In the Stand-In Central Tips & Tricks Blog, we’ve covered the topic of presidential stand-ins before. As recently as 2016, we covered presidential candidate stand-ins for debate preparation. We’ve also covered stand-ins for the television pre-production of presidential debates.
More to the point, we’ve covered stand-ins in United States presidential inaugurations. Upon the inauguration of Donald J. Trump at the 45th president on January 20, 2017, presidential stand-ins are in the news again!
Donald Trump’s Inauguration Stand-In and the Other Inauguration Second-Teamers
As reported on the January 15th broadcast of the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, there were stand-ins for both the president-elect Trump and vice president-elect Mike Pence, their wives, and other key inauguration figures at a rehearsal of the 58th Presidential Inauguration on January 15th. Military service members performed the duties of stand-ins rather than SAG-AFTRA television stand-ins.
Among the members of second team were Greg Lowery as the stand-in for Donald Trump, Sara Corry as the stand-in for Melania Trump, Neil Ewachiw as the stand-in for Mike Pence, and Leigh Ann Hinton as the stand-in for Karen Pence. Close in age to his first-teamer, Charlie Blunt — notably, the son of senator Roy Blunt, who chairs the 58th Presidential Inauguration Committee — stood in for Trump’s son Barron.
Casting the Stand-Ins
In order to land their high-profile jobs as stand-ins, the second-teamers reportedly had to interview for the position. (Except possibly Senator Blunt’s son Charlie.)
ABC News reported on the noticeable difference in hairstyle between Trump and his stand-in. Greg is a vocalist in the Army band Pershing’s Own who sported a closely cropped military cut rather than the longer, trademark hairstyle sported by Trump. According to Greg, hair wasn’t the most important factor in being selected as Trump’s stand-in. Rather, it was his similar height.
USA Today reported that there were other factors in choosing stand-ins. While gender mattered in the casting of the stand-ins for some figures represented in the inauguration rehearsal, gender mattered less for other figures. Also, “military bearing” (appearance up to military standards) played a role in casting stand-ins. Furthermore, because Greg and Neal were vocalists, their ability to enunciate played a role in their getting their stand-in jobs.
Stand-In Gear Worn at the Inauguration Rehearsal
As seen before in a prior rehearsal for Barack Obama’s inauguration, the stand-ins in the latest rehearsals wore full sheets of paper to label and identify the first-teamer for whom they were standing in.
Color cover seems to have been more the obligation of the stand-in than the production. Greg says he brought his own red tie, a fashion statement commonly attributed to Trump. In dressing as Trump’s wife Melania, Sara sported a white coat and new pumps she had just purchased. She did this to better approximate Melania’s height not just for the cameras but also for the height of the microphones.
Additional Video of the Presidential Inauguration Stand-Ins
There is a nice amount of video documenting the second-team rehearsal for the inauguration.
Here’s a piece with video put together by USA Today interviewing the stand-ins and showing some behind-the-scenes footage of the inauguration rehearsal:
Here’s more footage of the rehearsals with the inauguration stand-ins, provided by ABC News:
Here’s some raw video from the Associated Press about the stand-in rehearsal:
One reporter had this to say at the end of the inauguration rehearsal:
Inauguration over. Well, the rehearsal at least. pic.twitter.com/W7PthSSYEy
— Jessica Gresko (@jessicagresko) January 15, 2017
Did you work as a stand-in on the 2017 Presidential Inauguration rehearsal? What was your experience like? Share your anecdotes in the comments below!