SISTERS Hayleigh and Lauren Durrant are often asked to show ID – but it’s usually to prove that they really are twins.
For many people just don’t believe that the girls — one born white, the other black — could possibly have the same parents.
But even more amazingly, they also have younger twin sisters with the same varied colouring — making them all a one-in-a-million family.
Today, on the older sisters’ 18th birthday, they reveal how they are best friends, share the same clothes, still live in the same bedroom, hate being apart — and never get bored of people’s stunned reaction when they say they are twins.
In their first-ever exclusive interview, Hayleigh — who has dark skin and hair like her dad Dean — said: “Some people can be really rude. They’ll say, ‘You’re lying, you aren’t twins — prove it!’
“So we’ll reel off the same address or pull our passports out. It’s nice to see the shock on people’s faces. When we went to college it was difficult because there were lots of groups of Asian, white and black kids.
The black group were trying to integrate me and I was like, ‘This is my white twin sister.’
“No one could believe it. People look at us like it’s some kind of miracle. I’m still amazed that we are twins.”
Lauren, who has her mother Alison Spooner’s green eyes and fair hair, said: “People just assume we’re best friends rather than sisters, let alone twins.
“I’m happy with that because she is my best friend. We are going to go out clubbing together. The bouncers are going to get a shock when they see we are related.”
The pair amazed doctors when they were born in early 2001 looking so different — at odds of just one in 500,000.
But in a further remarkable twist, seven years later they found their way into the Guinness World Records book when their younger twin sisters Leah and Miya, who are now ten, were also born with one white-skinned and the other with a darker complexion.
They remain the world’s only two sets of twins in one family with different skin tones.
Mum Alison, a 37-year-old office manager, said: “I can’t believe my miracle babies are turning 18.
“They are best friends and close in every way, apart from looking different. It took me some years to understand the science of how they could appear so different.
All the time people say, ‘They are not twins’. One lady at the doctors once said, ‘I just assumed one was yours and the other was her friend’.
“They were never really bullied, though there were some nasty comments initially. Kids at school used to ask, ‘How come one of you is milk chocolate and the other is white chocolate?’ The girls used to say, ‘It doesn’t matter, we’re sisters and best friends’. I was so proud of them.
“They’re now more of a phenomenon with their friends. Their school used to have a big picture of them in biology class. No one could understand or believe it.”
It is rare enough for two sets of twins to be born to the same parents, but the chances of them inheriting different skin and hair colour from their mother and father are just one in a million.
The genetic phenomenon only happens when two separate eggs are fertilised by different sperm, unlike identical twins who share their genetic make-up having been conceived from one fertilised egg that splits to form two embryos.
Hayleigh and Lauren have always been inseparable. Hayleigh said: “At primary school all I wanted to do was be with my sister.
“We would share clothes, toys and have the same interest in TV and books and stuff.
“We were like celebrities when we were kids. Everyone wanted pictures with us and would ask us how it felt to be twins but different. To us it was normal.”
Lauren said: “People always ask me what it’s like and I say, ‘It’s basically like having a best friend’. People just don’t believe we are twins — we have to get people to Google us.”
At secondary school, the twins were separated into different classes, but Lauren said: “We made sure we were never apart outside school.”
It was this separation that they credit for each of them now having different interests.
Hayleigh is studying drama and theatre studies and sociology at college while Lauren is taking art and business studies. Hayleigh hopes to be a theatre producer while Lauren is still unsure.
Lauren said: “We are so the same in some ways.
“We say the same things at the same time, and finish each other’s sentences.
“Sometimes I know exactly what she is thinking. But we are different — Hayleigh likes make-up and I like video games and vloggers. She’s not into that.”
Despite that, the pair have shared the same room since they were born — and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hayleigh said: “We’ve always slept in the same room, even on holiday. I hate it when Lauren goes to stay with friends, I can’t sleep without her.
“She’s messy as anything though and I’m always tidying up after her. I’m a bit more maternal.” Lauren added: “It’s good to have someone to talk to at night. I love being in her room. We share things and have heart-to-hearts.
“Hayleigh is hoping to go to university next year and I’m not. That’s going to be huge, me not having her there. It’s going to be so weird but I’ll go and see her loads.”
Both single, the twins have different tastes in boys.
Hayleigh says: “We don’t have boyfriends. We don’t have one huge celebrity crush at the moment, but I like rappers and Lauren likes YouTubers. We are never going to fight over boys.”
The pair say they are aware they are also role models to Leah — born with a whiter complexion — and Miya, who has her father’s skin tone.
Unlike their older twins, the ten-year-olds have grown to look more alike in recent years.
Alison, who lives with paver Dean, 43, in Fleet, Hampshire, said: “The younger ones idolise the older ones and are always copying them. It’s like having two Mini-Mes.
“They are the only ones who know what it was like to be so alike but look so different when they were younger.”
Leah, who is in the same school class as Miya and shares the same bedroom, said: “Lauren and Hayleigh are my heroes.
“I like my older sisters. We want to be like them when we get grown up but we don’t see them at the moment, they are always at college or work.
I always stick up for my sister and pick her up if she falls over. People don’t believe she’s my twin but I shout, ‘She is my sister’. That’s what my older sisters did, so I do the same.”
Miya added: “Lauren and Hayleigh are the best.
“They teach me that it’s the best thing in the world to have a twin sister, even if you are not identical.”