Leo's Bad Luck
"Russian Leo" Thinks It's Time for Leonardo DiCaprio to Settle Down
About 500 million tweets flood Twitter every single day; it can be easy to forget that, technically, a single tweet can change your life. For Roman Burtsev, a 33-year-old emergency dispatcher outside Moscow, it only took 30 characters. This past January, while Leonardo DiCaprio was experiencing peak Oscar buzz for his role inThe Revenantand Burtsev was on vacation, a Russian news site tweeted a photo of him in uniform with the caption: “We found Leo in Russian forces.”
The photo revealed Burtsev as DiCaprio’s uncanny, every-guy doppelganger, and he quickly blew up online as “Russian Leo,” "#RomanDiCaprio," or, in crueler pieces, “” Next came interviews with news outlets around the world and aThe Swan-style reality show on a local Russian TV station,Romance With DiCaprio, in which he took on a “series of psychological challenges” — including re-enacting DiCaprio’s infamousRevenantbear-fight, picking up women at a Russian mall to appropriate DiCaprio’s finesse with Victoria’s Secret Angels, and, uh, getting Botox to more closely resemble the Brando of our time. (The show had a limited run from January until America’s Oscar night in February).
Soon Burtsev was tuxedo-clad, attending the Russian Oscars, and starring in a commercial for Pyat Ozer vodka. He is not to be confused with “Swedish Leo,” 22-year-old model Konrad Annerud, a dead ringer forTitanic-era Leo. With help from a translator, Cosmopolitan.com called Burtsev at his apartment outside Moscow to talk.
How did you first find out you were blowing up online?
Actually, I had put that photograph [the one that was tweeted out] on a dating site back in November. Then, a couple weeks later, I took it down. Then I went on vacation on the 14th of January and some friends of mine started showing me that my photograph was becoming famous. First, I thought somebody was just playing a joke on me. The next day, I saw that [the photo] had, like, tens of thousands of likes.
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