VIDEO: One-in-a-million mixed-race twins reveal they have to prove they are sisters
‘We have to show our birth certificates’: One-in-a-million mixed-race twins reveal they have to prove they are sisters… but admit they stopped dressing alike aged 7
Lucy and Maria Aylmer, 20, from Gloucester are non-identical twins
Growing up, mother Donna would be asked if she was their ‘childminder’
Donna is half Jamaican and their father Vince is white
Twins say they have radically different styles
By Lucy Laing For The Daily Mail and Jo Tweedy For Mailonline
A striking set of twins, who were born with radically different colouring thanks to mixed-race parentage, have revealed how they constantly have to explain their looks to curious strangers.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Lucy and Maria Aylmer, both 18, said classmates at school thought they were telling fibs when they revealed they were twins.
Lucy and Maria’s mother Donna is half Jamaican and their father Vince is white, and in a genetic quirk, together they managed to produce one white twin and one black twin.
The twins say it isn’t just their looks that are different, they have individual personalities too. Lucy (far left) says she’s much more shy than her sister Maria (second left), despite being born 23 seconds before her
Speaking to Ben Shepherd and Susanna Reid, the twins, from Gloucester, opened up about how their distinctively different looks had often made life difficult at school.
Red-haired Lucy said her pale complexion had prompted speculation that she’d been adopted: ‘My classmates used to ask if I was adopted because my siblings are all quite dark.
‘It was pretty hard, it went on in secondary school and it wasn’t very nice.’
When the girls were first born in 1997, their mother Donna had no idea that she could give birth to such different looking twins, described by experts as a one-in-a-million chance.
Lucy and Maria say schoolfriends don’t believe they’re twins
Growing up, the girls said they regularly overheard people asking their mum ‘Which one is yours?’ or ‘Are you the childminder?’.
Although most of their friends now know their unique story, they still have to present new acquaintances with photos of their birth certificates to prove they really are twin sisters.
‘Our friends do believe us now because we make a big fuss,’ says Maria. ‘We’ve got birth certificates. Lucy even had a picture of hers on her Facebook [profile].’
As the girls have turned into grown-ups they’ve tried to find their own style. Lucy, who has naturally curly hair, straightens it to ensure a sleek look. And the twins stopped wearing the same outfits when they were seven.
Lucy says: ‘I think I said to my mum: “I don’t want to wear the same clothes as Maria any more”.’
Same same, but different: Lucy and Maria Aylmer, 18, from Gloucester are non-identical twins
When asked at what age the girls knew their situation might raise questions from others, they say it took them a long time to know that their family was anything but ordinary.
‘It is what it is,’ says Maria. ‘We never even picked up on it until friends started talking about it at school.’
Their mother, who is 47 and a warehouse worker, and their 53-year-old father, who works as a scaffolder, split up after the twins were born.
The 18-year-olds have three older siblings, George, 23, Chynna, 22, and Jordan, 21. Lucy told the Daily Mail: ‘Our brothers and sisters have skin which is inbetween Maria and I. We are at opposite ends of the spectrum and they are all somewhere inbetween.
‘But my grandmother has a very fair English rose complexion, just like mine.’
She added: ‘No one ever believes we are twins. Even when we dress alike, we still don’t look like sisters, let alone twins.’
Family line: The twins’ mother Donna is half Jamaican and their father Vince is white, and their siblings George, Chynna and Jordan all have darker skin than Lucy and lighter than Maria
Two of a kind: The twins, who live in Gloucester, were born in January 1997
Different strokes: ‘Outgoing’ Maria studies law at Cheltenham College, while ‘shy’ Lucy studies art and design at Gloucester College
All together: Maria and Lucy with their mother Donna and siblings George, 23, Chynna, 22, and Jordan, 21
THE SCIENCE BEHIND ONE WHITE AND ONE BLACK TWIN
Non-identical twins come from separate eggs, so inherit different genes.
The girls’ half-Jamaican mother carries genes for both white and black skin.
By chance, Lucy will have inherited genes for white skin and Maria will have genes that code for black skin.
People with Afro-Caribbean heritage often have some European DNA, dating back in many cases to the slave trade.
This increases the chance of them passing on a gene for white skin to at least one twin.
Lucy said of her time at school: ‘We were in the same class, but no one had a problem telling us apart. Twins are known for swapping identities. But there was no way Maria and I could ever do anything like that.
‘Most twins look like two peas in a pod – but we couldn’t look more different if we tried. We don’t look like we have the same parents, let alone having been born at the same time.’
The twins’ interests are as different as their looks. Lucy studies art and design at Gloucester College whilst Maria studies law at Cheltenham College.
Lucy explained: ‘Maria was outgoing whilst I was the shy one. But Maria loves telling people at college that she has a white twin – and I’m very proud of having a black twin.’