By Olaolu Fawole

Abby and Brittany Hensel are American conjoined twins, who first attracted attention after appearing in an Oprah Winfrey Show episode in 1996.

Twin babies are usually a blessing for many couples, however, on March 9, 1990, Mike and Patty Hensel received their bundle of joy with mixed reactions in New Germany, Minnesota, United States.

They had conjoined twins and opted not to separate them; that is how Abby and Brittany’s joint lives started.

The twins have been through multiple ups and downs of life and are now grown-ups pursuing their careers.

Conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel detailed how they approach their job as elementary school teachers

The 33-year-olds have been working as teachers following their graduation from university for the last ten years.

And the pair have been candid in the past about how they work to do the role together.

Abby and Brittany are conjoined twins, to give it the proper medical name, dicephalic parapagus twins, which gives them the appearance of having two heads and one body.

It’s a very rare condition and only a few people with it survive until adulthood, and it is considered better not to try and separate the twins.

Each woman has her own heart, stomach, spine and lungs, and they each control one leg and one arm each of the conjoined body.

The twin sisters can eat, write and complete other tasks separately, though other tasks requiring multiple limbs simultaneously require some very precise coordination between the pair.

Working together, the sisters can drive a car, play the piano, ride a bike and participate in sports, and they also work together in their jobs as teachers.

Each of them has their own driver’s license and had to pass their test separately, as the state of Minnesota requires both of them to hold their own license.

The sisters have appeared on TV several times, first in 1996 on The Oprah Winfrey Show and then on documentaries, Joined for Life and Joined at Birth.

Abby and Brittany also featured on UK TV show Extraordinary People, and starred in their own TLC reality show Abby & Brittany, which aired in 2012 and followed the sisters as they graduated from university and started working as teachers.

While they once starred in reality TV, these days the sisters live a relatively low-key life as elementary school teachers.

Together, they teach fourth and fifth-grade pupils with a focus on math in a role they’ve held since 2013.

Although they earned separate degrees and each held a teaching license, when they secured the job as teachers, Abby and Brittany were only paid one salary split between them, which they understood as they were ‘doing the job of one person’.

Abby told the BBC in 2013: “As maybe experience comes in we’d like to negotiate a little bit, considering we have two degrees and because we are able to give two different perspectives or teach in two different ways.”

One can be teaching and one can be monitoring and answering questions,” Brittany said. “So in that sense we can do more than one person.

They may be conjoined, but each sister has her own ‘different style’ and they see themselves as ‘totally different people’.


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