True Life: I Have Someone Else’s Face

By: Rosalind Hall, Administrative Coordinator

Little did my office know that when I became a #GambelGirl, my twin sister Allie automatically became one too. Yes, I have an identical twin sister and where she goes, I go. Of course, we get the usual barrage of questions -are you the same person? Can you read each other’s minds? To find out, stay tuned for the next episode of True Life: I Have Someone Else’s Face.

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  1. How do you feel when you look at someone who looks exactly like you?

Most of the time it doesn’t faze me, but sometimes Allie is up on a stage or in a new photo and I will question myself. My thoughts usually drift to things like, “Oh wow, we could definitely pull off that color brunette, or that shade of pink is not going to work ever again”…It’s silly, but it can be beneficial.

  1. Are you and your twin more alike or more different?

We are more different. We grew up with several sets of twins—there are clubs you find when you are one (very exclusive, I know), and most of the twins are raised together and are very much alike. My parents always wanted us to have different identities.

You can also attribute our differences to our attending different schools growing up. We started out attending the same schools (with different classes) until 4th grade when she left for a Catholic school. So we grew up with different circles of friends, but even when we were together, our styles were different; she was the tom- boy and I was the girly- girl.

    1. Did you ever trick teachers by switching places?

Not on purpose. I know, lame. There were several times when we plotted to take each other’s tests, but we always chickened out. We always had different haircuts and I have a very defined widows peak that, let’s be honest, gives me away immediately. There is an infamous story of my theater director screaming at my sister for being upstairs mingling with parents out of costume and makeup five minutes before show time during a middle school production of Grease. She had no idea there was someone else with my face. “GET TO PLACES, ALLIE”, became a mantra before a show for many years.

  1. Are y’all telepathic?

Absolutely, just like Mary Kate and Ashley. But we can’t exactly read each other’s minds. We can always tell (even in separate cities) when the other is in pain or having a rough day. It’s a feeling we both get in our stomachs. We also tend to call my mother at the exact same time, after not having spoken to her or each other for days. She hates it because she hasn’t mastered the art of call forwarding, (but at least we still call, right?)

I think the most bizarre connection we share is our dreams. Allie and I have very distinct memories of things happening that have never actually taken place. We put it together that they aren’t memories, but dreams we’ve  have shared. The one that scares my parents the most is the dream of my sister and I being in a yellow car and rolling backwards down a hill. We’ve never owned a yellow car, and we certainly did not roll down a hill to a fiery crash, but Allie and I can tell anyone the details in unison like script.

  1. Have you ever been in an awkward situation because someone else thought you were your twin?

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I will never forget coming to New Orleans and thinking, “Wow, I get to start a new chapter in a different state! My own identity away from Allie.” And I turn around to someone yelling my sister’s name. Someone from her school was at freshman orientation at Loyola and thought I was her, and could not get over that I wasn’t. The girl then chastised me for not having told her we would be attending the same college–nice going, Allie.

  1. I feel like being a twin makes you more unique (less than 3% of population!) But does it ever make you feel like you are less unique because there is someone with your same DNA?

You’re right! Identical twins share their DNA; fraternal twins do not and sure, sometimes I feel a little less unique. It mainly comes in the form of not being able to be my own person. Women of the world, you can relate. Ever fear going to an event and wearing the same dress as someone else? It’s like that, but with your face. On the other hand, I think she and I have different enough personalities for me to feel unique in my own skin. We certainly have different aspirations and goals.

  1. Are you two particularly competitive or jealous of each other?

Oh, man, we used to be. Time has quelled those urges (for the most part.) There is enough ebb and flow in our lives that we serve as support systems for each other. One minute, her life is going great and her skin is clear and her job is going well and then it’ll switch and be the same for me. I think we have only ever once been jealous over a boy, and it was a lifeguard at our neighborhood pool who had no idea either of us existed. In our delusional fantasy though, Allie got the guy.

  1. In your childhood photos did your parents write who is who on the back?

Ros 3They didn’t have to! My mom had a little trick for telling us apart. I was always in red and Allie in every other color. When I finally grew enough hair, she would also stick a hair clip on the left side of my head. It was there so often that my hair started growing to the side, giving me what my friends call the “Disney princess swoop. I lean towards the red color family, whereas my sister enjoys the blue and green hues. There is one baby photo of us where we were wearing matching white outfits. It’s the only indistinguishable photo for my mom. She’s given up trying to figure it out, and I couldn’t tell ya either.

9. Did you guys have to share all your clothes growing up? Did you always buy things in pairs?

Bless my parents because they always tried to give us our own things, but we shared most of our clothes and toys, especially when we got older. Most people don’t know this but “twin sales” exist and they are a magical thing. Usually taking place in a gymnasium or parking lot, we would go to what looked like an enormous garage sale of items sold in pairs. That was like Christmas for us-two for the price of one is a real thing and it exists at twin sales.

10. Did you two really like Mary Kate and Ashley growing up?

Ah, I was wondering when you’d ask that. We grew up in the 90’s and 00’s; who didn’t like them? Solving crime before dinner time was our motto. Allie and I felt like their civilian counter parts. One thing is for sure, I am Mary Kate and she is Ashley, and don’t you dare mix that up!