Beckerman Twins: Get To Know Sam And Cailli, Fashion’s Most Fun Sisters
The day after our fashion shoot with Sam and Cailli Beckerman, we agree to meet up at the Boxcar Social in Toronto for a chat. We consider having the pink hibiscus beer, but it’s cold and grey so the hot chocolate with roasted marshmallows seems more appealing. Either drink, however, could be a metaphor for what it’s like to spend time with these 36-year-old Toronto-born bloggers. Both of them are delightfully fizzy and colourful, but there’s also a warmth and old-fashioned guilelessness to them that’s charming.
Their agent describes the identical twins as “human glitter,” and a London Sunday Times writer said they are “authentically synthetic and synthetically authentic.” “Have you always been so unabashedly positive and energetic?” I ask. “Yes!” they answer in unison followed by the first of many delightful outbursts of laughter.
“We’ve been this way since we were little,” says Sam. “Our dad always said we lived in our own little world. We even had our own twin talk. I don’t remember any words except that ga gua gwa was apple juice. We loved apple juice.” According to Cailli, they didn’t even talk to anyone else until they were three. “It wasn’t until our sister, Chloe, was born that we started speaking to other people,” she explains. “So, it’s a good thing our parents had another kid!”
They may have invited their sibling, parents and shared friends into their lives, but these two still inhabit their own wildly imaginative world. They work together, they live together and, yes, they finish each other’s sentences constantly. They also share a remarkably joyful—if somewhat outré—approach to high-low fashion. Sam describes her sense of style as “a fruity explosion.” Today she’s wearing a Coach bomber jacket embellished with pins from a Paris flea market, a black H&M pirate top, Citizens of Humanity jeans and star-studded boots from a collection that Kate Bosworth designed with Matisse a few years ago. “I just love anything with stars,” gushes Sam. Cailli is wearing a bubble-gum-pink Moschino sweater, Mackage leather pants (“best pants, ever!”), Aldo leopard boots and a black Marques’ Almeida puffy jacket.
“Calling anyone pathetic because they like to have fun with fashion is awful. What we do is a legit job. We’re editors and journalists, too—it’s just on our own platform.”
In addition to their similar styling aesthetic, they also mirror each other’s beauty look with their matching long blonde hair and dark eyebrows. They’re proudly committed to all things DIY when it comes to beauty: They dye their own hair and brows, and they rarely go for manicures. Their only non-DIY beauty indulgence is lash extensions. In keeping with their OTT fashion sensibility, the twins aren’t interested in embracing the #nomakeup movement. They can contour like a Kardashian, they are Kylie Lip Kit evangelists and they are hooked on long, luscious lashes.
I’ve known the twins for years, yet I still mix them up occasionally. I feel guilty about this, but they quickly assure me that I’m not alone. “People are always a little bit confused when they see us,” says Sam. “But some people don’t think we look like twins at all. I’m 2.5 inches taller, my face is a little bit wider and my eyes are bigger.”
“Some people tell us straight up that they can’t tell us apart and they’re never going to be able to,” adds Cailli. “We know twins we can’t tell apart, so I get it,” laughs Sam. When they were younger, they made a point of highlighting their differences—whether it was with haircuts and hair colour or fashions—but in their late teens, they decided to embrace their likeness. “I think we were 16,” says Sam. “No, I think we were 20 and in Miami,” suggests Cailli. That’s about as contentious as it gets with these two. They insist that, growing up, they never felt a sense of sibling rivalry. Sam concedes that Cailli ran faster, could do French braids and mastered all things technical, including the TV remote, which she still controls. “None of us can figure it out,” chuckles Sam. Cailli says that her sister was the math whiz, adding that their personalities are different but they totally get along. “We always let each other be without competing.”
“Some people tell us straight up that they can’t tell us apart and they’re never going to be able to.”
“Is there anything that pisses you off about each other?” I ask. “Hmm…” says Cailli. “I guess when she makes herself a smoothie in the morning and doesn’t make me one.” “I have my own powders,” interjects Sam. “She doesn’t like using her powders on me!” counters Cailli. “There’s not a lot that pisses me off—except having to make your breakfast in the morning like it’s my job,” admits Sam, with a smile.
Speaking of jobs: The New York Times and Sunday Times may only now be declaring them the next big thing, but the Beckermans aren’t an overnight digital sensation. They’ve been working hard at creating their brand since they started their blog in 2009, a year after they closed the fashion line they had launched in 2005 after attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Today, they have 165,000 Instagram followers (including Rihanna) and they’re brand ambassadors for Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Jeremy Scott, Moschino, Diesel, Coach, Kenzo, Aldo, Disney, Apple and H&M. They align themselves with brands they truly love, and the affection is mutual. Jeremy Scott told The New York Times that he loves their “intergalactic” style and their optimistic attitude. “It’s not a put-on,” he said. “I’ve been with them outside of fashion events. It’s who they are.”
The twins adore Scott and Lagerfeld, but they’d also love to get a call from Vetements. “I know they’re very off the grid,” says Cailli, laughing. “And they look for people who are off the grid, too!” In other words, they’re too famous at this point to be considered an indie discovery. Their Insta posts typically generate thousands of likes—even a video of one of them opening a new Apple phone box chalked up 137,000 views. “I think a Hello Kitty video we did got more than 200,000, and there’s one with our dog, Marni, getting a belly rub that is still getting likes four years later,” explains Cailli.
To the uninitiated, their online life appears to revolve around hosting parties in Miami, NYC and Los Angeles, prepping for photo shoots and jetting off to international fashion weeks. That they make a decent living doing what seems both glamorous and effortless is anything but. “If it looks fun and easy, then we’re doing a good job,” explains Sam. “There’s so much planning that goes into everything we do, from our blog posts to our Insta photos to our trips,” adds Cailli. “We start each day by checking 200-plus emails and brainstorming together and with our agent about potential collaborations and other opportunities.” Their weathered soft-shell suitcases are virtually always packed as they’re on the road every other week. After years of this itinerant lifestyle, they both ebulliently insist they love it. “It’s so much fun,” says Cailli. “Sometimes you miss certain things—like boyfriends—but right now I’m loving it.” Although they share much of their lives, they are protective when it comes to their relationships. They’re both dating now, but you’ll likely only spot their fellows in an Insta story and never in a post.
Looking to the future, the twins say it may include writing a children’s book and some fitness-related projects. Oh, and something “really big” that they can’t talk about today. When they tell me this, it’s delivered in a rather unexpected serious tone. I get the sense there are two very business-savvy women behind their lighthearted mien. It also explains why they didn’t take kindly to certain Vogue editors who penned disparaging comments about bloggers after the recent fashion week season. Sally Singer, Vogue’s creative digital director, wrote: “Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: Please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style.” Alessandra Codinha, fashion news editor for Vogue.com, also weighed in: “I have to think that soon people will wise up to how particularly gross the whole practice of paid appearances and borrowed outfits looks. Looking for style among a bought-and-paid-for (“blogged out?”) front row is like going to a strip club looking for romance.”
Ouch. This is the one incident that the eternally affable Beckermans are genuinely irked about. In response they posted an impassioned defence of their work as bloggers on Instagram. “We were both bullied as kids because we were different and creative,” they wrote. “The one thing we refuse to do, is let those editors crush dreams. For any new blogger who is starting a blog, or dreaming of starting a blog… DO IT!”
Even today, they remain baffled by the editors’ mean-spiritedness. “At the end of the day, it wasn’t nice what they wrote,” adds Cailli. “Calling anyone pathetic because they like to have fun with fashion is awful. What we do is a legit job. We’re editors and journalists, too—it’s just on our own platform.”
“We’re doing it our own way,” Sam jumps in. “Our mom taught us to live fiercely, passionately and most importantly with compassion.”
Although the Vogue remarks did provoke them, both of them say other negative online comments don’t affect them anymore. “It’s like Harry Potter,” explains Cailli. “The good outweighs the bad; it will always be like that for us. If there are 100 positive comments and one negative one—the negative one doesn’t mean anything.” “We just say ‘Whatever,’” the pair says in unison before breaking into yet another simultaneous burst of laughter.