So close, so different: the most curious stories of biracial twins
Here we go again
If you are 49 years old and a mum of 3, the news of another pregnancy can be quite shocking. However, this seems not to be the case for Donna Aylmer, a warehouse worker from Gloucester, England, who was quite happy to find out that the fourth baby was on the way. She went to the doctor with her husband Vince Aylmer, a 55-year-old scaffolder, for the first routine checkup and from their previous experience, they thought that things would pan out as usual. What they found out after the checkup made this experience unique.
Not one, but two
When the doctor informed the couple that Donna was expecting two babies rather than one, the news left the Aylmers speechless. The babies were fine and developing normally, the doctor assured. However, expanding the existing family of five members to seven can definitely change one’s life and make you worried and nervous. Celebrations were made anyway and the news was accepted as a true blessing from heaven. The biggest surprise was still to come though.
After 9 months, on January 16 1997, the two babies were finally born. They were two beautiful and healthy girls, as their parents had been hoping and praying for. However, one detail made Donna Aylmer confused and puzzled, the color of their skin. As one baby, whom the Aylmers called Lucy, was white, with blue eyes and ginger hair, the second one, that was named Maria, had completely different features: a very dark complexion, matched with brown eyes and hair. Maria and Lucy, so close and so different.
Twins with a twist
As parents of twin babies, it is hard to resist the temptation of dressing them with matching outfits. This is what Donna did with Maria and Lucy, but the clothes made even more clear the difference between the sisters. Lucy, with her blue-green eyes and red curly hair, is a typical Irish baby, one would say, whereas Maria with her dark skin and eyes, would be easily considered a beautiful baby coming from a Caribbean island. The differences between the sisters would become even bigger, when they grew up.
The need to be yourself
Not more matching outfits. This is something that twin sisters and brothers end up asking their parents eventually. Lucy and Mary did so quite early, at the tender age of 7. The sense of identity was precocious in both of them, also because the difference of the physical features was quite evident. Not only did they refuse to wear the same clothes, but they were also struggling to consider themselves as twins. Getting their own personal style and identity, did not come without issues, though.
Lucy and Maria did not experience the advantages of identical twins. Impossible for them swapping names or homework or playing tricks on teachers, schoolmates and friends. If this made them happy and more eager to show their true colors, on the other hand the best fun of being twin sisters was not for them to enjoy. Also, while for identical twins it is natural to develop different personalities and specific traits, Lucy and Maria had to get older to show everyone that the difference was not only a matter of complexion, but also of character.
At the age of 18 the twin sisters attracted the interest of newspapers and magazines. They opened up about themselves and how different they were physically and mentally. “Maria was outgoing whilst I was the shy one” said Lucy, interviewed by the Inside Edition. Her sister confirmed that she had come out of the shell much more than Lucy had done. Easygoing and confident, Maria would easily engage in a conversation with strangers. On the other hand, Lucy was a quite girl who kept to herself. This distance made them not the closest, when they were young girls. Unexpectedly, this changed completely when they grew older.
What I like, what I dislike
Like most teenagers, Lucy and Maria were struggling to find their own identity and self esteem. Maria was not happy with her curly hair and Lucy often complaint about her extremely pale complexion, mainly because schoolmates were calling her a ghost or the adopted one in the family. There is no wonder she was looking for reasons to these features and eventually she decided that she had inherited her skin color from her grandmother. As she grew older she started to straighten her hair which was naturally curly, but she never had ringlets like Maria.
Is this some kind of mistake?
Giving birth to biracial twins comes about one in 500. Some features of the twin sisters had already showed up in the couple’s previous babies. George, Chynna and Jordan all had dark skin. However, their complexion was not as dark as Maria’s and much darker than Lucy’s. How was this phenomenon even possible?
What happened to the Aylmes can be explained with the different ethnic background of mother and father. As Vince carries a Caucasian ethnic background in his DNA, Donna is a mix of white and Jamaican, which is why the first three kids came to life with a mixed skin color. The surprise came with Lucy and Maria, whose complexion was totally different, as if they were strangers to their family. Can this be explained scientifically?
Science explains it all
Lucy and Maria do not look alike because they formed from separate eggs in the their mother’s womb. This is why the genetic heritage they developed, skin color included, was different for each of them. The chance of coming with different complexion was higher in their case, due to the mixed ethnic background of her mother. As half white and half Caribbean, she carried the gene for both skin colors, and so it was likely she would passed on a white gene to one of the sisters.
Two different styles
Not only did they develop differences in appearance and personalities, they also expressed their own style. Whereas Lucy loves piercings matched with edgy and dark makeup, Maria opted for a more sophisticated dressing code with a bit of boho twist. These differences between the twin sisters increased the distance and the lack of empathy, as Lucy told the Inside Edition. Looking the same would have made them closer to each other, she admitted. Time did change everything though.
The bond between us
Time can often heal and put things in the right place. In the interview with Inside edition Lucy opened up and explained how much the relationship with her sister improved year by year. She said: “Now we have grown older, even though we still look so different, the bond between us is much stronger”. Even the different skin color is not an issue anymore. In fact, they now consider it as a resource. However, people around them are still struggling to accept that they are twin sisters, due to the different look.
Building their own personalities also meant choosing different path for their careers. Lucy went to an art and design school, whereas Maria decided to study Law at Chelthenham college. The interest of the media grew stronger, also because they were more than happy to talk about themselves and their own path through life.
Always hard to accept
Despite all the interviews and the increasing interest of the media, some friends still found it hard to believe that Lucy and Maria were twin sisters. As Maria explained to Inside Edition, when she shows people pictures of her sister, most friends are still quite skeptical. In the social imaginary twin sisters look exactly the same and dress with matching clothes.
Show me some ID, please
The highest form of skepticism came from a friend who asked them to produce their birth certifications in order to prove they are twins. This tells a lot about how rare the phenomenon of biracial twins is and how difficult it is for people to understand and accept it.
What makes us special
If is often said that twins sisters and brothers are united by a special psychological bond that makes them experience the same feelings even if they are far away from each other. Inside Edition asked the Aylmers sisters if they had ever experienced something like that. Apparently that special bond did not belong to Lucy and Maria, even though they admitted to feel the same physical pains in the same spots sometimes. So maybe they did have this bond without even being aware of it.
It is not about the body only
Similarities between people do not relate to physical features only. Lucy and Maria are more similar than they think. Despite the different hair and eyes color, they could both show tall and athlethic bodies. What made them different and distant, it soon became the reason for being close and helping each other. The story of this biracial twins is not the only one, as a few cases have been found around the world.
Another couple of biracial twins
Marcia and Millie are biracial twins too. Unlike Maria and Lucy, they are very close and share everything, including their hairstyle. They love the same sports (gymnastics and dance) and the same school subjects (science and mathematics). Even though they wear matching outfits and enjoy the same activities, the physical attributes are different. Not all of them though, as one can still spot some similarities in their bodies.
Kalani and Jarani Dean are another example of twins that look completely different. What made them biracial twins was the different ethnic background of their parents: mum is white and dad is black. This difference in color was passed on to the daughters: Kalani is white, Jarani has got dark skin. Mum Whitney Meyer is happy to consider this as a symbol against racism and hopes that this genetic phenomenon will make people aware of how stupid and trivial racism is. “They are the same girls, just different colors” she told Today Magazine. However, like any other mother of biracial twins, she was totally surprised when she delivered two daughters who were totally different.
Another mixed couple experience that had the same surprise: Joanne is White and Larry is black. Before their babies were born, they wonder whom the twins would look like. Mother Nature was totally equal, as one baby was born white and the other black.
Initially, it was quite hard to spot the differences between the twins. However, as they grew older each of them develop personal physical features, starting from the skin color. Joanne and Larry’s mother said: “No one ever believes they are twins because they don’t look alike at all. They don’t even look like brother and sister, let alone twins”.
Black and white
One of the most curious cases, when it comes to biracial twins, is Kian and Remme’s. Both mum and dad had a mixed ethnic background with white mothers and black fathers. So the genetic heritage was quite various and produced a very rare set of twins which turns up one in a million, according to science. As one girl is black with brown eyes, the other is blond with blue eyes. The sisters shared the same first word: “juice”. Apart from that, they grew up very different.
The opposite brothers
As fraternal twins, James and Daniel were expected to be quite similar, abut apart from the same parents, they have very little in common. Whereas James is black, gay, outgoing and loves going to school, his twin brother Daniel is white, straight, shy and does not like school at all. This difference is due to the genetic background of their parents: their mother is white, while their father Errol is Jamaican. As it is often the case with Caribbean people, Errol has dark skin, but it also carries European DNA. Asked about her kids, mum Alyson said: “It was hard to believe they were even brothers, let alone twins”.
The Rainbow Family
As already explained, a multiracial background in a couple might lead to a set of biracial twins. This is what happened to Ng family, whose fraternal twins Viviana and Dennis, were unique due to the large variety of countries from which their ancestors were from. In their DNA Viviana and Dennis carried genies of different roots: African, Hispanic, Hawaiian, Chinese and European. Her mum said: “Some people ask are they mine, are they twins or were they conceived naturally. When I’m with my husband they are like: “Oh, now I see”.
If you do not look like other members of family, this can be an issue. People made fun of Breana Cincotta for her light skin color and called her “albino”. Some friends told her she had to decided whether she wanted to be white or black. Now that they are both adults, the twins do not have to deal with this stupid jokes and teasings any longer. However, most people still find it hard to believe that they are fraternal twins.
This set of beautiful twin sisters hold a unique record: Amelia and Jasmine might be the very first genetically identical black and white twins to be born in the UK. Their family was expecting something else, as they were told that the twins would be looking exactly the same. “When they were born – their mother explained- we were flabbergasted, even the doctors could not believe it. They look like they are different races”.
A remarkable family
Here is another couple holding a very special record: giving birth not just to one set of black and white twins, but two! Seven yeas after the birth of a couple of biracial twins, the Spooners were surprised to be able to double the miracle: another couple of black and white twins. According to scientific studies, the barriers between races will increasingly break down in the future, as the number of mixed race couples will go up. This means that also the number of biracial twins is expected to increase.
The Cunningham twins
Giving birth to biracial twins can expose you to criticism and prejudice from members of your community. This is what happened to the Cunninghams: from a white mother and black father came a set of black and white twins. Ghabriael had light skin, blonde hair and blue eyes, while Trinity had dark skin and brown eyes. Most people finds it hard to believe that they come from the same parents and some of them have also criticized the parents, as if they were somehow guilty of this marvelous prodigy. The most incredible comment came from someone asking them how they could do such a thing to their children.
It all comes down to genetics
It is a matter of genetics, one could think. It really seems to be like this, if you consider this two pairs of biracial twins, who are very close to each other. The amazing thing about them is that their mothers are actually sisters. One chance in a million, or even less. Both sets of twins are a black and white combination and they all get along well. One of the mothers says that “the kids play really well together because they all are the same age group and I guess it helps that they have something in common”.
This is another case of biracial twins, one girl and one boy this time. They do not look alike at all, but physical differences in twins, as we now know, are explained with a mixed ethnic background. Their mother does not seem concerned with the uniqueness of her kids. In fact, she hopes that they will be able to accept that and embrace as a blessing and a richness.
“Usually- she stated- when people are interracial, they feel as if they have to identify with one or the other and I’d like them to embrace it even though they look completely different. So hopefully that will encourage them to do that as they get older”.
To give birth to twins who are totally different is a struggle for the parents most of the times. However, a bit of humor can help understand that there is no issue at all. Kendall and Baylee were completely different: whereas the first one, with her dark skin, took after her father whose background is Jamaican, Baylee inherited from her mother a more European look. “One thing I know for sure – jokes their father Curtis – is that family and friends will not ever struggle to tell them apart”. He was the first to admit that, if the twin sisters were not his daughters, he would not believe that they come from the same family.
I am not joking
When Hannah got pregnant with two babies, her friends were joking that one would come out black and one white, just like mum and dad. Hanna and her husband Kyle used to laugh at this joke and they were quite shocked to find out that this turned out to be true. After the twins were born, people would not stop asking questions. During an interview Hanna said: “I can’t walk down the aisle at the supermarket without getting stopped”. Her twins became the attraction for the whole neighborhood.
Blessed with a miracle
If you have been trying to have children for years without any luck, the news of a pregnancy is like a blessing from heaven. After many miscarriages and issues, Carole and Brian were finally told the great news: not a baby, but a pair of twins. Non only twins, but special ones. Even though the chances of having biracial twins were very low, this was the case for them. This can truly be considered as a double miracle.
Where are you coming from?
Both mum and dad come from an African background, so when baby Daniel came to this his world, he shocked pretty much everyone with his skin color. A light complexion and blond hair: this unique physical combination made Francis wonder: “Am I the father of this baby?”.
How could this even happen? Daniel is neither biracial or albino. His light skin color came from a genetic mutation in his mother’s family. His mother Arlette admitted that something similar had already happened in her family with a woman giving birth to a white baby six generations before. She had always found it hard to believe it, but baby Daniel made her change her mind.
Dimarco Twin Brothers
They are twin brothers but they do not look alike at all. One thing Nyle and Nico Dimarco do share is that they were both born deaf. This did not stop them to follow their dreams in life: Nyle is an actor and America’s Next Top Model winner, whereas Nico loves music and is a successful DJ. One is dark, the other has light skin and red hair. They are very different but united in the commitment they show when volunteering as deaf activists.