What is it like having a twin? We asked two sets of twins and these are what we found out.
Let’s hear it from the Cabangon twins next week, but for now meet the daughters of businessman Christian Angeles and civic leader Jennifer Tipton, Kirsten and Chelsea Angeles, fraternal twins, pretty and smart 21-year-olds.
Kirsten is currently a senior at Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) majoring in BS Health Sciences, and Chelsea is also in ADMU majoring in AB Philosophy, minoring in Spanish and Literature. As far as they know, there are twins on their father’s side. Some of his cousins and nieces/nephews are twins.
It’s funny how a lot of people ask us what it is like to have a twin. I’ve always lived with a twin. I think I’d describe it like rooming with someone with the same background as yours, Chelsea and I are very interested in the same things, and we have gone through a lot of the same experiences, so we can understand each other pretty well,” says Kirsten. “There have been quite a few times where people have mistaken one for the other. Although we’re fraternal, some think we’re identical, and it’s hard to really see the differences, unless you know us a bit more personally.”
To Chelsea, having a twin is like being born with a best friend. “They become your partner in experiencing your first milestones and facing your first challenges,” she says. “It makes you feel like you’re not alone because someone is in it with you. “People love to compare what they think is identical for whatever reason, and make judgments based on that. I’ve noticed that people like to play the ‘spot the difference’ game with us, both appearance and personality wise.”
Chelsea admits this can sometimes lead to typecasting. “I used to be insecure about it but I’ve since gotten used to it and learned not to take it personally,” she says. “Sometimes people will jokingly call you ‘half of a person,’ and they feel as if it’s incomplete to have just one twin in the room. That doesn’t bother me at all, it’s just an observation.”
Chelsea shares that some of her friends before she got close to them, have confessed they were afraid of greeting her at the risk of embarrassing themselves for greeting the wrong twin. “Some people like to make a big deal out of it, which is all good fun,” she says. “If someone calls out Kirsten’s name, I’ve developed the instinct to respond as Kirsten. I’m sometimes too lazy to correct them. “
Kirsten agreed, confiding that “Our parents have mistaken us for each other at times (usually from certain angles or photos, or from far away), but they usually quickly recognize who we are once they see (or even hear) our differences. Physically, I am half an inch shorter than Chelsea (though we haven’t measured this as of late!). I have rounder features and a broader physique. I also have a higher-pitched voice.
Kirsten chimes in: “In terms of personality, I’d say I’m the more soft-spoken and slightly more edgy, while Chelsea is more outspoken and daring. In terms of interests, we tend to gravitate toward the same things– sometimes in the same way, like how we’re both into Harry Potter and Gilmore Girls, or sometimes in a different way, like we both like music but would sing or play different instruments. I think having someone who is so much like you with their own idiosyncrasies makes conversations quite fun. You get to relate on a deeper level and bring a new perspective to the other.”
There are marked differences. Physically, Kirsten has a mole on her right cheek and a birthmark shaped like the Philippine map. Chelsea has uneven clavicles. Kirsten has a higher voice.
The twins have a similar humor, and the same obsession with coffee. They both like to think of the world deeply and are very considerate even with each other.
“I think that one could say we were always like that in the sense that we were going through the motions of life together and experienced many of the same things,” Chelsea muses. “When you’re raised in the same environment, you’re bound to intersect in terms of interests, possibly skills and even ways of doing things and navigating through life. Our personalities, however, were not just shaped by these external factors, but by the intrinsic factors unique to us that came with us at birth (as it is with every human being). Being a twin is just a snazzy, genetic way of being bestowed a buddy to experience life with, and we both are grateful for that.”