Stephanie Oyen is not Elizabeth Warren.
But try telling that to a crowd of fans gathered to see the U.S. senator and 2020 presidential candidate at a town hall at Macalester College on Monday evening.
Oyen arrived at the rally wearing a blue blazer and clear glasses — her Elizabeth Warren costume from Halloween — as a lark.
“I thought it would get some giggles,” said the Edina resident. “Then people started yelling, ‘Senator Warren!’ People were clapping and running up to me to take photos. I kept saying ‘I’m not her!’ but I looked up and hundreds of people were staring at me.”
“It got weird very fast,” said Oyen, whose short blond hair is nearly identical to Elizabeth Warren’s cropped cut. “I talk with my hands and shake my head, which only made me look more like Elizabeth Warren. I was saying ‘I’m not her!’ but I could have been saying ‘Medicare for all!’ ”
Oyen says she eventually ditched the blue blazer and the glasses and “hid behind a tall guy” because she felt sorry for confusing people.
Even a few staffers with Warren’s campaign did a double take when they glimpsed Oyen.
“I’m not a prankster,” she said. “I really thought people would know, but then they started running up and saying ‘You’re my hero!’ and taking photos. I felt so bad.”
She put the blazer and glasses back on when she lined up with hundreds of supporters to take a selfie with Warren, a regular feature of her town hall meetings. When Warren came face to face with Oyen, the candidate’s immediate reaction was unclear.
“I couldn’t tell if she recognized I was dressed like her or if she thought, ‘Here’s a weird lady dressed like a stereotypical politician,’ ” said Oyen.
Then Warren pointed at her outfit and said, “We need to talk!”
Oyen got her photo with Warren and was called back for a second photo a few minutes later. “I guess the staffers wanted a picture,” she said.
Drama aside, Oyen said she is glad she went to hear Warren speak.
“People were teary-eyed. She’s their hero. It was really inspiring.”
The experience solidified her support for the candidate, she said. Though she might think twice before slipping on that blue blazer again.