Penguins in Pairs

By Jordan Unger    

Some experiences for twins are “identical” across the spectrum; however, each set has its differences. This is the case for two sets of twins attending Youngstown State University.

Twins Natalie and Angela Toro are junior early childhood education majors from Howland, Ohio.

Angela (left), Natalie (right) Toro

Since birth, Angela Toro said they have been inseparable.

“We were hardly ever separated with anything we did. Our mom would always dress us up in the same outfits until about sixth grade [when] people told her to stop doing that,” Angela Toro said.

This childhood bond was similar for twins Kasey and Kristen Hood from Canfield, Ohio. Kasey Hood is a sophomore dental hygiene major, while Kristen Hood is a sophomore dietetics major.

“We had to hold each other’s hands walking in [to school] and we were super close, so the teachers actually had to separate us,” Kristen Hood said.

She said there were times when she would not let her sister answer questions in class without giving her permission first.

As they got older, Natalie Toro said it was easier to tell Angela Toro and her apart based on how they dressed.

“I would always be in the warm colors: the pinks, the reds and the oranges,” Natalie Toro said.

In contrast, she said her sister would wear cool colors, such as blue, green and purple. Now, she said it is difficult to tell them apart again.

“You have to be with us all the time to really understand the differences and pick out things on your own,” Natalie Toro said. “People ask, ‘What do you see in yourself that is so different from your twin,’ and I can’t even tell them honestly. There’s so many intricate details.”

Angela Toro said some of these details include their smiles and where their hair parts, but these don’t stop people from mistaking them on a daily basis.

One of the biggest differences between Kasey and Kristen Hood is their voices. When mistaken for one another, Kasey Hood said they will usually play along.

“We answer to each other’s names,” Kasey Hood said. “If someone comes up to me and says, ‘Hey Kristen,’ I will say ‘Hey,’ and they’ll tell me something. I will just go home and tell Kristen [what they said].”

Kristen (left), Kasey (right) Hood

This happens about three times a day, they said. Kasey Hood said even their father mixes them up. She said when they were babies, their mother painted her toenail red to differentiate them.

“Everything was labeled Kasey [and] Kristen and our dad would mix it up every time,” she said.

Now that they are in college and in different majors, Kasey Hood said most people don’t even realize she has a twin.

However, when they go out in public together, Kristen Hood said they will get strange looks from people.

“Everyone’s doing double takes, their eyes are big and [my sister] is always like, ‘Is there something in my teeth?’” Kristen Hood said.

Since Natalie and Angela Toro are in the same major, they have been taking classes together since their freshmen year. Angela Toro said this is something that professors do not see very often.

“It’s like a novelty,” Angela Toro said.

The sisters also do fieldwork together at Volney Rogers School and Austintown Early Learning Center. They said the students have trouble telling them apart, but are fascinated at the same time.

There are some perks of being in the same major, according to Natalie Toro. These include splitting up flashcard-making and purchasing only one textbook for class.

“We are essentially only spending half the price that we need to for books,” Natalie Toro said. “We learned after our first semester of freshman year that buying two of everything was totally unnecessary.”

She said one of the disadvantages is that they bicker more because of so much togetherness. They only shared a class or two through high school, so she said college was a big transition.

“We would come home from school and be really excited to see each other and I think [that made] our relationship a lot stronger,” Natalie Toro said. “It still is now, but I think now that we’re in college and we see each other all day long, we almost kind of get sick of each other.”

Bickering aside, Angela Toro said she would be lost without her sister.

“Every time I need a shoulder to cry on or if I need help with homework, anything related to school, she always gives me good feedback. She’s always willing to help me. She’s my buddy,” she said.

Kasey Hood said her favorite trait about her sister is that she always sticks up for her. Kristen Hood said her sister has a great sense of humor.

“I can talk to her about anything,” Kristen said. “When we play board games together, she does weird stuff all the time that makes me laugh.”

Kristen Hood said they enjoy going to the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, because being surrounded by other twins makes them feel normal. Although it makes them stand out, Kristen Hood said she loves having a sister the same age as her.

“We know the same people, we have the same issues,” she said.

Natalie Toro said being a twin has shaped her into the person she has become.

“I’m in the field where you have to work as a team, even in dancing and in the field of education. I think that having her around all the time, we have to work as a team,” she said. “I’m fortunate to have her as my twin and best friend.”