THEY may be mirror images of each other, but they’re two totally different people.
Weekend writer Fiona Patricia S. Escandor finds out more about what makes these two sisters click.
Their 80-year-old grandmother calls them “double trouble,” and that most likely has something to do with the time they talked her into riding a rollercoaster. Quite an energetic pair, they are indeed always coming up with the most adventurous ideas.
Meet Jasmin Ellen and Jennifer Elaine Weigel Sarmiento, twins whose personalities are so contrasting, yet never made it a hindrance to their sisterly bond. They use it to their advantage instead, as they pool their different talents together, making them a power duo to watch out for.
Most recently, the twins’ teamwork paid off spectacularly as they won in the Philippines AmbassadOREO Search and were given the opportunity to represent the country at Oreo’s 100th birthday celebration in New York City.
It was an all-expense paid trip for four, and accompanying them to the Big Apple were their ever-supportive parents.
“One of our friends won in this Snickers competition and she won P300,000 and we were like, ‘What?’” Jasmin shared. “That’s actually how we discovered the Oreo Facebook contest.”
“And I told Jen, ‘We need to plan this. We need to conceptualize.’, but she just said, ‘Wait lang, wait, wait’ and she disappeared and I was so irritated,” Jasmin recalled. “She went to the grocery store and when she came back, she brought P700 worth of Oreos, put it on my bed and said, ‘Jas, ikaw bahala sa (you take care of the) design.’”
“I’m impulsive man gud and I need her to calm me down,” Jennifer laughed. “If I get excited, if I want something, I want to do it right away.”
A few hours and a mini-debacle later, the sisters finally produced the very shot that would garner them the prize. It being a photo contest, their winning entry was of them wearing pajamas, lounging on their bed, enjoying a bite of Oreo with a glass of milk.
Jennifer said that it was judged based on votes as well as its creativity and wholesomeness. As per mechanics, the photo also had to be with family and display the number 100 using Oreo cookies.
“Two months later, we really thought we were going to lose,” admitted Jennifer. She said there were other photos that looked better and even their dad commented that theirs looked like kids’ work.
“But some people did tell us that ours was cute because we’re twins, and that they thought we were 14,” Jennifer said. In the photo, with the pigtails, the Disney bed cover, and the huge teddy bears in the background, the 22-year-old twins could very well pass for teenagers. It gives the image a fun, childlike feel.
“She freaked out when she got the call,” Jasmin said. “I even thought that someone died. Then when she told me that we won, I started screaming, and out of excitement, I went to our older brother’s room and started hitting him with a pillow.”
Upon reaching New York, the twins were overwhelmed at how grand the celebration was. There were representatives from other countries. They were able to meet Oreo’s top bosses, and they were even interviewed by a couple of international media outlets.
“The PR people of Oreo also said that we had to prepare gifts for the international people. My sister, again with her very fast judgment, said, ‘Jas, we have to make polymer clay,’” Jasmin said.
It didn’t work out as planned though, but luckily, their parents stepped in and helped them then. Their dad, who the twins described as very patriotic, wanted to bring an item that would give a hint of the country’s identity. The finished souvenir was a bracelet with a yellow, blue and red cord that represented the Philippine flag, accented with a fiber glass Oreo cookie in the middle. They had over 150 of it made. (Jasmin is wearing it in the cover photo.)
It’s not only in Facebook contests that the twins work hand in hand. They have also recently gotten into a business venture, Beauty & Beyond, a wellness hub that they formally launched last Sept. 28.
Jennifer occupies the post of its chief executive officer, since “beauty has always been her thing,” Nevertheless it’s still a joint effort of the two.
“Jasmin helped me out with all the designs because she’s the creative one. She made the logo, the website, the posters, and even thought of the name. She conceptualized Beauty & Beyond actually,” Jennifer said. “We’re not partners on paper, but if you think about it, we really help out with everything.”
“If she’s a techie geek, then I’m a beauty geek,” Jennifer said.
On Jasmin’s side, she is currently focusing on managing her mom’s recruitment agency as well as working on her charity foundation. She said, “It’s getting known and it’s something I plan to make bigger.”
The foundation is called Give Back Cebu and she organized it together with older brother Andrew, and her boyfriend. Jasmin shared, “It started when typhoon Sendong happened. Many of my friends wanted to help but they didn’t know who to give it to.”
“We’ll be the bridge basically between those who can give and those who are in need. We do pick-up services and we’ll be the ones to send it,” she explained briefly.
In line with her long-term goal of advancing the foundation, Jasmin is also undergoing rescue training at Cebu Doctors’ University.
“She also does freelance photography. She collects cameras. She has so many of them and she’s really good,” Jennifer said about her twin. Jasmin even used to make Jennifer and their mom stand as her models in photo shoots.
“One twin is creative in dressing up, while the other is good in design,“ Jennifer shared. To that, Jasmin commented, “We’re really different and that’s how twins are.”
Older twin Jasmin is the homebody and the more reserved one, while the self-proclaimed bugoy (naughty) twin Jennifer is the spontaneous one, and the one who is always up and about. Jasmin studied communications technology at the Ateneo de Manila University while Jennifer pursued business studies at the Centre for International Education.
“We also have that twin connection,” Jennifer believes. Once, when Jasmin was still studying in Manila, Jennifer called her out of the blue at four in the morning, asking her if she was okay.
“I knew something was wrong, and it was weird waking up at that hour just to call her,” Jennifer said. It was eventually discovered that Jasmin had chronic appendicitis at that time.
“That’s the advantage of having a twin. Instead of thinking as one person, you think as two. Plus, we have different talents and so we just collaborate,” said Jasmin.
Constant bickering, revealing each other’s most bizarre secrets (many times during the interview, one or the other had to say, “That’s off the record!”), and getting into crazy adventures seem to be the norm for the two. But at the end of the day, they know they can rely on each other.
“We always fight but we’re also the best of friends,” Jasmin concluded. And as Jennifer would put it, “We stabilize each other.”