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A U.S. museum made two Justin Trudeau bobbleheads at the request of his ‘cult following’


‘Two versions of the bobblehead are available with one sporting a bearded Trudeau and the other sporting a clean-shaven Trudeau’

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Eventually, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will get an official portrait. Maybe, should his leadership be so exalted, he’ll get a statue on Parliament Hill, or have an airport named after him.

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For now, though, he has a bobblehead, made in his honour at the request of his fans.

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, located in Milwaukee, unveiled on Friday two new Trudeau bobbleheads, so that discerning purchasers may pick their preferred Trudeau.

“Two versions of the bobblehead are available with one sporting a bearded Trudeau and the other sporting a clean-shaven Trudeau,” says a news release from the museum.

Trudeau has had a variety of facial hairstyles over his career, including the time he appeared to have walked straight from the pages of an Alexandre Dumas novel.

Justin Trudeau shows off his Movember moustache in Ottawa, Nov. 30, 2011.
Justin Trudeau shows off his Movember moustache in Ottawa, Nov. 30, 2011. Photo by Jean Levac / Ottawa Citizen

For much of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the era when he was addressing Canadians from the front steps of his home, Trudeau cultivated a scraggly pandemic beard, but he shaved before hitting the campaign trail on the eve of the fourth wave in fall 2021.

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The bobbleheads are individually numbered, up to 2,022, and can only be bought from the museum. They’re expected to ship in May and are $25 apiece, or $45 for the set of two.

The National Post spoke to Phil Sklar, the co-founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum about the Trudeau bobbleheads. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Q: Why is Justin Trudeau getting a bobblehead?

A: We get requests from all over the place, from the U.S., Canada, internationally, for different bobbleheads and we always sort of pay attention to those, and one of the frequently requested bobbleheads is Justin. He has a little bit of a cult following and bobbleheads make a perfect way for people who have a favourite athlete or celebrity or politician to sort of celebrate him.

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Q: Is this the first Trudeau bobblehead?

A: Yes, yep. These are the first ones we’ve done.

Q: Presumably Trudeau didn’t sit down with a bobblehead sculptor, so how did you make it?

A: Yeah, so they basically use pictures, as many pictures as we can get, which is easy for a prime minister, or other famous figures. They’re hand sculpted out of clay. So that process takes some time and we go back and forth and make adjustments until it looks how we want it to look and then it’s painted and we make some adjustments there as well.

During that process, we started to ask several people whether we should do beard or no beard and we got sort of a mix. And at the time we started it, he had a beard and we were just going to go with the bearded version, but then he shaved the beard off. We decided to offer two so people can get their favourite or both, if they prefer.

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Q: Why is the beardless one more photorealistic?

A: We’re still finalizing the head … so that’s an artist’s rendering of what it’ll look like with the beardless version. We expect to have pictures in of the beardless version later this month.

A new bearded Trudeau bobblehead, right, and an artist’s impression of what the clean-shaven version will look like, left.
A new bearded Trudeau bobblehead, right, and an artist’s impression of what the clean-shaven version will look like, left. Photo by The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum

Q: Trudeau is controversial and his popularity has waned. Do you still get a lot of requests?

A: Politicians, the popularity can be sort of a rollercoaster. And, ideally, we probably would have loved to produce it at the peak of (Trudeau’s) popularity, but we just weren’t really producing a lot of, like, political or, that sort of bobblehead, at the time, and now we’ve gotten more into the mainstream political bobblehead.

We still get a lot of requests from people who, I think, for lack of a better term, just think he’s cute and they like him for that reason. But then there’s quite a few people who still like him as a person or politician.

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Q: Trudeau is famously fond of costumes, but here he’s in a blue suit. Why that choice?

A: So it is something that we could definitely do future versions of if we continue to see interest and this one goes well. We definitely have some fun with some of the political bobbleheads and people in the past have had fun with doing different versions. Once we release new ones, too, we’ll get more people saying, “Oh, yeah, you should do this one or that one.” So there might be some requests for different costumes.

• Email: tdawson@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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