A series celebrating the beauty of sisterly bonds
Words: Kholeka Kumalo | Photography: Gemma Sheperd | Hair + makeup: Michelle Moolman
We have a firm eye on what it means to be a South African woman every day of the year, the good and the bad. Women’s Month presents a much-needed opportunity to embrace how far we’ve come, where we now stand and what the future holds – on our terms. Through all of these moments in time, women consistently uphold and uplift each other, big time. No matter the decade, we’re propelled through life by the strength of our women ties – our sisterly ties – whether by blood or bond. This month we launch SUPERB WOMEN, a series that showcases the powerful, dynamic, life-giving bonds forged between women who continuously show up for each other in the best ways.
What’s the most commonly heard question that the Petersen twins get asked? “Which one is Jodie and which one is Justine.” To be fair, Jodie (that’s the twin with the long hair) confessed that one of their aunts still gets it mixed up, too. And the second most commonly asked question? “Do you guys have that sixth sense twin thing?” Both full-time models who graced the cover of France’s Glamour last year, Justine and Jodie have spent most of their careers shooting for big brands individually. They’ve only recently started embracing their “twinness” professionally, with a uniquely girly-meets-tomboy style. But they’ve long been joined at the hip (“We met in the womb,” they love to say) as sisters and each other’s best friends. Scoot over Kendall and Kylie.
JUSTINE: When we were younger, we’d tell mom, “But we don’t want to dress the same.”
JODIE: Our mom would say, okay, this is what you’re wearing for the day and we wouldn’t like that. We couldn’t wait for the age when she said you’re old enough to dress yourselves now. We were so excited for that day.
JUSTINE: I think we started dressing differently from about eight years old? We were so adamant about wanting to dress ourselves. I feel like we have always embraced being individuals and we’ve always wanted to find ourselves and who we are as people. We couldn’t forget that we’re twins, but because we are twins, we still wanted to find our individuality.
JODIE: Ja, although we were always close, that allowed us to find who we were as individuals. But we remained close, no matter what we wore.
JUSTINE: I know that I wouldn’t be able to go through life without you. You’re such a big factor in my life. We obviously have moments where we enjoy being on our own, but being a twin is who we are.
JODIE: And I think also always just having you with me, especially growing up. We never had to meet people on our own. There’s always your twin with you, you’re always with me, so you know that if you’re meeting someone new, my sister is with me.
JUSTINE: It’s a comfort zone.
JUSTINE: What would you say I’ve taught you?
JODIE: Just watching you. You’re such a risk-taker. That is number one. If you have a plan, you’ll go for it. You don’t allow anyone or anything to stop you.
JUSTINE: That sounds like a bad thing? *laughs*
JODIE: No… you are... You know who you are, you’re not shy about who you are, you are just you and you don’t care what anyone thinks about you. I love that. In general, you’re a risk-taker… that’s a big thing for you.
JUSTINE: Just like, literally, I decided to cut my hair one day.
JODIE: Right? Right!
JUSTINE: It wasn’t predetermined. It wasn’t anything...
JODIE: Right! Yes. You messaged me, we weren’t together that day and said, “I’m cutting my hair today.” I was like ja, right. The next day I saw you, your hair was off. I was so...
JUSTINE: I literally walked into the house and mom was like...
JODIE: You never told anyone. In that scenario, I’d be like, “I’m gonna cut my hair, what do you think?” You just did it. What would you say I’ve taught you?
JUSTINE: I love the fact that you’re always trying to better yourself, improve yourself and you have a good character. You’re so focused and know what you want. You have such a good heart. I also love that you are so organised. Your room is a bit messy though...
JODIE: Our room, babes.
JUSTINE: Our rooms, but… you love looking at things in a positive way.
JODIE: Um... what would you say sisterhood means to you?
JUSTINE: It’s friendship. If you weren’t my sister, I would choose you to be my friend.
JODIE: Ah, that’s cute. That’s cute!
JUSTINE: Brownie points! No, but really. It’s about having fun together, sharing your deepest, darkest secrets with you. Sisterhood, to me, is love.
JODIE: And understanding. You grew up with this person your whole life and understand each other. I can say one word and you’ll understand. Just that sense of familiarity and a place you can come and just be. Even in the silence. We fight, we argue, we get over it.