Ever felt like skipping an uncomfortable event and sending someone else in your place, twins can do just that.

“I love being a twin, its like having a ‘right hand man’, I’ve always got someone on my team, in my family, amongst my friends, in everything.” Elle, an identical twin, claims.

Princess Mary of Denmark is the International patron of the Australian Twin Registry, and of the Danish Twin Registry. As a mother of twins, she aims to help in the study and learn from its results.

“Twins are special, as I now know, as the mother of Vincent and Josephine. What is perhaps less well-known is the special contribution twins of all ages have made to medical and health research.” Princess Mary claims.

It is a unique registry with members ranging in age from newborn babies through to people over 90. Some members have been involved with the studies for over 30 years. The Australian Twin Register has helped researchers to better understand the impact of genetic and environmental factors on health and disease in a unique way. As twins grow up with the same influences, variables can be recorded and examined. It has also contributed valuable information and aided research in many serious illnesses such as psychiatric diseases, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and birth defects. Since it began, the registry has facilitated over 450 twin research studies.

Elle, explains life as a 20-year-old twin.

Elle believes that she was the twin that lay under her sister in the womb and that is why she has nagging back aches. She claims that it’s common for one of the twins to suffer with back problems.

Being a twin can be a team effort. When the girls were children, they would be called to the phone to speak to their grandmother. Cass disliked talking on the phone, so Elle would pretend to be her.

“I’d talk and say ‘goodbye Grandma, I’ll get Cass’,and then I would say, ‘hi grandma this is Cass’ ’’. Elle relates

Phone duties became part of Elle’s responsibility and it included talking to Cass’s boyfriends. She remembers one particular boy who would call every night and have long conversations with her. A duty she didn’t particularly enjoy.

What if you started to like one of them? MP.

“He was an oddball, and I wasn’t interested in him. People get us confused so you have two choices, you can correct them or ‘run with it’.” Elle explained.

Although the twins look-alike they often have different styles. It’s typical for twins to create separate identities. Cass has the ‘fresh skin look’ whereas Elle prefers fashion and make up. It bothers Elle, that Cass,’ doesn’t make an effort’ as ‘she is representing both of them’.

“I’ll see Cass at breakfast and I’ll tell her to put on ‘human clothes’ and brush her hair”. 

Despite style differences the twins shop together as they have the benefit of getting the other to try on clothes and witness the effect.

As they are constantly seeing their own appearance in the other, they are more familiar with other’s looks than their own image. Just like the rest of us, they rely on a mirror to see themselves.

“When I look at old photos I know which one is Cass, as her face is more familiar.”





(photographer,Diane Arbus Tate Modern)

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