Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Double the fun and double the closet space

Peyton Stagliano
SEEING DOUBLE: The Gildea twins (Emma- right, Charlotte- left) at North Penn’s senior sunrise.

Identical twins are some of the most unique people you will meet. Not only do they look the same, but they act the same too. For identical twins Charlotte and Emma Gildea, embracing their similarities is important, but embracing their differences has become just as important. 

“Growing up we were so similar so I feel like as we got older it became a choice to be different,” Emma explained. “When we were in middle school we both did cheer, but I kind of took on the passion more and Charlotte wanted to find her own thing that was hers”. 

Emma and Charlotte agreed that while being similar is fun, finding different interests has been crucial as they develop into separate people. 

“It is also harder in high school sports because it becomes more competitive and I am definitely more competitive,” Emma shared. “It is nice to get to be myself with my own group of people and know that Charlotte has volleyball and the musical so she has her own group of people too. But I do like that we can still come together and have a familiar thing or group of people to go back to”.  

Growing up, the Gildea twins have always welcomed the idea of being their own person despite being identical twins. One of the biggest reasons for this mindset was due to their mother. 

Growing up my mom hated the idea of dressing us the same. We were never dressed the same because she wanted us to have our own identity and to be our own person

— Charlotte Gildea

“Growing up my mom hated the idea of dressing us the same. We were never dressed the same because she wanted us to have our own identity and to be our own person,” Charlotte explained. “I think growing up, that mindset was kind of nice because we were always identified as twins and sometimes it’s nice to be identified as your own person”. 

“I appreciated that the most because when we were younger we were the same person. So I think to differentiate us that was super important,” Emma revealed. 

Since the Gildeas grew up using clothing as a way to express their differences, fashion naturally became a huge part of their lives. 

“I think I really found a love for fashion just because that was always how our mom encouraged us to express ourselves,” Charlotte shared. “I feel like we have similar styles but they are also different. I feel like we could get the same shirt but it wouldn’t be the same exact style or color”.  

While trying to maintain their own identities, the Gildeas do believe that being twins has made their lives easier in many aspects. 

“The thing I like best about being a twin is I automatically have a person built-in. I always have someone to do things with me and growing up it has just been easier for me to be more outgoing because I always had that best friend automatically set in, so I was never alone,” Charlotte explained. 

“It is nice too because I have always had double everything. Double friends, double clothes, double the closet,” Emma said with a laugh. “But in all honesty I feel like growing up it was beneficial having a twin because Charlotte was always more outgoing than me so when she made a friend I would tag along and then as we got older it became easier for me to branch out.” 

Although many people see them as the same person, the Gildeas have a difficult time seeing what other people see. 

“It is funny to me because people always say they can’t tell the difference between us when I think we are so different,” Charlotte revealed. 

 Even their math teacher was shocked to learn they were two different people. 

Charlotte and I have the same math teacher, but I have her third period and Charlotte has her fourth period, so on the first day of school when Charlotte came into the classroom she asked why she was back because she didn’t know we were twins

— Emma Gildea

“Charlotte and I have the same math teacher, but I have her third period and Charlotte has her fourth period, so on the first day of school when Charlotte came into the classroom she asked why she was back because she didn’t know we were twins,” Emma chuckled. 

As twins, the Gildea’s revealed that people do tend to ask a lot of questions. There is one question, however, that never fails to make them laugh.

“I think it’s really funny because people always believe that twin telepathy crap,” Charlotte admitted. “We definitely don’t have twin telepathy but we have the same reaction to things and the same mindset or thoughts. But it’s not like we could say the same word on the count of three or anything like that”. 

While they may not have twin telepathy, the Gildeas did share that they feel for each other on a level that no one else will understand. 

“If Emma ever gets hurt, I never feel the pain that she has physically but I emotionally feel the way that she feels. I just feel upset for her,” Charlotte explained. “Like if someone is mean to Emma I do feel that because she is my other half. And I think it goes both ways, like one time I broke my wrist at a football game and I think Emma was just as upset if not more upset than I was”. 

From the time they were born, the Gildeas were inseparable. While it wasn’t necessarily bad that they admired each other’s company, as they got older they slowly learned the importance of growing on their own.

“I feel like as we have gotten older we have established this separate but together relationship. When we were younger we were attached at the hip and would not leave each other’s side,” Charlotte shared. 

“We are still as close as we were when we were younger but we have figured out how to still be close without having to be attached to each other all the time,” Emma added. “I feel like we have learned to grow without each other but still grow together”. 

To build their confidence in being without one another, the Gildeas had to first separate for a period of time. So, for the first time in sixteen years, the Gildea’s didn’t see each other for three days.

“The first time we were ever truly separated for a long period of time was when Emma went to cheer camp in the Poconos during sophomore year. We were only apart for three days but it was literally the first time we were ever apart for more than a day,” Charlotte shared. “It is crazy when you think about it but we always go on the same vacations together and stuff like that so we were never really forced to separate”. 

Once they took the first step to being separated, the Gildeas took an even further step the next year. 

“Then we were separated for a whole week when I went to a marine biology camp for a week. That was junior year and that was the longest we had ever been apart,” Charlotte revealed.  

“When Charlotte went away to her Marine biology camp she wasn’t allowed to have her phone so she would have to call on this pay phone and I literally used up all her time on the phone and wouldn’t let anyone talk to her,” Emma chuckled. 

In October, the Gildea’s decided to run for North Penn’s homecoming court. One thing special about their campaign, however, was that they ran together rather than individually.

“For homecoming court, I was so excited about the first two rounds because we were on it together and were running together and I felt like Emma has her people and I have my people so if we run together we can get votes from both,” Charlotte shared. 

While this was a smart approach for their homecoming campaign, unfortunately, their plan didn’t go as they had hoped. 

“When Emma didn’t make the last round of voting I was so upset for her. I wanted her to be with me because it was so important to me. I wanted Emma to be there with me and not just cheering,” Charlotte revealed. 

After learning that Emma didn’t make the final round of homecoming court, both girls were devastated, but it didn’t take long for them to come up with a solution. 

“I just wanted to be able to experience everything with her so at first I was trying to see if someone else on the court would take her because, at the same time, I did kind of want to have a date. But at the end of the day, the most important thing to me was having Emma there,” Charlotte claimed. “I just felt it was way more worth it to have Emma there with me instead of someone I could not even be friends with later in life, so I walked out for homecoming with Emma. She is always going to be my rock and the person that I want to have by my side”. 

Charlotte was so excited to take Emma that she even made a big gesture when asking her to be her date for homecoming.

“I actually made her a sign and asked her to homecoming,” Charlotte shared. “Emma was sitting in the car and I walked out of the house with this big sign and Emma didn’t even realize what was happening she just kept telling me to get in the car”.  

While Emma was thrilled that Charlotte wanted to walk out with her for homecoming, Emma was against the idea at first. 

“I didn’t ask Charlotte to take me, or force her, or make her feel bad if she didn’t choose me. I actually told her not to take me,” Emma laughed. 

Although being so close to each other has its perks, the Gildeas do feel that sometimes it works against them. 

I think people assume that we want to be the same exact person when in reality that just isn’t true

— Charotte Gildea

“I think people assume that we want to be the same exact person when in reality that just isn’t true,” Charlotte shared. “I think they believe that we have the same set of friends, like the same boy, and stuff like that. We agree on things but we are truly different people”. 

“There are so many benefits to being a twin but I think it is very frustrating because a lot of people have a hard time disassociating us,” Emma revealed. “So if someone is mad at Charlotte, that means they are going to be mad at me too..

Along with constantly being associated together, the Gildeas also shared that they despise being compared to one another.

“I hate when people ask who the better twin is,” Emma shared. “Even when people tell me that I am the favorite twin thinking it is a compliment they don’t realize that I don’t take that as a compliment. Even if you think you are putting me up, you are putting Charlotte down.” 

“I just think it’s dumb to compare us in general because not only is it subjective but you just can’t compare twins,” Charlotte added. “Both of us have emotions and just because we are twins doesn’t make it any different than if I were to compare you to your friend.” 

As the Gildeas think about their future, the next step is college. Initially, they felt as if it was time to finally separate from one another, but now they aren’t so sure.  

“My number one school for college has always been the University of North Carolina. I have had that distilled in my brain since sixth grade. In junior year, however, we started going on a bunch of college tours and Charlotte wants to major in marine biology so we were looking at a lot of coastal schools,” Emma shared. “When we visited the University of Tampa for Charlotte, even though we were looking there for her, I started asking questions and looking for myself because not only was I interested in the fact that it was a main school for Charlotte but I also loved the campus too.”

Emma and Charlotte Gildea may be identical, but their fashion is one thing that sets them apart (Submitted Photo)

“I will admit I was kind of pushing Emma because I do want her to come to college with me, which I used to think was crazy. I used to think for college we were going to have our own lives and go to different schools but after touring different colleges and really letting it all sink in I began to realize I don’t want to be sixteen hours away from Emma,” Charlotte explained. “I struggle in general to keep in touch with people so it worries me that I will struggle to keep in touch with Emma”.  

Even though the Gildeas have decided they still want to be on campus together, they did acknowledge that just because they are on the same campus doesn’t mean they always need to be by each other’s side. 

“I think if we went to college together I wouldn’t have to worry about Emma being everywhere all the time. In college, you are on a huge campus and we won’t see each other all the time but you still have that comfort of knowing that you are close to one another,” Charlotte shared. 

They may not be ready to separate yet, but the Gildeas are preparing for the day when they need to live their own lives. 

“I think we both know that eventually, we are going to have to go our own ways, but we are still kids like I still want to hang out with Emma. I don’t want to have to separate from her until I really have to be,” Charlotte explained. 

As they prepare for college life and think about not having each other there all the time, the Gildeas revealed that they can’t help but think about what life would be like if they never had a twin.

“I think about what it would be like to not have a twin a lot. Probably more than I should,” Charlotte chuckled. 

“I never would know what it is like not to be a twin, so I feel like growing up it just feels so normal,” Emma explained. 

Many people will never quite understand the attachment of having an identical twin, but the Gildeas will never understand life without that attachment.

“Emma is like a part of me,” Charlotte shared. “It is so hard to explain to other people because they will never fully grasp the emotional attachment that identical twins have”. 


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