In 1996, Donna and Vince Aylmer had the surprise of the lives when they found out that they weren't just expecting their fourth child, they were going to be welcoming a fifth one too.
On January 16, 1997, the couple welcomed twin girls, Lucy and Maria, into the family. Although, they knew early on that the twins were fraternal, they did not expect them to look so significantly different from one another.
Maria was born black with tight curls and brown eyes like her half-Jamaican mother, while Lucy's fair skin and light eyes matched her dad's, who is Caucasian.
As expected, Donna and Vince were in shock when they were handed their daughters.
"It was such a shock for her because obviously things like skin color don’t show up on scans before birth,” Lucy explained in a recent interview. "So she had no idea that we were so different. When the midwife handed us both to her, she was just speechless."
The twins have other siblings, including two older brothers, and an older sister, but all of them bear light-brown complexions that reflect their mixed race genes.
"Our brothers and sisters have skin which is in between Maria and I," said Lucy to Daily Mail, "We are at opposite ends of the spectrum and they are all somewhere in between. But my grandmother has a very fair English rose complexion, just like mine."
Over the years, Donna and Vince got divorced, but they continued to co-parent the twins and their siblings. Donna would often dress the girls in matching outfits, which confused people because although they were sisters, they looked nothing alike.
"No one ever believes we are twins because I am white and Maria is black,” Lucy explained to the New York Post. "Even when we dress alike, we still don’t even look like sisters, let alone twins."
As Lucy and Maria got older, they asked their mom to stop dressing them in matching outfits. Around the age of seven is when the girls knew that although they're twin sisters, they were also unique individuals, and they wanted to let that show.
"We don’t look alike. So why should we have to wear the exact same thing?" said Lucy.
Unfortunately, because of their looks, the twins endured some not-so-great moments while growing up. Lucy was often teased and called names because she did not look like the rest of her family. Her red hair and fair skin set her apart from her siblings, and people thought she was adopted.
Maria also admitted that she "hated" her curly locks, and "used to cry about it."
Now, 20 years since their birth captivated the world, Lucy and Maria are still very much opposites, in every sense of the word. Their personalities and taste in style are almost as different as their looks.
Nowadays, the sisters have learned to embrace their differences, and it has brought them a little closer. The boho-chic Maria is currently studying law and psychology at Cheltenham College in the U.K, and describes herself as "outgoing." She also dresses in girly outfits and loves being glamorous.
"I love meeting people. I’m not scared to approach people," Maria told Inside Edition.
As for Lucy, she is an art student at a college in Gloucester, U.K and has developed a very edgy style, but is a lot more reserved and shy than her sister. "I’m terrified of going up to random strangers," she admitted.
When asked if their opposite appearances had an effect on their relationship as sisters, Lucy replied, "I think if we’d looked similar or even identical, then the bond between us would have been stronger when we were younger. But Maria and I had such different personalities, too. She was the outgoing twin whilst I was the shy one."
Today, the sisters consider themselves as close friends and their bond is stronger than ever.
"Now we have grown older, even though we still look so different, the bond between us is much stronger," Maria explained.
People, including their friends, are still doubtful that they're sisters, but that doesn't stop them from proudly telling everyone that they're related.
"Maria loves telling people at college that she has a white twin – and I’m very proud of having a black twin," Lucy said.
We can't wait to see what Maria and Lucy have in store for the future!
Do you remember hearing about the Aylmer twins back in 1997? Let us know!