Illustration by Emma D.

Lena and Nina are identical twins from Seattle who have a crush on each other that can’t possibly surpass the crush we have on them.

TO: [email protected]
FROM: Lena
SUBJECT: Friend Crush

Nina is probably the weirdest, stupidest, and most immature person living within a 50-mile radius of me. The story of how we met is actually quite funny: my mom had a single egg that divided in two, and then suddenly she and I appeared. We have been the bestest of friends ever since.

Nina (aka Door) understands me like nobody else. We both enjoy taking self-portraits with our dogs and spending hours playing Sims on our laptops and seeing whose family will be more successful. I’m currently in Finland on a student-exchange program, so I haven’t seen Door in five months, which is the longest I’ve gone without seeing her. I’ve nominated her because she’s a funny, interesting, awesome person. She’s always open to meeting new people, and she doesn’t care what people think about her—she went to a homecoming dance dressed as David Bowie, and did a rendition of “Gangster’s Paradise” for our school’s talent show. She’s one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met. She may be my sister, but she is also my partner in crime.


ROOKIE: It’s kind of perfect that we’re talking to you guys right now, because this month’s theme is Mythology, and it seems like there are a lot of myths about identical twins—my favorite one being that twins have ESP. So can I ask: if Nina’s not with you and gets a stomachache, will you know?

LENA [crusher]: People always ask me this. If she has a stomachache, it’s likely I will too—because we’ve eaten the same thing! Honestly, I don’t know, there are so many times when we say the same thing naturally, and I think it’s just because we’re so alike.

How did she get the nickname Door?

We’re half Chinese, and when we were younger, my parents called me Phi, which means fat, because I was the chubbier one. And they called my sister Tua, which means big, because she’s older than me by 14 or 16 minutes. I couldn’t pronounce Tua, so I just called her Door.

Do you think of her as your older sister?

No, I think of her as an equal. Since I just went to Finland, I feel like I’m older than her, because I’ve lived away from home for six months. But while I was away she got her driver’s license, and she’s always bragging about it, so I think she thinks she’s older now that she can drive freely. We’re secretly really competitive like that. Although I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m just a bad driver.

Why did you choose Finland?

I didn’t want to go to a big country that a lot of people go to, like France or Spain or Italy, because even though those countries are really beautiful, I’ve heard so much about them. You never really hear about Finnish culture. I wanted to go someplace I didn’t know that much about—that way I wouldn’t have such high expectations.

Was there ever a time when you two dressed exactly alike?

When we were younger, we went to Catholic school and had uniforms, so we wore the exact same thing and we had almost the same exact haircut. The only way you could tell us apart was by the mole under my left eye. But we went to public school in the eighth grade, and that’s when we really changed our identities. She dresses in more masculine clothes, like printed button-ups and jeans and maybe a bowtie, and I usually wear dresses. We’re really distinct, but similar, because we’re both pretty eclectic and quirky.

What don’t you have in common, or what do you disagree about?

We have our fair share of debates. My sister is going through a nature phase right now, because she went camping recently. She’s all like, “Let’s go clean the neighborhood garden.” I think we should take care of the earth too, but she’s more enthusiastic about it. Also, she disagreed with my decision to go on exchange. She couldn’t understand why I wanted to do it, and I disagreed with her decision to transfer out of our school at the beginning of this year.

Were either of your feelings hurt because you were choosing to spend less time together?

There were times when I thought maybe she was jealous that I was having so much fun in Finland. And I was a bit mad, because it’s a really big deal to transfer out of school, and by the time I was able to talk to her about it, she had already done it.

Another prevalent myth is the idea of the evil twin. Is one of you the troublemaker?

I think if you talked with my mom she would say that I’m the more responsible one, and I think so, too. There’s three daughters in my family, and my mom has nicknames for us on her cellphone. My older sister is Princess Drama, my twin sister is Princess Angry, because she is known for having fits when she was younger, and I am Princess Nanny, because I’m really paranoid about things and I’m always nagging everybody. Ever since I’ve been back home, I’ve been pestering Door about her homework. She gets easily distracted. I want her to have good enough grades that she can get into whatever college she wants.

But I can be really annoying sometimes. I always go into her room just to say hi, and then leave. Or I will call her name and say, “Hurry up, you have to see this!” and she’ll run upstairs, and it’s just me cuddling with the dogs.

Do you tend to hang out with each other on weekends?

Generally she has her own plans and I have my own plans. There have been times when I’ve asked friends to come over, and I’ve organized it, and figured out how they would get there, and cleaned the house, and then my sister will hang out with us, and it will drive me nuts because she didn’t help at all. But then there have been nights where we’ve cancelled our plans and just hung out with each other. It’s nice because we don’t have to try. Sometimes I’m with people and I feel like I have to be social and energetic. With her, I can just talk about the stupidest stuff. There are a lot of poop and fart jokes.

What do you see in her that other people don’t?

She was pretty popular at our school, but I don’t know if people realize that she’s a genuinely nice person. She’s really open to meeting other people, even if they might be considered weird, or don’t have a lof of their own friends. And she’s always helping my mom with errands now that she drives.

Who’s better at The Sims?

OK, she’s definitely going to say her, but I put a lot of care into how my Sims dress and what their house looks like. I tediously make sure that their shoes match their bracelets. She doesn’t care so much about whether they’re happy or they hate their jobs, so their fun bar isn’t so high.

Is there anything I should know before I talk to her?

She sounds exactly like me.

Clockwise from left (L-R): Lena and Nina; Lena and Nina; Nina and Lena

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ROOKIE: Nina, you swear this is you and not Lena?

NINA [crushee]: What if she just made me up? [Laughs.] Don’t worry. I’m, like, real.

Did Lena tell you she was nominating you for Friend Crush?

Yes. I was in class, and my sister was texting me, “Call me, call me, call me.” During my lunch period, I called, and she was like, “Oh my god, you’re not going to guess what happened.” I screamed.

Are you guys best friends?

Yeah, I guess I would say that. For a really long time I didn’t think of it that way, because I thought, Isn’t that how all twins are? Then I met other twins who aren’t as close. I think it helps that we have a lot of the same interests and we’re like the same person sometimes.

How so?

I think I’m supposed to be the tomboy twin and she’s the girly-girl one. But we have the same taste. For example, we’re both fans of ’60s music, although she likes the Shangri-Las and Françoise Hardy, and I like garage rock, like the Sonics and early Beatles. It’s fun to drive with her, because we jam to the same music, except One Direction. I don’t really have a taste for them, and my sister really likes them.

She says she’s the more responsible one. Would you agree?

In the school environment, I would say she’s more the Goody Two-shoes, trying to achieve academic success while I don’t prioritize it as much. I’m more the slacker.

Were you at all hurt when Lena decided to go away for six months?

I didn’t have an issue with her leaving. In terms of being lonely, it was more dealing with all three of my siblings being gone, because I’m used to having this really busy house. For six months it was just me and my parents watching Storage Wars. But it was nice being the only child.

Tell me about dressing up as David Bowie for homecoming.

I had just read this book called Taking Punk to the Masses, and I was a little obsessed with David Bowie. And I was doing this thing called Trick or Vote, which is door-knocking while in costume for voter registration, and I dressed as Bowie for that. Then my friend’s homecoming date ditched her, so I said, “You should take me, I’m really fun and stuff.” I didn’t have enough time to go home and change, because I was at this event all day, so I showed up, and I had transferred out of that school at that point, so people were like, “Nina! What’s with the lightning bolt?”

So Lena says you treat your Sims poorly and they are unhappy.

What?! No. She’s lying. I mean, they have bad, minimum-wage jobs, but they are having a lot of fun.

What’s the weirdest thing about her—or maybe I should say both of you?

She’s a really big freak—she’s hitting me with a scarf right now. I would say our humor. We don’t have witty humor or smart humor—we have dumbed-down humor. We have an acquired taste for YouTube videos that are obscure and have, like, 80 views, because the ones that people made with the idea that not a lot of people would watch them are much funnier. There’s this one called “I Can Neigh,” which is just this girl impersonating a horse for five seconds. The girl is funny; she deserves fame.

What quality in your sister do you most admire?

I think probably her ambition and drive to succeed in whatever she does. She is really good at achieving what she wants. Like the Finland exchange—there was tons of paperwork involved, and having to deal with teachers, and she went through the whole process, and I know if I were to do something like that, I would just get too distracted by the small things. She’s really good at looking past small things. ♦

(Interviews conducted by Phoebe.)

To nominate your own Friend Crush, send an email telling us why she is the cherry on your sundae to [email protected]. Please include both of your names AND ages AND a big, clear picture of each of you. Thanks!