Twins seem to share a special bond, and evidence of this unique connection can clearly be seen between Maria Pignaton Pontin and Paulina Pignaton. These Brazilian twins recently turned 100, and to celebrate their centennial birthday they starred in a one-of-a-kind, utterly adorable photo shoot.
Only a true sisterly love could produce such brilliant, heartwarming photos, and it’s a love that is now a century old. Maria and Paulina were born 1917 and grew up in Ibiraçu, Brazil. The sisters came from a large family, in which they were two out of 18 children. Nonetheless, their connection as twins has always been strong.
Today, only five of Maria and Paulina’s siblings remain in addition to themselves – all brothers. “There are many brothers (there are five more), but we are always together. Are not we born together?” Maria said in an interview with Brazil’s Globo.com.
In addition to coming from a large family, Maria and Paulina have created extensive families of their own. The sisters have eleven 11 children and 54 grandchildren and great-grandchildren between the two of them. And according to Maria’s son, Carlos Pontin, both of the women are lucid and active.
Being in good health and spirits, Maria and Paulina planned to celebrate their centennial birthday with a big party. And that meant a huge gathering of more than 100 members of their ever-growing family. In addition, a few days before the party of the century – literally – Maria and Paulina received a special early birthday gift.
A local news outlet, Tv Gazeta ES, had reported on Maria and Paulina’s upcoming milestone. As a result, the story caught the attention of a photographer from São Paulo, Brazil. Camila Lima had experience photographing older people, so when she saw the twins on television, she felt that she had to take their pictures. “I was in love!” she subsequently wrote on Facebook.
Camila offered Maria and Paulina an epic photo shoot in honor of this monumental occasion. “I had never met anyone 100 years old, let alone twins!” Camila told Good Housekeeping. “I got in touch with their family and offered the photo shoot as a gift.” Maria and Paulina readily agreed.
“We were all excited, and they put on beautiful dresses, did their hair and came to the capital to take the pictures,” Camila explained. Indeed, Maria and Paulina primped and prepared for the shoot, having their hair and makeup done before going in front of the camera.
“They are vain, preoccupied with hair, makeup. My models were great,” Camila joked when talking to Brazil’s Gazeta Online. After their beauty preparations, the twins were draped in full-length tulle skirts – one of them in pink and the other in blue. Topping off the look with flower crowns, Maria and Paulina began their photo shoot and showed everyone that they could certainly still have fun at 100 years of age.
The cute and creative photo props added some flair to the background setting, making them the perfect accompaniment to the sisters’ whimsical outfits. Maria and Paulina posed with balloons and cakes, and even got behind the wheel of an adorable pink Volkswagen Beetle.
While the creative touches set the scene, though, what really stands out in the photos are the emotions of Maria and Paulina. The twins’ essences were expertly captured by Camila, who is very familiar with photographing the elderly. Camila told ABC News that she regularly takes photos of older couples “as a way to inspire younger couples.” And the photos of Maria and Paulina are certainly inspiring.
In the photos of the twins, you can clearly see the loving bond between Maria and Paulina that has withstood the test of time. In many of the pictures, they’re holding hands and smiling at each other. If ten decades of companionship could be summed up in a series of photographs, then those images would surely be Maria and Paulina celebrating their 100th year of life.
The day of the photo session went by without a hitch, in fact. Camila was impressed with the sisters’ stamina during the two-hour shoot. “They did everything I asked and did not complain about tiredness,” she told ABC News. And the results were nothing short of perfection.
“It is with a heart full of love that I show the result of today’s rehearsal,” Camila wrote on Facebook when she uploaded the charming photos of Maria and Paulina. “My girls are awesome in these super fun and colorful pictures.”
The album has since been liked more than 100,000 times, and the internet has expressed its love for the sisters. Facebook user Michele Santos wrote, “Congratulations to them not only for the anniversary but also for the love between them.” And Sandra Balzer commented, “How beautiful you guys are! It does not look like 100 years, but 70. What’s the secret?”
And the photos were received warmly not only by social media users, but also reportedly by Maria and Paulina themselves. The twin sisters were “very happy and satisfied” with the finished photo shoot, Camila told ABC News.
Camila also seems content with her work but is mostly grateful for the opportunity to photograph such a special occasion. “When do you see such a victory in life?” Camila asked on Facebook. “When do we see twin sisters coming together for the centennial?”
Maria and Paulina’s vitality in front of the camera was a demonstration of their impressive health. “My mother is always cheerful, she is never sick,” Maria’s son Carlos told Gazeta Online. “She is a very healthy person.”
It has been a year since their centennial photo shoot, and the twins are still going strong at the age of 101. In fact, the women were recently featured in the news again, this time to give advice on how to achieve longevity like theirs. The Tribuna newspaper interviewed elderly residents in Espírito Santo, the state in Brazil where Maria and Paulina still reside.
According to the sisters, the secret to a long life is a balanced diet and a healthy amount of faith. And Maria and Paulina plan to enjoy their fruitful lives a while longer yet. In the Gazeta Online interview, Maria told her sister, “I wish much happiness, many years of life still. Another two, three years.”