began on a whim. I saw President Truman on television and I was wearing a tuxedo that night and I thought, hey, it might be fun to take a picture next to Truman because we were wearing similar outfits. And I got a picture that looked very similar to Truman so I put them together for my comparison selfie and the feedback was pretty good when I uploaded it to Instagram.
I didn't think I'd be doing more, but the next day I tried Teddy Roosevelt because he's a personal favorite of mine and the feedback was also good. People thought it was a bit, you know, different, but they liked it.
CORNISH: Let's talk about that one so we can walk through how you do it. First, you have to find a picture. So take Roosevelt, how did you find the picture and then how do you go about finding your costume?
RORICK: I look and see what I think I can handle. The picture of Roosevelt I chose where he's wearing an old pair of glasses and he has his bushy mustache, I realized I had old glasses. For his mustache, I merely cut out a piece of paper, colored it in with a Sharpie and taped it right above my mouth.
CORNISH: So which presidents were the easiest?
RORICK: I think Bill Clinton was pretty easy because the picture I chose of him was him playing the saxophone in a pair of sunglasses. I play saxophone myself and I had sunglasses so each one posed its own challenges.
CORNISH: Okay. But then who was the most difficult.
RORICK: Most difficult. Martin Van Buren was quite tough, due to his outrageous fluffy, white hair. I...
CORNISH: You do a lot with hair, actually.
RORICK: Um-hum. And what I would do is I'd slick down or up my hair with water and it would actually turn out close enough where it was both funny and similar to the president. I think part of the fun of these pictures is not having them exactly correct. They're close, but not completely close.
CORNISH: No, not completely close and we should note, of course, you managed to pull off Barack Obama as well. In that picture the president is sort of throwing his head back in a big broad smile and you do the same. And we should mention you are white so this is actually one of your more convincing comparative selfies, actually.
RORICK: I know. I found this picture and it was light-hearted and it was fun and I thought that would be a really good end to this trend of pictures.
CORNISH: Well, Chaz Rorick, thank you so much for talking with us.
RORICK: Oh, you're very welcome. Thank you for having me.
CORNISH: Chaz Rorick, he's the Rochester, New York, high school student who posed in online selfies as every American president.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.