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Monette and Mady aren’t just identical—they’re inseparable. The Parisian twins live in the same apartment, dress alike, dance together and share every meal. Swedish photographer Maja Daniels has spent a great deal of time documenting their everyday lives.

What childhood memories do you cherish the most?

Mady: I think it must be going on vacation with our parents. We used to visit our grandparents in the mountains in the Auvergne region in central France. We loved going there.

Monette: I have memories: visions of the sky and the mountains and a strong feeling of freedom. We used to go hiking high up the mountains with our father. He loved hiking—we would walk for miles on end.

Mady: That’s where we learned to use our legs! We often danced together in the small square in the village. We loved dancing together.

Monette: We never miss the occasion to dance, whether it’s at a party or just simply because we feel like it.

You’re both professional dancers. How does being so intimate help your dancing? Are you more in tune with each other?

Monette: When you’re dancing with somebody, you become a new couple. You have to spend time with someone and be able to share in order to make it work.

Mady: Therefore it’s easier for us to dance together since we already know and understand each other so well. Because we’re in the habit of being close, extending this unity into dancing was easy.

What has your close bond taught you about the notion of family?

Mady: Our close relationship helps us deal better with all sorts of other relationships. The foundation you receive from your family is important, and it helps us evolve within other families in life.

Monette: Thanks to our relationship as twins, it’s very easy for us to integrate into other groups.

Mady: I think we understand more about being a couple than most individuals do.

Have you ever wished that you were an only child?

Monette: But why?

Mady: Oh, no, never! It’s not important for us to have differences. No, it’s just in our nature.

Monette: We’re very happy together. We’ve never had such a wish. You can be on your own even if you’re with someone.

Please tell us what you’ve learned about communication.

Mady: Our communication with each other is very specific and something quite special. It’s simple. We can say things to each other that we wouldn’t say to others—even if it hurts, we can say it. It’s more honest.

Monette: And we can communicate without talking. Our brains are wired to function together.

Mady: Earlier today we were doing two things at the same time without talking about them—we just knew what was going on.

Do you have different roles when it comes to organizing your lives?

Monette: Ultimately, and this is true for all aspects of life, we fill certain roles in order to find unity. And in order to find this unity, the role must be understood by both parts. When dancing together, for an example, you have to be 50–50, not 40–60.

Mady: Each person has to take his or her responsibility, and this sharing is easy for us. Twins have a better sense of sharing. A single child doesn’t like to share, but a twin will share, because they consider themselves a unit already. Without us knowing, this sharing is already integrated in our brains. So I won’t enter into Monette’s space and she won’t enter into mine, naturally.

Monette: It’s a kind of mutual respect.

Mady: There’s a lyricism when sharing is done well. It’s quite magical. It’s a unity that goes beyond a “me-you” type of sharing. The trick is to not notice this 50–50 split.

Neither of you has ever been married. What similarities and differences do you share with married couples?

Mady: It’s two different types of couples! A married couple has only known each other for a short amount of time. The important thing to point out here is that they weren’t born together, even if they’ve been together for 60 years.

  • Photography:
    Maja Daniels

"We can say things to each other that we wouldn’t say to others—even if it hurts, we can say it. It’s more honest."

What’s the most special thing about your relationship?

Mady: Our bond. This is the most important thing for a twin. There is this invisible bond between us.

Monette: Oh yes, it’s the key! It’s really the sixth sense for a twin, because it’s there even before birth. We can feel it. I’m not sure our mother liked it too much in the beginning—she used to question our identical outfits. But ultimately, she came around.

Mady: But it’s difficult to describe, because it’s something mysterious. It’s beyond words or gesticulations or looks. Psychologists say the ultimate difference is that we’ve shared placenta—it’s as simple as that.

Monette: It’s a kind of communication between us. And it’s because of this bond that there’s harmony between us.

Mady: Also, another special aspect to our relationship is that it’s honest—we can’t lie to each other.

Monette: Yes, and we don’t need to speak to each other all the time. Each person can pick up on what the other one is feeling, so we don’t need to state obvious things.

Mady: We understand each other.

Monette: We know each other!

What else has your relationship taught you?

Monette: It has taught us a lot about compromise, of course.

Mady: There are always compromises to be made; our lives are made of them. But that doesn’t mean we’re better at it than others.

What’s the most important lesson that your sister has taught you?

Monette: To Love.

Mady: Yes, exactly. But Love with a big L, of course! I’m not talking about romance.

Monette: We’re always there for each other. If there’s something to share, we share it.

Mady: If something difficult happens to one of us, the other one is there. All of the small things are important; the little nothings.

Monette: That’s Love.

These images were shot by Maja Daniels, a Swedish photographer based in London. When Maja first spotted Mady and Monette on the streets of Paris, she was immediately captivated by their identical outfits, synchronized mannerisms and quirky demeanor.

She began photographing both posed portraits and documentary images of their everyday lives. Maja approaches her projects through a sociological frame and is interested in issues related to self-identity. She believes encountering the twins’ unique bond makes us wonder, “Is that the same person twice?”

To see more images of Monette and Mady, please visit majadaniels.com.

This is one of three free promotional stories from Issue Seventeen. You’re welcome to choose three more stories from each print issue of Kinfolk to read for free.

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"All of the small things are important; the little nothings."

  • Photography:
    Maja Daniels

"All of the small things are important; the little nothings."

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