It all started when Denise took on the role of Captain Jack for her own family Halloween event in 2003. Many who saw her were astounded with her uncanny resemblance to that of Johnny Depp himself.
Having been told on several occasions, Denise decided to take a chance by enhancing and perfecting the attire and taught herself the art of make-up and the techniques of sewing over the following 4 years.
She then took on Jack’s mannerisms and worked hard on the visual aspect of the character.
During these years of improvement and study, Denise’s family would join her for those bigger events to pose as individual characters from POTC: her husband, (Barbossa), daughter, (Will Turner and Angelica Teach), son, (Ragetti) and herself as Captain Jack, have entertained crowds and strutted decks of vessels such as the Lady Washington known as the British brig ‘Interceptor’ in “Curse of the Black Pearl”, and The Bounty as the ‘Black Pearl’ in “Dead Man’s Chest”. They have been invited to an incredible party to be a part of a gun battle between the Lady Washington and its sister ship the Hawaiian Chieftain, along with a dinner feast fit for a hungry pirate and fireworks as a finale of the evening.
The Captain Jack character has brought Denise to the ‘HIGH SEAS’, if you will. Private ship invites, Tall Ship gun battles, parades, numerous fundraisers for BC Children’s Hospital, Boat for Hope Kids, Cancer fundraisers, festivals, parties, private dinner functions, newspapers, brochures, media interviews, billboard, just to name a few.
During her travels she has met some fascinating people, ie., some who have graced the sets of POTC during filming, other impersonators in Vegas, noteworthy painters, numerous photographers, News reporters, some who have met Johnny Depp on 21 Jump Street (Vancouver), members of the Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission, the Premiere of BC ~ John Horgan and more. Being a female emulating a male character, does not seem to have hindered the image of the spirited and nefarious character of Captain Jack! In fact, if anything, it has intrigued the “SENSES” of both men and women.
Born in the same year as Johnny Depp, (1963) Denise has been a fan of his for years and grew up watching him on 21 Jump Street, (filmed in Vancouver, BC). Now he is one of the more integral and prestigious actors of all time and graces the screen with such finesse taking pride in each and every character he portrays.
She has extended her interest and dabbled in the dark and vengeful character of Sweeney Todd along with the more colourful, quirky and yet spirited character of the Mad Hatter.
She was asked several years later since the start of her portrayal of Jack, if she had ever tried looking like Johnny Depp himself.
Unsure if she could hide her feminine facial and physical attributes, she tentatively took on the task, and was able to produce a strong enough resemblance to convince the public that they had indeed seen the real Johnny. To be sure, she took an entourage of people with her as she walked the streets of downtown Victoria during the start of her Johnny Depp transformation having them report back to her whether she indeed was able to at least confuse the public, noting the reactions of the crowd. Sneaking photos was definitely a suggestion that those certain individuals thought they saw Johnny Depp, along with a hostess at a restaurant marking a table reservation “Johnny Depp” then scurrying for fast seating arrangements, was another positive indication.
“The beauty of emulating the actual icon, is there are no set rules with already in place “pre-set” attire (ie. Sparrow and Hatter), along with no real guidelines. Although there is one rule, and that is to remain respectful of the icon himself. As difficult as it is to be another person, (especially a woman trying to be a man), the freedom in this case is to be able to chose clothes that suite the body type which gives me a better chance of accuracy to look like Mr. Depp, or rather, at least a man”, states Denise.
She is quite pleased with her attempts of the icon himself. “Before applying any make-up, I look upon myself as a blank canvas. Trying to look like someone else or any sort of character, is truly a form of art. Mr. Depp is not just an incredible actor, but also renowned for his talent to shape shift, much like a chameleon.”
As she enjoys the ride, Denise can only hope her journey continues and takes her to new heights and places she has yet to explore.
Her latest endeavour, (a part of her journey she will never forget), on August 22, 2017, while filming “Richard Says Goodbye”, actors and crew graced the grounds of Hatley Manor, Royal Roads University for 2 – 3 days. Denise was honoured a brief visit with Johnny Depp, the man who inspired her creative side of costuming and performance giving her the chance to give back to her community, smiles, spirit, entertainment and a helping hand to those in need.