Identical twins Cooper and Luca Coyle have lived several lifetimes on the internet.
They introduced themselves to the world on YouTube in 2016 as college bros studying photography at FIT. Back then, they weren’t out as gay. Though Luca says, “That closet door was see-through.”
SEE ALSO: 12 Asian American drag queens that slay face and serve representation realness
The secret life of two American teenagers
Pre-YouTube, the twins developed an interest in Bratz dolls, whom they styled, made up, posed, photographed, and shared on the online photo community, Flickr. Together they joined doll collection groups and entered weekly photo competitions on the site, prompting them to deepen their knowledge of photography, creative direction, styling, hair, and makeup for the dolls.
It was a secret fascination they kept on the down-low. Cooper recounts, “Like, we could not let anyone know we had dolls. ‘Why can’t we hang out on the weekends?’ No, you can’t come into our room! No, no, no, no, no!” But it was also a bond the twins could share with each other.
“We didn’t have any friends, we just had each other. That’s kind of how we clung to each other because we couldn’t relate to anyone else,” says Cooper.
After asking if there are any twins in my life (tragically no), his brother Luca remarks, “I mean, I think it’s pretty much all we know. Like with twins — I feel like if you’re not a twin, like you don’t get it, but then if you’re a twin you get it, but then maybe if you’re not a twin you always wonder…”
“With us working together, it’s kind of like all we’ve ever done,” says Cooper. “This is what we were destined to do. Like, we were destined to make magic together.”
This prompts Luca to joke, “What are we, magicians?” to which Cooper responds, “If you want to get hippie-dippy trippy Chicken Noodle Soup for the Teenage Soul, then yeah, you know, it’s meant to be.”
“I mean, I did pop, uh, kick [Luca] out of the womb, even though he came out seven minutes earlier. I always say, ‘No sweetie, you didn’t come out first, I kicked you out first.’”
Regardless of whether or not one twin kicked the other out of the womb, Luca and Cooper have done everything together — even come out as gay to the world. In 2018, the siblings published their viral YouTube video “Twins come out to mom & you won’t believe her reaction.”
Out of the closet, the pair are no longer twins, but now regard themselves as quadruplets. Enter Sugar & Spice.
To their 4.5 million followers on TikTok, Cooper and Luca are respectively Sugar & Spice — their Y2K bimbo glamour queen-inspired drag personas.
@coyletwinsthis employee made our day at the end🤩 #drivethru #prank #fastfood♬ original sound – SUGAR & SPICE✨
So, how did the twins go from making over dolls to themselves? In between, they found a zeal for transforming others.
“I love transformative makeup where it takes you to the next level and you see yourself in a light that you normally wouldn’t,” says Luca.
For them, transformative makeup is more than a makeover, but also what they describe as a “mental” transformation.
“It’s not that makeup gives you the confidence to be this person or like makes a new person come about; that person is always there,” says Cooper. “It’s just maybe lying dormant, or it may be resting. So I think it’s really cool that you can transform yourself, and you feel this bad bitch energy, you feel this aura.”
After their experience transforming Bratz dolls but before they transformed themselves, the brothers would transform, style, pose, and photograph their friends. Luca recounts, “They’re just normal everyday girls. They weren’t high fashion models or anything. So we kind of love transforming them and kind of bringing out that side.”
Cooper nods, “Making them feel beautiful. Like our whole thing is anyone can feel like a superstar. So [with] these high school girls that were our friends, [it] became the fun thing in our school. Who were we going to transform next and make into a Glamazon? And have them be confident and be able to stunt on the girlies in high school.”
Though at the time they weren’t out yet, Cooper and Luca didn’t see themselves as the confident superstars they were transforming others into. Cooper recalls, “We were in our little shells. We weren’t comfortable with ourselves. So we put it onto [friends].”
The birth of Sugar & Spice
In college, the siblings’ photography projects became more professional, though they didn’t feel as involved as they once were, with what they deemed to be too many cooks in the kitchen. As photographers, they didn’t get to do the makeup, the hair, the direction, etc., and they realized what they loved wasn’t the photography itself, but creating transformations.
“And that’s when the lightbulb went off,” Cooper explains.
This led them to revisit their old dolls and deduce, “No, no, no, there’s something here that we can make our own,” says Cooper. Luca says they then realized, “Like, you know what, we’re kind of selling ourselves short,” and adds, “We don’t have to be behind the camera, we can be the stars in front of the camera. Let’s transform ourselves.” And so the twins transformed themselves into drag stars Sugar & Spice.
“We love how we get to do it all ourselves. We get to do our own makeup, we get to do all of our wigs,” remarks Luca. Cooper shares, “The amazing models would come in and we’d be like telling them, ‘Okay, now give us broken down doll,’ and I’m like, we just had to do it.” So they began using themselves as their own dolls and muses.
The Coyle Twins’s story is similar to the Lindsay Lohan and Tyra Banks DCOM starrer Life-Size, in which a young girl’s doll comes to life; only for the Coyle twins, they’re the dolls come to life.
Luca says their 2000’s-inspired drag is an ode to their childhood – not just their Bratz dolls, but the pop culture icons and makeup who defined the era. For high-shine glossy Y2K lips, they use Fenty’s Gloss Bomb in Glass Slipper ($27), and Anastasia Beverly Hills’s lip glosses ($16) when they want something more opaque.
To “cover up the man” as Luca says, they turn to M.A.C foundations ($24) for full coverage. Cooper says they also go through NYX’s matte black eyeliner ($9) “faster than the moms were getting the toilet paper at the beginning of quarantine.”
No turning back
Some people say they’re too feminine or too campy, but they don’t care. Looking back at their past selves, Luca reflects, “It was like different people. I don’t even cringe because I’m so far removed.” Cooper adds, “I like to say that [that] part of our life was just something we had to get through, especially when we had started YouTube. And even before we came out, we were such shells of who we really were. We were so far removed from our core. The motto I like to live by is: Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about remembering who you were.”
Before drag, Cooper recalls, “I was just kind of a walking zombie, [a] watered-down [version] of who I was.” Drag enables him to go back to what he calls his “true self” from their younger days of discovering a love for makeup, hair, dolls, and photography.
Luca calls their teenage years and first days on YouTube a time of conformity that was resolved with self-acceptance.
“When you’re not fully accepting who you really are and leaning into your inner magic, you kind of just become stale and blah,” he says. Luca laughs looking back at their viral coming out video and his younger self, saying “You’ve got a big storm coming.” Cooper joins in, remarking “Better buckle up.”
Looking forward, the duo plans on bringing their drag personas outside of TikTok and into the real world. They also aspire to experiment with voice acting (what Luca calls his “job from a past life”), and hope to one day play evil twins in a Bratz live adaptation movie alongside Jennifer Coolidge.
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