Identical twins Elizabeth (right on our photograph) and Maria Rahajeng are almost always out and about, hosting events or visiting new places in town. Stylish outfits, perfectly curled hair and that million-dollar smile that has become synonymous with them. Who would have expected some of the weird comments they get on Instagram?
“Once, someone commented on what I was wearing. She said: ‘your outfit looks like bacon!’,” Elizabeth says. “I thought to myself, I can either delete this comment and forget about it, or I can reply Then I replied: ‘I love bacon!’ Elizabeth, the more straightforward persona of the two, keeps her cool amid weird, even hateful, comments, because she believes that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.
The twins started their online activities through a shared blog (mariaandelizabeth.com) in 2012. The blog was initially a platform to tell family and friends about their experiences when travelling around Europe during their student exchange programme in 2012.
“I wanted to document our journey around Europe, but Elizabeth wasn’t sure about starting a blog. She was worried that we’d get distracted from studying if we spent too much time on the blog,” Maria says. “But I convinced her to do it. I mean, we went to amazing places, so why not share the places we went to. Plus, we could finally make something out of our photography interest. Who knew, what was originally a platform to share with family and friends turned into a professional working tool.”
That was the start of the social media journey for the now-famous twins. Previously, public only knew about Maria, who was crowned Miss Indonesia in 2014. Amazingly, five years down the road, the two still manage their own social media accounts and blog themselves. “We take our own pictures, edit them, post them and write for the blog as well,” Elizabeth proudly says. At the end of each blog post, they sign off with different initials to indicate the author.
As self-confessed photography enthusiasts, the twins admit that they are very picky about selecting photos to post on social media. “Colour tone and composition are very important to us. I think as influencers, we have to be consistent about the content we put out there. We need to understand who we are. Of course, we get all sorts of influences from the things we see every day. But at the end of the day, consistency is key,” Elizabeth says.
The effort to be consistent entails sharing moments from their professional and personal life. This means sharing about current pop culture interests and favourite fashion items of the moment besides updates from social events.
“Our followers want to get a little sense of who we are, and what we’re up to,” Maria says. Having said that, the twins are very careful about posting anything related to their loved ones. For instance, their rule of thumb is not to post anything about the people they are dating at any moment. They are also selective about posting their family members’ photos online.
“We share so many things about our lives, so I think it’s only natural that we want to keep some things private,” Maria says. Interestingly, Maria talks about her younger sister, Agnes, who is becoming interested in style and social media just like her older sisters. From a quick check on Instagram, the 17-year-old looks just like her sisters. There will be no surprises if she turns into a social media star sometime soon.
Before they became influencers, both Elizabeth and Maria studied broadcast journalism. It was not their first choice, because they originally wanted to study fashion design, but their parents did not approve of the choice. However, their study field is proven to be useful now that they are Indonesia’s first E! Channel hosts. Last year, Maria and Elizabeth presented “All Access Indonesia”, a three-part segment where they showed some of the best places to visit in Jakarta, Bali and Batam. This year, they are planning to explore more local gems with the entertainment TV channel.
The full feature has been published in Prestige February 2017, The Love Issue. Click here to purchase.
Outfit: Sapto Djojokartiko
Jewellery: Chopard from Time International
Photography: Denny Tjan
Styling: Koko Namara
Hair: Ade Ragil
Location: Keraton at The Plaza