Street: Why did you guys choose to go to college together?
Megan Bridges: We actually didn’t want to. It was the best choice for both of us, so it just worked out that way. And also in terms of financial aid, we got the best scholarship here at Penn. So it made a lot of sense for us to go here.
Kelly Bridges: It was far away from home, which was nice.
Street: What’s the worst part of being a twin?
MB: The worst part for me is the questions we get. People always ask if we're psychic. That kind of gets annoying. And twin telepathy. We don’t have twin telepathy. But we know each other pretty well.
KB: I’ve also had really weird questions asked to my boyfriend.
MB: I’ve never had that problem with a boyfriend, but I’ve hooked up with a guy before and he called me Kelly midway. That's pretty bad. Actually, that’s the worst.
KB: But it’s really nice too because we mostly have all the same friends. A lot of our friend group is the same, and we have a lot of the same interests. We’re best friends. It’s nice being so far away from home but still having family.
Street: Do you ever fight?
KB: Yeah, we fought before coming here.
Street: What did you fight about?
KB: She stood me up for lunch.
Street: Is there one distinctive thing that differentiated the two of you physically when you were growing up?
KB: When we were babies, our grandpa painted one of our toenails red to differentiate us.
MB: And personality-wise, I was always the more vocal one. And she was very shy. So when we were out somewhere, she would also say, “Kelly, can you ask this for me?”
Street: What’s the biggest difference between the two of you?
KB: In high school, people thought I would be the more liberal one, but now that we're in college, Megan is way more liberal. I’m left, but Megan is WAY left.
MB: I feel like I'm more free–spirited. We're both risk takers but we're willing to take different types of risks. I'm more comfortable making decisions that are a little less conventional.
Street: What's an example?
MB: I took a leave of absence last semester and stayed in Nicaragua after a summer internship. I was working for an NGO called Nuevas Esperanzas. It works with communities residing on an active volcano. We had projects on beekeeping, farming, tourism and poverty reduction. I decided to stay after being there for three weeks.
Street: Do you feel different coming back?
MB: I feel like my interests have changed. I'm not worried about the same kind of stuff that I was before I left––like getting straight A's and getting the perfect job––that stuff doesn't worry me as much anymore. Honestly my only thought right now is how to get back to Latin America after I graduate.
Street: Kelly, what were you doing last summer?
KB: I spent ten weeks in a rural village in central India through IIP and CASI. I worked with an environmental non–profit that included a lot of women's rights and empowerment issues.
Street: Do you feel different coming back from abroad?
KB: I feel like I have a greater understanding for things in the world. [We] come from a lower socioeconomic status than most of our peers. But when I was in India, I was really wealthy compared to here. It made me a bit more humble and a bit more aware of my place in the world.
Street: Does coming back from abroad make you view Penn differently?
MB: Penn has a really strong nonprofit culture and I think that’s great, devoting your time to something you’re passionate about. But I feel like once you’re abroad it’s really easy to see how there are very few non–profit organizations that are making a meaningful impact just because of the way non–profit funding works. They don’t follow up on most of their projects. I guess I’m mainly more skeptical. When my friends tell me that they’re involved in something I always make a point to ask them to be a little more critical.
Street: Why do you think both of you are so globally oriented?
KB: When we came to Penn I never thought that I’d be going abroad so much. I thought maybe I'll do a fall abroad, definitely a summer abroad. There were just so many opportunities that we wouldn’t have had otherwise due to our financial status. So for me if my financial aid covers this I’m hopping on that plane. Megan and I are actually taking a class this semester that sends half of its students to Zanzibar and the other half to Morocco to study conflict and cooperation. So I’m going to Morocco and she’s going to Zanzibar.
Street: Does financial status affect your experience at Penn in other ways?
KB: There’s a lot of perceptions about what it means to be low–income and be at Penn. I’ve overheard students say that financial aid students bring the curve down because they believe that financial aid students wouldn’t do as well on exams as students that came from a private school and had access to tutors...There's another layer added that not only if you're low income but also if you're a minority. For us, we're Latina. I’ve heard people say comments about affirmative action and 'you didn’t get here on your own merits because of your ethnicity' or whatnot.
MB: One kid told me “I’ve never actually met someone who was poor before.” It was a weird comment. But there’s also a lot of advantages and I’m very, very fortunate that we’ve had the opportunities to go abroad. For me that outweighs all the negatives. In some ways, ironically, we have more liberty because our parents aren’t paying for our education there’s no pressure to pick a certain major or follow a certain track. We could have studied underwater basket weaving.
Street: What do you think about twins who dress the same in high school?
MB: Twins freak me out. When I think about twins the first thing that comes to my mind are those twins that we saw a few years ago that were in their 50s and dressed exactly the same down to their shoelaces. That was kind of creepy.
KB: I have less of an opposition to wearing clothes similar to Megan. Whereas Megan is very much doing her own thing. A year ago we showed up at the airport wearing the same outfit. Megan got her carry on suitcase and changed in the bathroom. Or Junior year when I was in Australia and she was in Cuba, we both got highlights without consulting each other. Then we got back and we were like 'Oh shit.'
Street: What are your sentiments on the twin threesome fantasy?
KB: Megan and I have had several instances where people have made it clear that that is their intention with us. There was a guy in high school that used to ask my boyfriend if he ever slept with the two of us at the same time. That hasn’t happened and it will never happen. We’ve had guys tell us that they’ve really liked both of us and wanted to go out with both of us.
MB: I don’t want to have sex with my sister.
Street: Do you have any hidden talents?
MB: Well, it’s not twin telepathy. I’m really good at picking up a lot of slang and dirty jokes in Spanish. It happened when I visited Nicaragua.
KB: I’m very perceptive, but accident-prone. I am very perceptive of people though. I have a good judgment of people’s character.
Street: Are there any questions we forgot to ask you?
KB: No, but I have a quick anecdote about being a twin. There was a boy who lived on our freshman hall who didn’t realize we were two different people. He didn't realize until he saw us both moving into the dorm after winter break. He just thought our name was Megan Kelly. There have been many incidents where people don’t know who is who, but we just try to be polite.
MB: You asked who the favorite twin is, but you forgot to ask who the evil twin is. (Ed note: You decide, Penn.)