updated 10 Jan 2014, 23:11
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Wed, Jan 08, 2014
The Sunday Times
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Milking the twin appeal
by Gwendolyn Ng

Who: Miko and Yumi Bai, both 21, who make up Taiwan-based pop duo By2

While Mandopop may seem littered with manufactured clones, one pair of performers takes particular umbrage at being mistaken for carbon copies.

Singaporean 21-year-old identical twins Miko and Yumi Bai, who make up Taiwan-based pop duo By2, may be fully aware that their uncanny resemblance to each other helps them stand out in a crowded industry, but each is keen to be her own woman.

Speaking to SundayLife! over the telephone from Taipei, older-by-two-minutes Miko laments: "The bad thing about being twins in show business is that some people might think we are the same person. They treat us as a group and don't think of us as individuals. We hate it when people think we are exactly the same."

In fact, she says, their personalities are polar opposites and they complement each other. Yumi describes herself as an adrenaline-seeking, playful devil and calls her elder sister a quiet, level-headed angel.

At 16, they dropped out of Yio Chu Kang Secondary School and flew to Taipei to launch their singing career. They were offered a 10-year contract with local record label Ocean Butterflies after being talent-spotted at a singing course organised by its subsidiary music school in 2007.

Based in Taiwan for the last six years, they have released five albums: NC16 (2008), Twins (2009), Grown Up (2010), 90' Now (2011) and Paradise (2013).

By2's EP 2020 (2012) was accompanied by A3-sized photo books featuring the twins in soaked, see- through T-shirts and bikinis. One male fan reportedly snapped up 2,000 copies at an autograph session in China's Jingzhou city, Hebei.

In the process, they have gone from saccharine sweet teens to sexy sirens. Last year, they posed for an FHM Taiwan magazine photo spread wearing skimpy outfits and sultry pouts.

The close sisters are glad they have each other for company in a foreign land. Their 56-year-old widowed mother lives in Singapore. Their father died of cancer in April 2007. They have a 28-year-old brother.

Yumi says: "It's nice to have someone by your side to share the stresses of work. We spend most of our free time together going to the gym, for a massage or taking our convertible out for a spin."

They admit that friendly competition exists between them. "We are competing with each other every day, every second, be it during work or during our personal time," says Yumi. "This way, we motivate each other to improve and change our bad habits."

The twins are looking to branch out into acting and recognise that there will come a time when their career paths may have to diverge.

For now, Yumi is clear on where their appeal lies. She says: "It's better to appear in movies or dramas as twins, it will leave an impression on the audience. Later on, we can talk about working on separate projects."

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