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We're identical twins who went on a reality dating show to date other twins. We finally understand why people are fascinated by us.

Palmer Haasch   

We're identical twins who went on a reality dating show to date other twins. We finally understand why people are fascinated by us.
  • Samer and Samir Akel are twin restaurant owners who appeared on the Prime Video series "Twin Love."
  • The brothers, who call themselves the "Habibi Twins," dated another set of twins on the show.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Samer and Samir Akel, 34, about their experience on Prime Video's "Twin Love." The following has been edited for length and clarity.

We had a little bit of trouble growing up, because our parents, when we were babies, couldn't really tell who is who. They had to give us different sock colors, or the same PJs but different colors. One time, our mom gave one of us the same medicine twice, thinking she was giving it to each of us.

We used to go to our parents and ask them which one we were, "Am I Samer or Samir?"

We had the best childhood in Syria. Back home, you don't really grow up in the house — you grow up playing on the streets, on a bike, playing soccer. Living in Syria was so nice, but shit went down and ISIS started coming in.

Then it was kind of hard for families in the Christian community, so they had to run away from Syria. We were one of them. Our parents, they built a nice life for us back home, from restaurants, to nightclubs. Everything was set up for us, but we had to leave everything behind and move out here to the US at age 22.

In the first couple of years in America, it wasn't easy for us. We worked as movers at Home Depot, then we worked at liquor stores, then we got our papers. One of us started working at a bank, the other at a UPS office. That's when our dad came here and checked on us. He helped us open our first deli — an Orleans and York in Downtown LA. We're nothing without our family's support. We would never be here.

Having a twin is like a winning card. We can think the same way. We can act the same way. We're both doing the same work. Together, we're like a team: one of us is good at organizing, but isn't too good at numbers. The other is better at numbers, but not good at organizing.

Having brothers, sisters in the family, it's always a blessing. But if you have a twin, it's even more.

So when "Twin Love" came and said that they were looking for twins and thought we could be a good fit, we chatted about it and decided it was the right fit for us, to go do it together. It's a good opportunity to actually show people what twins are about.

We were separated for the longest period of our lives while on 'Twin Love'

It wasn't our focus to go on a show separate, to leave each other, because we know we're stronger together as a team. The twist — all the twins being split up — was a total surprise for all the twins on the show. We had a plan, and then the minute we showed up, it was like, "We have bad news for you guys. You guys are going to be separated. Each one is going to be living in a different house."

We were separated for a minute, a long minute. It wasn't easy. That's actually the first time in our lives that we've been separated for that long. We're so used to being together and leaning on each other when we need something. But something good about it was that we needed to be our own selves. We had the opportunity to think and make our own decisions without going back to the other brother.

But it was so weird. We were doing similar things in our own houses, without knowing, like drinking coffee at the same time, making food, waking up from the bed, doing the same kind of moves, and speaking the same. There were a lot of similar things between us, even when we were separated.

Our favorite memory on the show was when we won the "All The Feels" twin telepathy competition, which gave us a chance to send messages to each other. We wanted to share what we had been going through, and see how the other person was doing.

We imagined getting married to another set of twins before going on the show, but it didn't work out

We always had the same romantic taste. Even when we were younger, if a girl liked one of us, we'd always have to go to the other first and be like, "Yo, I saw the girl first. She's mine, stay away."

We spoke about if we liked the same twin sisters and we get married, what our kids would look like. That would be trippy, to both have a boy and have them looking alike.

From day one, we both picked the same picture of the sisters, Baelee and Zoie. We didn't know what the other was doing at their own house, but we still went for the same two sisters. [Editor's Note: Baelee and Samir won "Twin Love" season one, but neither couple stayed together.]

We're still in touch with Baelee and Zoie, and are on good terms. We have a group chat between all the twins. We're always chatting, laughing, making jokes with each other. We're planning on doing a trip now, where all the twins are together.

After being on the show, we understand why so many people make comments about us being twins

We walk around and people tell us, "Oh my God, you guys are twins?" You get used to it, but this was our first time being around that many other twins, to a point where we start asking, "Oh my God, you guys are twins? Oh my God, you guys look alike." So we know how it feels now — and we did get confused sometimes between them, and you can't tell who is who.

Each twin has their own, different personality. Between the two of us we don't really see it much, but we started noticing it when we saw the other twins on the show. There's always the quieter one, and the more outgoing one. We were like, "Oh, damn, we do look like the other twins. There's a twin who is more quiet, there's a twin who is louder."

The best part of being on the show was the last three days going back to the same house. We felt like we already knew the woman that the other was dating. We already knew the other cast members — their twin had been been living with us in the houses for many days, so we felt like we knew them already. It just felt so good to be together again, and to see how the other brother was doing face-to-face with his partner. It would a little bit trip you out, like, "I'm hanging out with my brother and his girl, and her twin is sitting next to me."

We wanted to show people who we are are in real life. Samer and Samir are the same people on the outside of the show, and inside of the show. We never changed that.