Lupita and Carmen Andrade are 22-year-old conjoined twin sisters living in Connecticut. The two women, who moved to the United States from Mexico when they were babies, are connected at the torso and share a pelvis and reproductive system. They each have two arms, but only one leg. Since Carmen controls the right leg — “I do the driving!” she tells TODAY.com — Lupita is in charge of the tunes and navigation.
Together, they make a perfect team.
Carmen is in college studying to be a veterinary nurse, and Lupita hopes to work in the same field as a technician. Lupita also dreams of becoming a comedy writer.
“I do most of the talking, but she’s hilarious,” Carmen says.
Here are seven things Carmen and Lupita want you to know about being conjoined twins:
We date … well, Carmen does
Lupita: I’m asexual, but I want Carmen to settle down. I know that’s important to her.
Carmen: I met my boyfriend, Daniel, on [the dating app] Hinge in October 2020. I never tried to hide the fact that I’m a conjoined twin, which meant I got a lot of messages from guys with fetishes. I knew right off the bat that Daniel was different from the others, because he didn’t lead with a question about my condition. I have social anxiety, and I’ve ended up canceling dates at the last minute, but I felt calm on the way there.
We’ve been together for two and a half years, and we’ve discussed getting engaged, but we want to live together first. Daniel and my sister get along really well. It’s funny because I stay up later than Lupita, but when Daniel’s sleeps over, I fall asleep quickly — and he stays up talking with her.
Sometimes I feel bad because I want to spend so much time with Daniel. So we try to come up with compromises. Like, (Lupita) will choose where we go out to dinner, or what activity we’re going to do.
Both Daniel and I love kids, but we don’t want any of our own. I like being a dog mom! Lupita and I can’t get pregnant, we have endometriosis and we’re also on a hormone blocker that prevents us from menstruating.
We don’t get sick of each other
Carmen: Sometimes at the end of the day, we’re just exhausted and we don’t want to talk. That’s when we’ll go on different devices and do our own thing. I have my laptop to do schoolwork, and Lupita will put on headphones and listen to music or go on her phone. We’ve been conjoined our whole life, so it’s not like we miss our independence. It’s all we’ve ever known, right?
We are happy just the way we are
Carmen: We share a blood stream, we share a liver, we share a lot of internal structures.
Lupita: If we had separation surgery, either one of us would die, both of us would die or we’d end up in the ICU and never get out.
Carmen: It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, we’ve had a lot of challenges, but we have a great life. We go to movies and concerts (sharing one seat) and we travel on airplanes. Last year, we went to California and we’ve also flown to Texas. We want to start working out again; before the pandemic hit we were going to the gym all the time. We’re both in the veterinary field, so we need to be able to carry some pretty large dogs. My goal is to benchpress 100 pounds.
We don’t mind sharing outfits because we have the same taste in clothing
Carmen: Our neighbor has been sewing clothes together for us since we were 5 years old. She does all of our shirts, dresses and scrubs and stuff.
We have the same style, but we’ve tried to have our own distinct looks. We don’t usually have our hair the same length. When we went to the ophthalmologist, Lupita chose completely different glasses than me, and she has a piercing on the side of her nose. I have a septum ring.
We had a happy childhood
Carmen: Yes, there were times people could be mean. The “popular” kids would infantilize us and talk to us like we were babies.
But we’ve always shared the same group of friends. We’re still close with the same people that we grew up with. Lupita has really good intuition about people, so if she likes them, I like them.
We absorb each others’ feelings
Carmen: When we were nearly 6, we had a nightmare that we were going to fall off of a plane, and then we literally fell off of our bed. That only happened once, but we can feel the other person’s emotions. That happens all the time. We were recently in a store and I felt a weird stomach drop — and I knew it was coming from my sister. A man was pretending to film his daughter, but he was really filming us. I didn’t notice, but Lupita did. She’s way more observant.
Lupita: I can feel when Carmen is anxious or about to cry. It’s that same stomach drop.
We hope to normalize conjoined twins by sharing videos on social media
Carmen: We do get some nasty comments. A lot of people aren’t used to people with disabilities setting boundaries or creating boundaries when it comes to their disability. We get a lot of questions about sex, and how we go to the bathroom and stuff like that. But you have to remember: We’re not just conjoined twins, we’re people.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com