Monozygotic twins are born from a single egg cell fertilized by a sperm cell and therefore share 100 percent of their genes. They are always of the same sex, physically identical or nearly so, and quite rare: a 2021 study estimated that they account for 0.4 percent of all births worldwide. Identical twins are an object of scientific interest, but above all they have always exerted a particular popular fascination. In America since the nineties two sisters have managed to create a business around it, to build a career and to become almost monopolists in the sector.
Debbie and Lisa Ganz are in turn identical twins: starting with a themed restaurant, today they have a casting agency that works with television and cinema. If someone in show business is looking for a couple or even triplets or quadruplets, they usually go to them.
They are New Yorkers and from an early age they have experienced their condition as the most important trait of their identity. As children they began to participate in singing talent shows and found their first job in Greece as employees of a hotel, precisely because the owner liked the idea of having two identical girls behind the counter. In 1994 they had the idea of opening a twin-themed restaurant: they told The Hustle website that they raised $400,000 in investments from family, friends and actor Tom Berenger (he starred in Platoon and Major League, among others). whom they had met in a restaurant. Thus they opened Twins Restaurant, located not by chance on Second Avenue in Manhattan: the restaurant had a double counter, decorated with the double helix of DNA, and above all had only identical twins as waiters. Debbie and Lisa required pairs of employees to dress alike and could only work together: if one was sick, the other stayed home too.
The restaurant was a success above all in the media: within five years practically every American television show had done one or more services from the Twins Restaurant and the Ganz twins were often guests on TV: they also passed by the very famous Oprah Winfrey Show. Gradually, television producers began contacting them when they needed to find a pair of identical twins. The Ganz sisters were in contact with many twins from all over the United States, and thus built up a rich catalog.
In 1999 they closed the restaurant, in view of a possible expansion, but then they never reopened it. Instead they published a book and some calendars about the twins and set up Twins Talent Management, becoming agents for strictly twin actors and extras in film and television. Since then they have supplied identical cufflinks for commercials, documentaries, TV series (Law & Order, Orange Is the New Black and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, among the most famous) and films.
Among the most requested are twin children, often used on sets to play a single role: the labor laws regarding minors allow limited hourly employment during the day, therefore when one of the brothers reaches the daily limit, the productions make the twin. Their agency also brings 50 sets of twins to the Twinsburg, Ohio, themed festival each year.
But their “expertise” in the field of twins has expanded over the years, and the agency has also provided identical siblings for medical and scientific research or for tests related to biometric technologies, such as fingerprint verification or facial recognition (the first are different from brother to brother, in the second case only the most advanced technologies are able to detect the differences). However, the main field of the Ganz sisters remains the show: today theirs has become a classic agency and they also represent actors and TV personalities who are not twins. But much of the business is still tied to identical brothers and sisters.
– Read also: Why identical twins fascinate us