Shania Twain superfan wins audiences, loses boyfriends
Stephen L. Betts
Jason Merritt/Getty Images Photo: Video by YouTube
There are fans and there are superfans -- and then there's Saskia Vese of Derbyshire, England, whose obsession with global superstar Shania Twain has cost her an estimated $8,000 in music and merchandise over a 15-year period. It all started in 1998, thanks to Shania's bare midriff.
"When I saw the video for 'That Don’t Impress Me Much,' I was amazed," Vese tells the U.K.'s Daily Mail. "People were obsessed with the fact she dared to show her midriff, which was very unusual for a country and western star at the time. I admired the fact she went against convention and was determined to be herself. It was something I wanted to emulate."
After seeing a Shania tribute act at a local bar that didn't impress her much, Vese says she realized, "I could do a better job." She soon began collecting Shania-inspired outfits -- including the famous leopard-print trench coat from the 'That Don't Impress Me Much" clip. "I wanted my act to be perfect," she explains. "A singing teacher taught me how to fix my singing voice to sound just like her."
Not only did she take her act to venues in England and Spain, she began introducing herself to strangers as Shania, even begging her mother to call her by that name. "She just laughs at me and refuses though," she acknowledges.
Although the tribute act has fed her creative side, the 32-year-old, who runs an online fashion store, says her Shania-mania has made her relationships difficult. "With every boyfriend I've had, there came a point where there were three people in the relationship. I suppose men want to feel as if they’re at the center of my attention, but I've never been able to give them that because I’m too creative and driven. I don’t want to compromise being myself."
Her most recent boyfriend, Brad Schooner, says he thought the Shania obsession was a phase Saskia would grow out of, but that eventually he gave up. "It was a real shame," he says. "Saskia is such a beautiful women inside and out, but the Shania obsession was so constant it freaked me out. ... I miss Saskia, but I don’t miss Shania."
The next stop for Vese is Las Vegas, where Shania's performance residency at Caesars Palace continues.