A performer's road to stardom often is paved with a slew of dead-end jobs while waiting for that elusive big break.
Instead of working in a series of menial tasks to make ends meet, former Martinez resident Amanda Olliff awaits her big break while imitating one of pop music's biggest icons.
"Friends have told me I look like Britney Spears," said Olliff, a 26-year-old Lakeside High School graduate now living in Las Vegas. "I began to think maybe they could be on to something.
"Vegas has a lot of impersonators. I went out and bought every video Britney had ever done. I started learning some of her songs. I then realized I could get something together and go somewhere with this."
After she mastered a routine, Olliff made her own Spears-inspired costumes, left her parents' Jones Creek home in January 2002 and headed for the bright lights of Vegas.
After she arrived, Olliff took some modeling and acting jobs, including a nationally televised commercial for NASCAR and United Parcel Service, featuring Wayne Newton, before booking her first Spears impersonation gig.
"It's always been my dream to be a professional singer," Olliff said. "Being a Britney impersonator gives me the money I need to work on being a solo recording artist."
Olliff's impersonation skills also have given her an opportunity for national television exposure. The View, which airs locally on WJBF-TV (Channel 6) weekdays at 11 a.m., will feature Olliff on Monday during a special live show from Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.
"They are featuring three impersonators," Olliff said. "It's me, an Elvis and a Cher. It's a beautiful area where they're going to be doing the show, and it's live. There's no room for any mess-ups. I only get 40 seconds to do my song, so it's got to be perfect.
"I'm doing Oops, I Did it Again, which I can sing with feeling," she joked.
With a six-song Spears routine, Olliff has performed for corporate functions, at famed Vegas casino Harrah's, Mandalay Bay, Studio 54, on a riverboat casino in Louisiana and at Augusta nightclub Last Call.
While being successful impersonating the pop princess, Olliff harbors dreams of singing stardom.
"I want to do country-rock music," she said. "I'm putting together a demo now. I want to be a little more dance-oriented than most country singers you see these days. I want to incorporate movement into my music and my songs."
"My goal is to be a solo artist with hopes and dreams of getting picked up by a record label, getting signed and hearing myself on the radio."
Being Spears may help herachieve her goal, Olliff said.
"Impersonating Britney has actually helped my vocal abilities," she said. "Part of the job in trying to successfully impersonate someone is sounding like them, which isn't that easy. I trained my voice to sound like her, and it's improved my range for when I'm doing my stuff, and it's really strengthened my dancing abilities."
Performing is in her blood, Olliff said. Her sister is former Miss Georgia Shea Olliff, whom she used to attend vocal training classes with.
Despite big league dreams, Olliff said it's also a dream come true to simply make a living as a singer.
"I always wanted to be a performer," she said. "Growing up I was always singing. I think I came out of the womb singing."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.