Being a dead ringer for Jonah Hill helped to launch Steven’s career in Hollywood.
Inspired by his video production classes taught by local filmmaker Tony Buba, communications major Steven Sims ’06 moved to Los Angeles the year after he graduated, aspiring for a career in Hollywood. But walking down the street one day soon after his arrival, he was startled by a movie billboard for a new comedy called Superbad.
The actor on the billboard, Jonah Hill, could have been Steven’s twin, he thought. At first, he felt like packing up and going home. Someone already had concerned the market on the type of role he wanted to play. Then, as Jonah Hill fans started to stop Steven on the street for autographs and selfies, he leaned into it.
He made a satiric short film in 2008 called Destroying Jonah Hill. Then Steven got a job as Hill’s double on the set of the 2009 movie Funny People. Last year he co-created an 8-episode podcast called “My Life as a Celebrity Look-a-Like'' telling the story.
Along the way, in addition to several small acting roles, Steven also worked on production jobs for HBO, NBC, Facebook Watch, VH1, and Bravo, eventually becoming a successful TV executive. He is now vice president of WOW Presents Plus, a subscription-based streaming platform that owns the Emmy-winning series RuPaul's Drag Race and other LGBTQ+ content.
Steven has traveled the world with RuPaul, who he says is one of the nicest celebrities he knows. While he is a straight man and didn’t know much about drag culture when he arrived in L.A., Steven has come up with new spinoffs, including a reality competition with RuPaul’s makeup artist called Painting with Raven, where contestants compete to win a cash prize and a year’s supply of makeup.
Steven returned to Robert Morris University in December to inspire students with his tale of persistence. His advice: Work hard and be kind. “I told them that a no-name kid from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, can actually succeed in Hollywood or the entertainment industry without having to become a millionaire or be famous,” he says.