You have probably seem them around campus and may have even done a cartoonish double take to make sure you saw what you think you saw. But your eyes are fine and you are not seeing double, it is just Elagance and Eloquence Rowell.
Around Saint Peter’s University, Elagance and Eloquence are known as the identical twins who dress identically. And unless you know both of them well enough, it is probably almost impossible for you to tell them apart. But despite the similar outward appearance, they are two different people with distinguishing personalities and goals that help friends and family tell them apart.
Eloquence is a Political Science major with a minor in Sociology with a passion for dance. Elagance is majoring in Economics with a minor in Business Law who enjoys spending time on the basketball court.
Their day begins every morning at 6:30 am.
“I guess the most essential part would be doing our makeup and getting dressed,” said Eloquence. “So we get up pretty early.”
Their next task is finding the perfect outfit, which they decide on together. But do not try to confine them to a single style.
“It's funny because people ask us what type of style we go for,” said Eloquence. “It's like we really don't have a set fashion.”
"Yeah, it's nothing that's set about us,” said Elagance. “Like I like to look a little bit universal.”
Their outfits can one day be influenced by Western cowboys then the next day a more Barbie-like style and then the next day a proper conservative style.
And their selection of clothing stores vary just as much as their fashion sense. H&M is one of their favorite stores, but they also shop at Forever 21, Afaze, Rainbow, various uptown boutique stores, and pretty much any store that sells at least two of the same articles of clothing.
To singletons (a term used to describe somebody who is not a twin), this desire to dress alike can seem strange or laughable, but to Elagance and Eloquence their reason for this is deep and meaningful.
“Our clothes represent our bonds,” said Eloquence. “ I think my main reason for wanting to dress like Elagance is just to say thank you to God too.”
“I think honestly it was like a bond that I realized that most people didn't have,” said Elagance. “And around puberty I really started to appreciate my twin sister more. Like I noticed a lot of people sought boyfriends and girlfriends and stuff like that and it wasn't something that was a priority for me. The things that people were worried about...it was almost like Eloquence fulfilled that hole for me. I loved her so much that making friends and being at high school and stuff didn't really matter.”
This powerful bond between these two can be attributed to what they described as their caring and strict upbringing and their mom’s unique disciplinary style, which fostered love and respect among Elagance and Eloquence’s and their two sisters and brother. It does not hurt that they also have plenty of sets of twins in their family to set an example -- their Dad’s side has eight sets of twins and their Mom’s family has 59.
And families with over 60 sets of twins may one day be the norm. The family is part of a rising trend happening in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the “twin birth rate rose 76 percent from 1980 through 2009, from 18.9 to 33.3 per 1,000 births.”
In New Jersey alone, the rate of twin births has increased by 100 percent. And non-Hispanic black women are the most likely ethnic group to give birth to twins.
Their bond has even led to an almost psychic mental connection. One Christmas they even ended up accidentally buying the exact same shirt for each, almost like something ripped out of an ironic O. Henry short story.
And on top of having an intense love and trust between each other, their Baptist upbringing has also instilled an intense faith in God that deeply affects their identity as twins.
“Some people, I think they're strong enough to take on everything by themselves,” said Elagance. “But I think with twins God made it that this person will probably need another person to console, to move through life.”
Eloquence added, “There's not a day that goes by where I don't thank God for Elagance.”
In these times, many college students are scared to graduate and enter the real world, but Elagance and Eloquence seem almost unfazed by this.
When asked about their future plans, Eloquence said, “We actually want to open our own law firm. And that's why she majors in Economics and I major in Poli Sci [Political Science]. We both want to go to law school.”
Their future law firm is tentatively titled E&E and they would fight civil rights cases against any and all forms of prejudice.
But whether it’s the law firm, one of the acting or modeling deals they have been offered, or something else, they are confident that they will be doing it together.
“Honestly, there's nothing in this world that could separate me from Eloquence,” said Elagance. “My sister could say the sky's purple, and the sky's purple because she said it's purple.
“Maybe it's just her eyesight,” she added jokingly.
“Not to be cocky, but we're going to be two people that make a big, big difference in the world,” said Elagance. “I think that we're going to take on so much, especially with civil rights, that we're going to need each other.”
“United we stand, together we fall,” added Eloquence.