Most people would give their right arm to hang out with their favorite star, and the fact that celebs now share every detail of their lives on Instagram only makes the pain of not being their buddies all the more acute. But one man decided to put the “what if’s” aside and use his Photoshop skills – and his favorite dinosaur onesie – to see what having showbiz BFFs would actually look like.
While browsing through Instagram, you may have stumbled across a picture like this one of Adele. On the surface, it seems like a run-of-the-mill showbiz photo – but there’s one little dinosaur-shaped detail that makes this snap stand out from the rest.
Here he is again – this time casually chilling with Kylie Jenner and her favorite pooch like it was the most natural thing in the world. Is this mysterious onesie enthusiast every celebrity’s new best friend, or is he in fact the world’s most elaborate photobomber?
In actuality, he’s neither and, believe it or not, these photos aren’t real. They’re the product of an unbelievably talented artist named Lorenz Valentino, who has used his skills with Photoshop to insert himself into the pictures of his favorite stars.
Speaking to Scribol, Valentino – or Dino as he prefers to be called – explained how he came up with the idea. “I was out with one of my Dino friends, when we thought it would be great to get my name out there. It was time for the Dino to be looked up to.”
The 25-year-old model, actor and graphic designer began creating and uploading these doctored photos to his Instagram account near the end of 2015. And – as this post-workout snap of him and Khloe Kardashian shows – he loves to get creative with the type of poses he pulls.
As for the types of celebrity he chooses to cozy up to, Dino admits that he doesn’t really have that much say in the matter. “Usually my friends choose me. I mean they just really want to hang out with me. My friends are just the most popular ones.”
That doesn’t mean he’s beyond the odd celebrity feud, though, and he remarks that there are certain stars he won’t be seen getting friendly with soon. “Selena Gomez and I, for example, don’t get along very well. I’m a Belieber, and Selena, well, isn’t anymore,” he reveals.
With this in mind, we wonder what his thoughts are on Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriends Harry Styles and Calvin Harris. Based on pictures like this, it seems like he’s very much in camp Swift and appears to know her well enough to help her shake off whatever this sticky situation is.
Needless to say, Valentino – who is based in Germany – likes to keep in character even when he isn’t out improving the latest celebrity Instagram posts. For instance, he’s pretty coy about describing the setup he has in his studio and firmly insists that his photos are genuine.
“My setup?” he muses. “Camera, lighting, requisites. Just the usual stuff us models need to be the shiny stars. Sometimes they do Photoshop on us. Even though we’re famous, we happen to have spots and wrinkles every now and then.”
Furthermore, when we brought up the elephant in the room that is his Dino-mite costume, he gleefully replied, “What costume? You know, you don’t really choose what you were born into. If you’re born a human or a dog or horse. I happened to be born a Dino. So here I am!”
And his dedication to his craft has certainly paid off. What’s more, his editing skills are so good that he even has followers fooled on occasion. After seeing one particularly vivid post, an enthusiastic fan commented, “I actually forgot these things were Photoshopped for a second.”
So far, Dino’s plan to get himself out there has been a success: he’s managed to attract more than 25,000 followers on Instagram, over 5,000 likes on Facebook, and his work has been covered by media outlets including Glamour and the U.K.’s Daily Mail.
In addition to his many Instagram makeovers, the ambitious artist likes to take a satirical look at the film world as well. His Instagram and Facebook accounts are filled with famous scenes from the likes of Spectre and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which he improves with a little Dino magic.
Similarly, the fashion world has been Dino-fied: Valentino has additionally sneaked himself onto the covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. He’s even taken a stab at music by ’shopping himself into the controversial music video to Kanye West’s track “Famous.” Fortunately, he decided to keep his costume on.
Dino’s work has been so successful that he’s been able to devote most of his time to creating more content. Or, as he puts it, “My modeling and acting jobs are basically what I do. I’m an It-Dino and that’s what I want to keep doing in the future.”
However, his work isn’t without its downsides; for one, the showbiz world can be pretty hectic. “No job is easy. Being in front of the camera is so hard. Smiling for hours, the heat from the lights, all the people around you,” Valentino laments.
Despite all these inconveniences, though, Dino doesn’t seem to have much to complain about – and his passion for his art means that we’ll be seeing lots more of his work in the years to come. “I now know people like my work, so keep following me and you’ll see more,” he teases.
And with attention-grabbing work like this, Valentino is definitely close to achieving his dream of being “the most famous Dino in the world.” One thing’s for sure, though: we won’t be surprised if his newfound fame will land him in real celebrity photos in the near future.