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Abby and Brittany Hensel, Identical Conjoined Twins, To Star in Reality Television Show
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Abigail and Brittany Hensel are returning to TLC with a new documentary depicting what it’s like to be conjoined to one’s identical twin. The two are dicephalic parapagus twins, meaning they share one body with two heads; they also each have their own heart lungs, stomach, but share a liver. Regularly making a splash and garnishing attention wherever they go, they are used to conversations edging toward a shy but curiosity-driven inquiry into how they function. The new series will answer some of the secondary questions which may be the more interesting than the obvious questions, such as how Abigail and Brittany are recognized as an entity: are they both taxed, or just one of them?

For instance, the documentary covers their graduation from college and their subsequent job search. The university charged one tuition for the girls, but two registration fees; they had to be separated with a divider for tests and they had separate transcripts, but of course they were both present for all classes. They are recognized as individuals, having two unique personalities – one is frugal, the other spends freely; Brittany is eager to travel, Abigail is a homebody – yet they expected to be recognized as a single worker at their anticipated job as an elementary school teacher:

“Obviously, right away we understand that we’re going to get one salary because we’re doing the job of one person,” Abby says on the show. “As the experience comes in we’d like to maybe negotiate a little bit considering we have two degrees and because we are able to give two different perspectives.”


Brittany adds, “One can be teaching and one can be monitoring and answering questions, so in that sense, we can do more than one person.”

More intimate than even married couples, who start to represent one organism in two bodies, the twins have to subconsciously balance each other when they walk and move, since each has control of her half the body. Privacy, of course, has a different meaning for the girls than for other sisters.

Such questions as how the twins would be charged if only one of them committed a crime will hopefully never come up, but the more pressing question for them is how they can become mothers. Though both are interested, they “haven’t figure out how it’s going to work yet.” Courtship and marriage could also prove interesting.

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Certainly there will be aspects of their personal lives the show will avoid, but the new series, which debuts Aug. 28 on TLC, entitled “Abby and Brittany,” will give a sense of what their life is like.


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