Crazy Disguises Celebs Wore To Hide From The Paparazzi

They frighten Kendall Jenner. They drive Alec Baldwin bananas. They antagonize Britney Spears until she beats an SUV with her umbrella. They're the fiendish paparazzi — those infernal industry leeches who pester Hollywood's elite, invade stars' private lives, and sell off their squalid snaps to the lurid tabloids. (Particularly cutthroat photographers can reportedly earn $500,000 a year, according to E! News.)

For celebs, avoiding these shudder-inducing shutterbugs has become something of an art form. A handful of stars will even disguise themselves before heading out in public, all in the hopes of keeping those flashing bulbs at bay. Elaborate masks. Makeshift costumes. Even the occasional doughnut-shaped pillow. In 2010, Kesha rained on the pap's parade by wearing a not-so scary tiger mask. During a trip to Amsterdam in 2016, Justin Bieber tried passing himself off as an ordinary guy; albeit an ordinary guy wearing an extremely fake goatee and wig. Meanwhile, Shia LaBeouf pulled the ultimate Shia LaBeouf in 2014 at the premiere of Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac: He wore a paper bag over his head... much like The Gong Show's Unknown Comic, but more pretentious.

Celebs. In crazy disguises. Evading paparazzi. Game on.

​Kesha was spotted in this wild disguise

Maybe she's born with it. In August 2010, pop star Kesha flitted out of New York's Tracie Martyn Salon and probably gave the paps quite a scare. Clad in cowboy boots and a stripy orange-and-white tiger mask, the "Cannibal" singer looked like she was angling to become the next Frosted Flakes mascot as she made a peace sign and stepped into a cab.

Photographers must have been furious, but editors were clearly delighted. "Who Is That Tiger-Masked Girl?" airily mused an Extra TV headline. The Daily Mail theorized that Kesha was "blushing because she's newly in love" (Her boyfriend at the time was Australian drummer Alex Carapetis.) The Mirror opined that she was simply "living up to [her] wild woman of pop image." Meanwhile, Idolator lazily suspected Kesha was hiding "some blemishes she is going to get corrected." 

It's worth noting that Kesha seems pretty fixated on tigers. In 2013, she posted an Instagram photo wearing an altogether different tiger mask, because she was allegedly "feeling like a saber tooth" that day, as one does. In 2017, Kesha got a "powerful new tattoo" of a roaring tiger on her left hand, according to the Daily Mail. Maybe we should all just back off and let Kesha enjoy her tigers in peace.

​Gas masks, bushy mustaches, and Justin Biebers

If you're trying to slip through a crowd unnoticed, wearing a gas mask is probably not the way to go. Justin Bieber learned that the hard way in 2013 while shopping with friends in London. According to the Daily Mail, he'd take off his headgear when stepping into a store (because he's a gentleman), but immediately put it back on when he went back onto the streets. For that louche, casually post-apocalyptic look, Bieber paired up his kicky gas mask with a leather jacket and a Brooklyn Mets baseball cap. A source told Us Weekly that Bieber and his pal took turns wearing the mask "as a joke to throw off the paparazzi." 

But where was Bieber's buddy when he was running around Amsterdam in a bushy brown wig and exceedingly fake goatee in 2016? According to Elle, Bieber blew his cover by asking a group of girls, "Does this look real?" It didn't help that Bieber was traveling with a man who was clearly his bodyguard. According to the Daily Mail, Bieber failed to go unnoticed by the paparazzi as he popped into a coffee shop and tried to act like a normal.

In the past, Bieber has been seen wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, covering his face with two sofa cushions, and wearing a cowboy kerchief over his face like he was quitting pop music to pursue a career in train robbery.

​Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone hid with heart

It's sweet. It's sophisticated. It's slightly insufferable. It's Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone beating the paparazzi at their own game using handmade signs, their altruistic hearts, and some flawless on-your-feet thinking. 

While taking a walk together in Manhattan in June 2014, the on-again/off-again couple slyly thwarted the paps' flashing cameras by covering their faces with a two-part handwritten note that called attention to some truly worthwhile charities. According to People, Stone's page read: "Good morning! We were eating and saw a group of guys with cameras outside. ... We don't need the attention, but these wonderful organizations do." Garfield's sign promoted several charities such as Youth Mentoring, Autism Speaks, Gilda's Club NYC, and Worldwide Orphans. "Here's to the stuff that matters," the sign said. "Have a good day!"  

This wasn't the first time they busted that particular move. Two years prior, Garfield and Stone held two different signs over their faces, reported BuzzFeed. All this big-heartedness proved contagious in Hollywood circles. While walking her dogs in Brooklyn alongside husband Adam Shulman in 2014, Anne Hathaway held up a note that even name-checked the stars: "Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield had a great idea!" Hathaway urged fans to support Feeding America and World of Children.

Leonardo DiCaprio wears all the disguises

In his ongoing efforts to mislead paparazzi, actor Leonardo DiCaprio has cultivated enough disguises to inspire entire features in Bustle and InStyle. The man has done it all: He's breezily cavorted through Central Park in a ski mask. He's swaddled his head and shoulders inside an enormous closed umbrella while filming The Wolf of Wall Street. He's tried passing himself off as Simply Anybody at The French Open in sunglasses and a cap. He's even wandered Venice in a foreboding black mask. Think Darth Vader, but in sunglasses, eating a slice of pizza. 

Safe to say, the actor isn't a friend of the paps  — even though they clearly love him. "You can never, ever be used to weird people attacking you with flash bulbs at any given moment," DiCaprio griped to E! News. "There is something fundamentally wrong about trying to pull out from a restaurant at night and having 30 people flashing light bulbs in your face..." 

The actor, who reportedly even hires a double to thwart the paps, claims dodging these people is "a complex science ... It's taken years of mastery to avoid those freaky paparazzi ... I got tricks up my sleeve." And not just up his sleeve. DiCaprio has demonstrated he's perfectly willing to turtle up inside a puffy coat. Take that, paparazzi scum.

​Ashley Tisdale tries to look like your average (cup of) 'joe'

Over the years, actress and singer Ashley Tisdale has had some exceedingly bad luck with photographers. They'll eerily follow her through Los Angeles. They'll block her Range Rover when she's trying to leave the gym, inspiring her to shout, "Get out of the way!" Judging by one clip, they'll happily lurk as she takes her mom out to lunch at Patys, gleefully snapping photos as she leaves the restaurant, shielding her face with her purse. Isn't that what we all want at the end of the day?

Back in 2008, one guy allegedly broke into Tisdale's house with a video camera, all in the hopes of getting some exclusive footage of the star. "They don't want middle America to know this is what they do to try and get pictures," she told Access Hollywood (via NBC.) Actually, we're pretty certain the paparazzi doesn't even know where middle America is.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. In 2007, Tisdale was reduced to using her dog, Maui, as a sort of canine shield. Chugging through swarms of photographers at JFK International Airport, Tisdale did her best to hide her face behind her teacup Maltipoo... or, as TMZ put it, she was trying "to go in-dog-nito." Perhaps for her unwavering bravery in the face of paparazzi, Maui was hailed by Radar Online as its "Pet of the Week." 

And when all else fails, go for the Venti iced coffee to provide maximum cover. 

​​Kanye West played coy among fashionistas

Kanye West is a man of many moods and whims. When he's feeling sprightly, the rapper is one of the very few celebrities who actively courts the paparazzi, sharing Uber rides with them, giving them theoretically heartwarming hugs, and even telling them, "You, the paparazzi, you keep me alive. Cause you keep me relevant." He conveyed that particular sentiment to XXL photogs and cameramen in March 2016. 

But like the rest of us, West has his bad days, too. During those dark nights of the soul, he isn't opposed to lashing out at paparazzi. He'll even beat them up, allegedly. Look no further than his brawl with professional shutterbug Daniel Ramos outside LAX in 2013. For that unfortunate event, West was sentenced to 250 hours of community service and 30 days of anger management, according to Rolling Stone

On in-between days, West will half-heartedly disguise himself to try slipping past paps. He's also a fan of cold-weather head coverings. In fact, during Paris Fashion Week in 2013, West attended the Maison Martin Margiela Haute-Couture show concealing his entire face beneath a bright-red ski mask. Hawk-eyed Daily Mail editors noted that the mouth-hole "appeared homemade," with the slash "freshly cut through the wool."

​Katy Perry's tracksuit subterfuge

A pioneer in the fine art of paparazzi dodging, pop star Katy Perry has a knack for taking whatever bits are lying around and turning them into disguises — all at a moment's notice. It's no wonder she does whatever she can to keep photographers at arm's length: In 2014, she was allegedly "stalked" by several men in Australia while taking a walk on the beach, reported BuzzFeed. Perry claims these men said they'd leave her alone only if she gave them "a bathing suit shot." In a tweet, she called their behavior "perverted" and "disgusting."

Perry has cultivated a few strategies for sidestepping such people. Leaving LAX International Airport in October 2014, she concealed her face behind a pillow and crouched behind bodyguards, all while paparazzi sang "Happy Birthday" to her. In 2009, she left Miami International Airport wearing dark shades, a baseball cap, and a particularly unwieldy donut-shaped cushion across her face, according to the Daily Mail. In a tweet, Perry revealed the cushion was purchased at KidRobot NYC and wouldn't fit in her luggage: "When gettin off plane it was the best paparazzi shield," she wrote.

But the pop star's best disguise might be when she's hiding in plain sight — or at least making herself an unappetizing proposition to money-hungry paparazzi. As she told The New York Times in 2017, she'll always wear the same Adidas tracksuit when heading out of the house, thus making potential photographs less salable. 

​Hey, who's under that grocery bag?

Not long ago, Shia LaBeouf seemed at odds with the paps on a daily basis. Back in 2010, the self-consciously mercurial actor had such a pervasive paparazzi problem, his neighbors erected a 120-foot-long wall around their property to keep the grim little parasites at bay. Over the years, he's thrown coffee at the press. He's also pushed paps around at LAX, chased them through parking lots, and flipped them the bird.

In 2014, LaBeouf went high concept with his ongoing war with the press. Around that time, he was busy telling people that his life — or at least his Twitter account — was "meta-modernist performance art," according to The Wrap. In that same heady vein, LaBeouf attended the premiere of Lars Von Trier's sexy snooze-fest Nymphomaniac wearing a large paper bag over his head (via The Independent). To really drive his point home — whatever point that was — LaBeouf wrote across the bag in all-caps: "I am not famous anymore." The actor workshopped a similar look in 2009, wearing a similar grocery bag over his head while taking a walk through Los Angeles.

Peek-a-boo! It's Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman is a great actor, but it'd be a shame if that undermined his true gift to the world: The Tootsie star happens to be a modern master at the game we call "Paparazzi Peek-A-Boo." Over the years, Hoffman's dedication to pranking paps has become the stuff of Hollywood legend, and he's been finding clever new strategies to evade their wide-angle lenses for years. 

Here are some of his greatest hits to date: He'll happily turn the tables on photographers by staring them down through bulky binoculars. He'll hide behind poles, crouch behind newspaper stands, and cover his face with leaves and branches in the hopes of passing himself off as a particularly sulky tree (a stunt he's pulled on numerous occasions.) Asked why he feels compelled to treat paparazzi this way, Hoffman told James Corden in 2017: "Well, I don't know what the alternative is." If you're curious to explore these adventures further, writer Priscilla Page has archived many of Hoffman's best paparazzi showdowns, and the results are oddly life-affirming. 

His greatest disguise to date? That's up for debate, but we're particularly fond of the time Hoffman ambled down the streets of Paris dressed as some sort of sentient Texier shopping bag (with two ghostly eye-holes.) Watch and learn, LaBeouf.