Democratic debate: Meet the actors standing in for the candidates

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When you're planning an event as big as the upcoming Democratic debate, you need to make sure your lighting is flawless.

ABC News hired more than a dozen actors to portray candidates, moderators, and analysts in the days before the debate.

"Lighting is the big thing, so we would go for on-camera blocking obviously," explained ABC News Production Manager Matt Jakl. "If we have a stand-in who is 5'5" and then the candidate is 6'3", all the director shots are off. I just tried to get height and skin tone for coloring and then I also had a little fun with it."

The actors didn't know what they were applying for when they first sent in headshots.


"I saw the casting notice like everybody else," explained Chelsey Slade, who plays Sen. Kamala Harris. "It said all ages, all ethnicities and I just applied."

They aren't required to impersonate accents or mannerisms, but many do for fun.

"The other day we were told we were being too funny, to just tone it down a little," said Juniper Jairala, who plays Sen. Amy Klobuchar. "We were having so much fun coming up with wild random things to talk about."

Swipe through the photos in the Instagram post below to see the actors and their candidates:

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