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Reference > Erinsborough News > Turn On Twins

The only thing that tells Gillian and Gayle apart is their taste in boyfriends. Otherwise, to Neighbours fans, they’re as alike as… well, Ramsay Street’s Alessi twins.

They were like a couple of canaries, sitting there laughing and giggling, chatting and chirruping. They smiled together and talked together, they started one another’s sentences and finished them off. They did the punchlines for each other’s gags, they teased and twinkled and giggled a lot more. It was like they were having their own private party. You could see them on television together and you could hear them on the radio. They were everywhere. But the biggest problem was telling them apart. Don’t adjust your sets, never mind how many times you see them, which one is which? Who is who? Who can sort out the Neighbours twins?

There’s Christina and Caroline Alessi who you can find down Ramsay Street way, then there’s Gayle and Gillian Blakeney, 25, who play them and are hot on the heels of Kylie and Jason, trying to forge a career in pop music, calling themselves, surprise surprise, The Twins, with their debut single All Mixed Up.

But sorting the two of them out is the biggest puzzler in showbusiness. One of them is petite, pencil-slim with dark shoulder-length hair, gorgeous smouldering eyes, a mouthwatering smile and rounded cheeks. And guess what? The other one is exactly the same. A draughtsman could spend a week with them and still not be able to spot the differences.

“Oh, we’re both really different,” they insist in two-part harmony. Then Gayle continues: “I’m like dad and she’s like mum. Gillian is more chiselled and structured in her features than me. I’m more rounded than she is. We’ve both got really different eyebrows. I butchered mine when I was 10, I wanted them to be really narrow and sleek.”

Gillian agrees. That’s no surprise as things turn out, because they agree about absolutely everything except men. “We do actually fit together perfectly – you could take any part of our bodies and it would substitute perfectly on the other, right down to our radiator knee caps. Ears, arms, legs, they’re all exactly the same.”

“But we’re quite different in many ways, Gayle is more of a worrier than me…” Gayle agrees and says: “I’m more conservative and serious…” Gillian nods: “She’s a thinker. I wear much zanier clothes and make more noise. She’s got a much better smile than me, and a better body too, that’s because she spends time in the gym.” Gayle smiles: “That’ true.”

Oh, the problems and traumas of being twins. They remember when they were young their mother used to dress them the same. “We hated it,” they echo is a chorus of disapproval. They were bullied into doing it by television companies until they were 15, and they could take no more. Still, it was good for business, it got them advertising work like being the Kellogg’s Cornflake Twins on Australian TV.

“Being twins has a lot of plusses,” they say, “you don’t know what loneliness is, we’re brutally honest with one another, yet that doesn’t cause any upset, we know what the other is thinking, and it gives you the kind of closeness that no one else ever experiences, it’s a completely different relationship than the one we have with our older brother and sister. But we do get a little tired of always being referred to as ‘the twins’ even if that’s what we call ourselves as a group. We’re not one person, we’re two, we don’t do everything together like peas in a pod. Even though we share a home together, we work hard to have different sets of friends and not always go out together in the same group.”

But it’s a struggle, they admit. They find themselves ordering the same meals in restaurants, so one of them changes. “It’s so easy just to tag along together. We really have to work at being apart. But we don’t get freaky if we don’t see each other for a couple of days. One of us could go to America for a year and that would be fine, we wouldn’t go nutty.”

Although they played the usual tricks when they were children, like pretending to be one another in class, they never let it go any further. They never share of swap clothing or jewellery, for instance. That would be an invasion of one another’s privacy, they say. Nor for that matter have they ever traded boyfriends or gone out on dates pretending to be one another. They are horrified by the idea.

“We’ve never fancied one another’s boyfriends,” Gillian begins. “We’ve got completely different tastes,” Gayle adds. “We’ve never been rivals when it comes to men,” they say together. “We can’t imagine being envious of one another, it would be like asking a mother if she’s ever jealous of her daughter. It’s just a ridiculous notion.”

Right now their love lives couldn’t be more different. While Gayle has for 18 months been dating Stefan Dennis, who plays Paul Robinson in Neighbours, Gillian has no boyfriend at present. Although Gayle is eager to dismiss any speculation that she and Stefan are engaged, both of them insist that they’re extremely happy with the way things are.

Ironically, Gayle has great pleasure in pointing out that it was she who spotted Stefan first. “I knew the moment I met him that Gayle would fall for him. I know exactly the sort of men she goes for. He’s not my type at all, I like my men to be forthright, self-confident, maybe a little arrogant. She likes them to be shop-soiled, a little dishevelled, then she can take them home and polish them up.”

Gayle adds: “Relationships aren’t really that important to either of us, because if we want a companion or friend, they we’ve always got one another. As far as we’re concerned, if we do have boyfriends, then that’s very much a bonus, but it’s certainly not central to our happiness. Our own relationship with each other is always going to be the most important thing.”

That was one of the great things about being twins, they agreed, even if the rest of the world didn’t know which of them was which.

This article originally appeared in Sunday Mirror Magazine dated 4th August 1991 and was written by Simon Kinnersley

Article submitted by Steve


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