What is a Living Mannequin

Description of what a living mannequin is

by - 19/07/2015

This is a typical stand set-up at a trade show. But there is a difference here, one of the mannequins is not what it seems to be. It is a guy made up to look like a mannequin.

The point of this at these sort of events is to make an impression on people. If an inanimate mannequin suddenly came alive as you were walking past, or when you were examining some clothing it was wearing, you would not forget the experience in a hurry.

How it Works

This type of performance can be described in many ways human or living mannequin (manikin, manekin) and even freeze modelling; and has its roots in "Tableau Vivant", which was a popular form of entertainment before radio and television, where paintings or scenes where re-created by actors holding a frozen pose.

In this case our actor will take on the typical pose of a mannequin and stand motionless for long periods. This usually takes place in public areas, typically exhibitions, shopping centres. Some performers can suppress blinking for periods in excess of ten minutes. It is a type of performance art, and is very popular a shopping centres and busy streets in most of the main capital cities of the World.

After being frozen for a while, the living mannequin performer will move, maybe as someone walks past, with a subtle wink or smile; this is sometimes enough to cause a look of extreme puzzlement on most people's faces. They start disbelieving their own eyes, "Didn't that dummy just move?", "Did I imagined it?", "It's not blinking, It can't be real", "I must have imagined it"..

I have overheard people making bets at to whether I was real or not.

Very often, a crowd will form, some knowing and others still unsure, but all waiting for that tell-tale blink of an eye, to confirm their suspicions. At this stage the living mannequin performer may do something to entertain the crowd; in my experience, if you make then wait too long they will get bored and walk away.

It is also possible to be too good at being a living mannequin or statue, and for people not to realise and just walk past. I have perfected this to such an extent that I have been carried and loaded onto the back of lorries, dressed and positioned by people, totally unaware that they are dealing with a real human being.

For practical purposes, it is necessary to give the audience some clue that you are not a real mannequin or statue, so that they are drawn into the performance and become interested in trying to work out what they are seeing.

Practical Uses

Mannequin man can be used at

Mannequin-Man on YouTube