MINNEAPOLIS - A bustling city can be a difficult place to hold on to one's identity. Then there's Jessica Mooney, who has given up even trying.
"I'm looking for this kind of look," says Mooney as she surveys Google bad-boy 1980s images of tennis star John McEnroe, "That kind of angry, argumentative look."
Within seconds Mooney is dressing up an old white tennis shirt with strips of blue tape, reaching for a curly wig and cutting up a red bath towel she will fashion into a headband.
A few angry scowls into a webcam, a couple clicks on her computer and Mooney's latest picture is posted. In a classic McEnroe "You cannot be serious" pose, Mooney is now up on Facebook. "That's the theme for the week," she says. "Angry week."
She laughs, anticipating the feedback, "It's exciting."
And thus begins a typical morning for Mooney. Every weekday for the past three years she has added a picture of herself to her Facebook page, made-up in some costume to fit a weekly theme of her choosing.
For Annie week, she posed as Annie Oakley, Annie Lennox, Annie Hall and Resusi-anne - the last of which, she admitted, was "totally creepy."
Among her posts for "Hot Mess Week" were a bearded Joaquin Phoenix and a bald and bug-eyed Britney Spears. "I love to dress up. I love to entertain. I love to anticipate how people are going to react," she says.
And since the marketing manager in the U of M's College of Education and Human Development was surrendering her identity, she invented a new one: "Dressy Jessie" is the name she chose for her Facebook page.
It all started innocently when, in the midst of job change within the university, Jessie decided to show her friends the contents of her closet - one day at a time. "I think I was lonely," she laughs.
The postings started with different color blouses, evolving into accessories - till one bling lead to another.
"These I wear for Harry Caray," she laughs, pulling an oversized pair of glasses out of a drawer filled with eyewear.
"There's the drawer of wigs," she says, pulling out a grey mop. "Captain Kangaroo. That was animal week."
She grabs another. "Veruca Salt from Willie Wonka," she says, turning on her best snotty voice. "Daddy I want a goose that lays a golden egg, now!"
Nearby stands a closet filled with blouses and gowns. She pulls out a red blouse. "I bought this especially because I needed to be Nancy Reagan."
Now 800 photos posted - and counting, one might think Mooney would be running out of ideas. "I would think I'd be running out of ideas too," she laughs.
Yet the inspiration just seems to keep coming, to the delight of nearly 800 followers who've discovered Dressy Jessie on Facebook.
"One of my favorites was the dogs of Westminster week," says Jerry Smith, who found himself hooked after being steered to Mooney's Facebook page by a friend. "It's crazy because every picture she looks like the same woman, yet she morphs into everybody, everything."
Blessed with a face as malleable as clay, Mooney is a master of human expressions.
Smith considers her posts to be a form of art, and Mooney isn't disagreeing. "The fact that I've got an audience, you know people waiting to see what I'm going to do everyday - it's kind of like an entrance. So I think of it as performance art."
Most of her posting is done from her office at the U of M, with the full approval of her boss, Steve Baker. The department's director of communications says Mooney's creativity is "highly valued" in her job position. He says he's fully supportive who the few minutes it takes to post her daily photo during her free time.
For most of the work week Jessica Mooney offices quietly as herself, but once a day she becomes a master of the best kind of identity theft.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)