WEB PROFILE: Ali and Joli Holmes See Double At Whitman

Jacqueline Rees-Mikula

Ali and Joli Holmes. Photo contributed by Ali Holmes

Moving away from home and stepping onto Whitman campus is enough to overwhelm many students. Most of us are eager to meet people, frantically memorizing new names and trying to remember which faces they go with. As if that isn’t hard enough, try adding being a part of a pair of twins to the mix. The Pioneer sat down with first-years Ali and Joli Holmes from Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Pioneer: Did you plan on attending the same college?
Ali and Joli: No.
Ali: We just wanted our own college experiences. We lived in the same room for 18 years.

Pioneer: How did you both end up at Whitman?
Joli: Whitman was one of our top choice schools.
Ali: I liked the homey feel. We decided independently of each other for sure. Jo decided where she was going before I decided.

Pioneer: Does having a twin here complicate anything?

Photo contributed by Holmes

Joli: Yeah, I mean, people think that I’m her all the time.
Ali: I’ve had no problems with that here––other than being awkwardly waved at the whole day––
Joli: Well yeah, that’s what I mean. It’s still hard though, people think we’re so similar … it’s fine. The thing I don’t like about it is that we still aren’t separated after 18 years.
Ali: Whatever. I’m happy having you here.

Pioneer: Do you feel more at home knowing that both of you are here?
Joli: No.
Ali: Actually, kind of not. I don’t see her that much … sometimes it feels like home––she was there the other day when I needed her.
Joli: We just don’t have the same friends, so we don’t hang out much.

Pioneer: Do you share any classes or participate in things together?
Ali and Joli: We’re in psychology together. Do we like being together? No.
Ali: It’s more competitive––she’s doing way better than I am, and I hate that.
Joli: But the professor doesn’t confuse us.

Photo contributed by Holmes

Pioneer: How has having a twin here affected your identity at Whitman?
Joli: I think that people are generally really interested in us because we’re twins. People think we’re more interesting––which isn’t true!
Ali: People like to see us together––it’s a weird thing. I don’t think it has changed my identity. I guess people often talk about a personality change when they get to college … Living in a different dorm, I tell people that a have a twin, but [living separately] allows me to be my own person.

Photo contributed by Holmes

Joli: People want to know how similar or how different we are. I guess in high school people always associated me with her. Whereas in college, people meet us individually, so they only find out later that we’re twins. Since they don’t initially know us as a pair, they see us more as individuals.
Ali: I’ll suddenly tell someone that I’m a twin, and they’ll say “oh my God, that makes so much sense––I saw you all over campus the other day!”
Joli: I feel like Whitman students are really respectful of individual identities.
Ali: I like having her here!
Joli: I’m mutual to it.

Pioneer: Is there anything interesting you tell people about yourselves?
Ali: We did not intentionally wear the same shirt today … it just happens. Fun fact: Once we wore the same exact outfit here on the same day––not planned. Our brains are really similar; thinking of the same things at the same time happens. One time we had the same dream!

Photo contributed by Holmes