Born in Kirkcaldy, 27-year-old twins Louisa and Christina Thomson qualified for Miss Great Britain 2017 having lifted the Miss Stirling and Miss Dundee titles respectively.
From a young age the near-identical pair dressed the same, kept the same circle of friends and developed the same tastes. The quirk has carried on into adulthood, with both girls driving the same white Mercedes and frequently sporting the same wardrobe.
And, rather incredibly, they (almost) share the same profession. Both nurses, Louisa works in mental health, Christina in paediatrics.
“Sometimes we buy the same items the same day without knowing and Christina will accuse me of having her things,” laughs Louisa, “And for two years running we’ve even bought our mum the same item at Christmas.”
Twin telepathy aside, the pair say their personalities are quite different. However, both girls are united in their reasons for signing up to Britain’s most illustrious beauty contest.
“We want to prove to others that girls in pageants are not only beautiful on the outside, but also on the inside,” insists Christina, “We are like everyone else, we have our own insecurities, but Louisa and I believe that’s what makes us who we are.”
Louisa agrees: “There’s a stereotypical view of girls that do pageants that we want to dispel. Everyone thinks they must be full of themselves or that they don’t have brains. On the contrary, all the girls I’ve met are intelligent and more self-conscious than self-obsessed.”
While the Thomson twins are determined to show the world there’s much more to your typical beauty queen than just a pretty face, the girls’ line of work has pushed them towards a greater mission. It’s one which centres around encouraging more discussion about mental health, as Louisa explained: “We want to raise awareness of the stigma surrounding severe and enduring mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bi-polar and depression disorders.
“As a society we still need to improve. Mental illness is just as common as physical illness and we need to talk much more about these issues and show people that there is the support out there - they don’t have to suffer in silence.”
Outside the demands of their day jobs, Louisa and Christina are actively involved in raising awareness of and money for their chosen charities. Louisa backs mental health fund, Support In Mind, while Christina’s local charity, The Cookie Jar Foundation, was named after 19-year-old Christopher ‘Cookie’ Coutts, who tragically lost his life to Hodgkin’s Lymphona cancer.
Both sisters have completed a number of ambitious challenges in a bid to raise money. Competing at Friday’s Miss GB final is the latest, and while they’re ready to enjoy the experience, they won’t be leaving their job any time soon - no matter what happens.
“We both love our jobs, and believe that our personalities and attributes have driven us to become nurses,” says Louisa, “We would continue to work as nurses no matter what happens and will continue to help others when they need it most.
“We hope that Amelia (Christina’s young daughter) will look up to us both as role models too.
“Yeah, we are both excited but nervous. We’ve mixed emotions, as this is the first time we have done something like this, but we have the support of one another, and all the girls that are running in the final, who are all unique in there own ways.
“This competition doesn’t just focus on physical looks, but also the beauty within too, which I think is really important for others to acknowledge.”
If inner beauty or personality is the key to securing this year’s crown and sash, then Louisa and Christina are in with a great chance - particularly if the words of Kate Solomons, National Director at Miss Great Britain, are anything to go by:
“We’ve met the girls on training days and they’ve really made the effort coming all the way down from Scotland.
“They’re lovely girls, very committed, very genuine and very dedicated, but I’m not sure they see it as a competition. They’re so supportive of one other and both seem to want the other to win.
“We’ve had sisters competing before but to have twins is really unique. I’m only just starting to tell them apart!”
The National Final of Miss Great Britain takes place on Friday, 15 September, at The Athena in Leicester.
Last year’s winner was Nairn-born Ursula Carlton, who qualified for the contest as Miss Aberdeen.