Last summer I was blown away the moment a friend showed me Allison and Lauren Knight’s website lauralart.net which features photo-realistic coloured pencil drawings of animals, members or their family and Detroit Red Wings hockey players. Allison and Lauren Knight are twenty-seven-year-old mirror-image twins living in Kingsville ON, about 50kms outside of Windsor. In 2006 they both graduated from the University of Western Ontario with Double Honours degrees in English and History, Minor degrees in French and Masters Degrees in History in 2008. I immediately sent them an email introducing myself with some links from my blog and struck up a friendship with them. When drawing, the two of them sit side-by-side each working on a separate piece of their own. Every couple of hours they exchange so that they each make an equal contribution. Allison is left-handed and Lauren is right-handed, but their techniques are so similar that it’s impossible to tell from the finished product that two people have worked on it.
In their spare time, the twins enjoy reading, writing poetry, watching the Detroit Red Wings, and jumping rope. Although they no longer jump competitively, jump rope has played a significant role in their lives, having performed in schools, nursing homes, parades, festivals, half-time shows at college basketball and NFL games. Competitions and performances have taken them across Canada, the United States, Japan and England. They even appeared in a ‘Super Soaker Skipper’ commercial!
Despite being well-educated, talented, pretty and having pleasant and accommodating personalities, their closeness as twins creates some obstacles in their daily lives. Like Siamese twins without the physical connection, they wear matching clothing everyday, and feel compelled to share a bedroom, phone and Facebook account since they never leave each others side. They turn heads wherever they go and are regularly mistaken for being half their actual age. They are not unaware of their unique situation. The past four summers they’ve had the memorable experience of celebrating their ‘twinness’ at the Twins Days Festival held in Twinsburg, Ohio. This weekend festival-- the largest annual gathering of twins in the world-- welcomes twins from across the globe, both identical and fraternal. The festival features a wel- come barbecue, Parade of Twins, Twin Talent Show, look-alike contests, University research studies, and other celebratory activities including a party and fireworks display. Over two thousand sets of twins attend the event. For one rare weekend of the year they can dress identically without standing out in a crowd.
Originally published in Spring 2010, Issue 4.2.