Love knows no boundary, has no notion of race, religion or gender. So when Amanda Wanklin first met Michael Biggs, it was love at first sight. As a biracial couple, Amanda knew that “what was more important was what we wanted together.”
So, they settled in Birmingham and were ready to start their own family. They had no idea that life would get a lot more interesting after they became parents.
When Amanda and Michael fell in love, they knew their relationship would last, but what they didn’t expect to become famous overnight!
Their fame rose after the pair welcomed their first babies, a pair of twins.
Amanda learned she was pregnant with twins in 2005. Little did this couple know that they will make the whole world rethink race.
What makes their story so popular is that we were able to learn more about them over the last decade. Let’s see how their story unraveled in the last years.
In 2006, Amanda and Michael were ready to welcome the first two new members of their family: baby girls Millie Marcia Madge Biggs and Marcia Millie Madge Biggs.
The name word play was fun, but what neither of the two parents knew that the girls were more than special!
Millie and Marcia were fraternal twins, meaning they were not identical. This happens when the mother releases two eggs at the same time and two sperm fertilize them.
The embryos share 50% of their DNA, so they’re no more alike than two siblings. However, what was really special about them was that each took after one parent!
The genetic makeup of the two twins was different. Marcia took after her mom and Millie after her father.
Michael recalled in an interview with National Geographic the moment when they were born, explaining why he and Amanda were so amazed of their babies…
“When they were born, they were almost identical. Within a few months, the changes started to happen,” said Michael.
Then, “Millie started to suddenly get darker, and we thought that the same would happen to Marcia.” But it didn’t!
Michael is of Jamaican descent, while Amanda was born in England. So, while Millie took the black hair and brown skin from her dad, Marcia borrowed her mom’s blue eyes and fair skin.
“We never worried about it; we just accepted it,” Michael said, adding “I thought to myself: ‘No problem – one black, one white.’”
“We never worried about it; we just accepted it,” Michael explained. However, they experienced a lot of awkward situations.
“When they were first born,” Amanda said, “I would be pushing them in the pram, and people would look at me and then look at my one daughter and then look at my other daughter. And then I’d get asked the question: ‘Are they twins?’”
Amanda would answer that they are twins, but people would wonder “But one’s white and one’s black,” so she told them that, “yes. It’s genes.”
Everyone was curious about the girls, not meaning to judge or be hostile, said Amanda. But as time went on, “people just saw the beauty in them.”
Amanda says Millie and Marcia are her “one in a million” miracle. Statistical geneticist Alicia Martin says that biracial couples can have a chance at having two different twins like Millie and Marcia.
Martin explains that the child’s traits can depend on many variables, even including “where the parents’ ancestors are from and complex pigment genetics.” However, here’s what makes their birth so rare…
Unfortunately, Martin explains that studies so far were biased, meaning that “we know more about what makes lighter skin light than what makes darker skin dark.”
In terms of genetics, color is more complicated, since it is not a binary trait. This means there are not two possibilities…
When it comes to skin color, there is no binary trait. People are born with a quantitative color trait, meaning that everyone has a gradient on the spectrum of color.
But what about Millie and Marcie? How did they see themselves and what were others’ reactions when they learned the two girls were twins?
Amanda said that “there were a few teachers who didn’t believe them at first, but as they got to know them, they saw how similar they were.”
Kids thought the two girls were just best friends. When the twins were close to getting into King Solomon International Business School in Aston, Birmingham, the mom had to make a call…
“I’ve explained to the school that despite their differences, they are twins, and hopefully that will help to overcome any awkwardness,” said the mom.
Nonetheless, Amanda believes that having Millie and Marcia is fantastic, saying that “people are going to be amazed by them for the rest of their lives.”
“Even when they were at primary school, people would get confused,” said Amanda. She would go to pick them up after school, and parents stopped her…
They were confused and asked Amanda if the girls were hers. “When I told that them that they were twins, they would always be stunned. I notice a lot of people doing double-takes.” Let’s see how they look now that they’re older!
“It does get a bit irritating sometimes, when you have people stopping you in the street all the time,” agreed Amanda. However, she remembers that she has to be thankful for having them.
“Then I remember how beautiful they are and how lucky I am to have them, and the irritation goes away.”
Even though people think the girls are only friends, Marcia did say that her best friend is her sister, “because she’s always been there.”
The unique sisters have been spotted by National Geographic, who asked them if they would want to appear in one of the magazine issues.
Under the headline “Black and White. These twin sisters make us rethink everything we know about race,” the twins appeared on the magazine cover in an issue that focuses on race.
Seeing their faces on the cover of the magazine, the girls were very proud. “I’m proud of us,” said Marcia to her sister.
“It’s not every day you’ll see yourself on a magazine. It looks so bold … I feel special being on the front cover,” added Marcia.
In the story from National Geographic, the girls said that “when people see us, they think that we’re just best friends.”
“When they learn that we’re twins, they’re kind of shocked because one’s black and one’s white,” said Marcia.
At their age, the girls understand what racism is. Millie said that “racism is where somebody judges you by your color and not by your actual self.”
Marcia sees racism as a “negative thing, because it can hurt people’s feelings.” She also said she prefers to be different.
“You don’t always have to blend in the crowd because if you do you won’t get noticed. It’s better to be you,” added Marcia.
Michael recalls facing a lot of issues because of the color of his skin. When he was young, a car filled with a group of men sped by him and shouted slurs at him and the ones he was with.
“But it’s a different time now,” Michael said. He hadn’t been through similar events ever since.
Amanda and Michael are grateful their girls haven’t experienced any racist behavior from others.
Millie and Marcia have never felt it either, and that people were only baffled by the contrast they have, considering they’re twins.
“They’re just that. They just don’t see things in black and white,” said the proud father.
Millie and Marcia are not the only fraternal twins that were born with very different skin tones.
In 2018, Whitney Meyer and Tomas Dean welcomed their babies Jarani and Kalani, who also have drastically different skin colors.
Just like Marcia and Millie, the two twins began looking very different as days passed.
Whitney had no idea her babies would end up being biracial twins.
“At first when they were born, I wanted to believe it, but it’s so rare I didn’t think it’d happen to my twins!”
Stories of unique twins like Marcia and Millie or Jarani and Kalani are a lesson to us all.
No matter the color of the skin, twins are very much alike, they love each other, and they are inseparable!