UK writer tracing dad's NZ footsteps

An English writer, who has made a name impersonating celebrity photographs, is tracing her father's footsteps around New Zealand.

Self-confessed writer-for-hire Nell Frizzell was in Dunedin this week as part of a research trip for articles and a forthcoming novel.

Back home she works as a commissioning editor for an arts magazine and a freelancer for several publications, including The Guardian, Vice, Gracia and ''whoever will have me, really''.

Byline aside, it is for her quirky blog, Goppeldangers, she is perhaps best known.

The site features her impersonating celebrities past and present, including mastering the side-mouth yell made famous by Sylvester Stallone in Rocky, or as Vivienne Westwood or using a bag of oranges to capture Vivienne Westwood's hair.

Then there is the one of her using a piece of bread with a hole in it to capture Ernest Hemingway's facial hair.

The celebrity she looked least like in real life tended to get the biggest reaction from her growing legion of online fans.

While no New Zealander had been given the Frizzell treatment, she had impersonated The Hobbit's Bilbo Baggins.

''I was going to do Pania of the Reef but it would mean getting my norks out, which I was slightly unsure about.''

If her name seems familiar that is because her uncle is artist Dick Frizzell, and Steve Chadwick, a former Labour minister turned Rotorua mayor, is her aunt.

Her father, Bill, grew up in Hastings and left New Zealand as a 20-year-old to travel the world.

''My New Zealand passport renewed, my ticket booked, I am heading to my fatherland to cycle around a foreign country full of people who share my surname and strange nose,'' the 28-year-old wrote in an article for The Guardian earlier this year.

Despite warnings from almost everyone she met, she loved cycling around New Zealand - ''it was a dream''.

That experience was likely to form another article on ''being a single female traveller on a bike''.

Whether coming off her bike and ending up in Dunedin Hospital with concussion makes the cut remained to be seen, she said.

''But I will say New Zealand hospitals are a dream.''

Frizzell has been in the country since January and conceded the trip was also doubling as a taster to see if she could move here permanently.

''I feel an affinity with people that I wasn't expecting,'' she said.

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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