EXCLUSIVE: Inside Life of Kobi & Tobi, Maria Series Inseparable Twins

  • Belinda Joanna/Kobi (left) and her identical sister Linda Alexette/Tobi (right) pose for a photo in Nairobi in 2020
    Belinda Joanna/Kobi (left) and her identical sister Linda Alexette/Tobi (right) pose for a photo in Nairobi in 2020
  • Belinda Joanna (Kobi) and Linda Alexette (Tobi) are one of the most unique sets of actors in Kenya's film industry since they are identical twins in both real life and on-screen. 

    The two are currently starring in Citizen TV's Maria drama, where it is hard to distinguish between the sisters who also share a number of similarities both on and offset. 

    In the series, Kobi and Tobi reside in the slums and portray the life of struggling youth. Kobi (Belinda) strives to live a calm life whereas her sister Tobi (Linda) is problematic and mischievous.

    Speaking exclusively with Kenyans.co.ke on Thursday, June 18, the twins shared an insight into their life from childhood to adulthood, acting career, side hustles and dating life.

    Citizen TV's Maria series cast post for a photo in 2019
    Citizen TV's Maria series cast post for a photo in 2019

    Who is Linda and Belinda? Describe yourselves.

    Linda/Tobi: Tobi is very caring but, hyper, cunning and evil. She is always up to something. Linda, on the other hand, is quite reserved. I am an introvert, confident and soft-spoken. 

    Belinda/Kobi: Kobi and Belinda actually share quite a few things in common. They are both calm, non-problematic, hardworking and a people's person. 

    How can one differentiate between the two of you?

    Linda/Tobi: (Laughs) If I am being honest, I can't pinpoint any difference between us. You have to spend some time with us to notice any visible difference. 

    Although, most people say Belinda has a deeper voice than I and I am lighter than her

    How did you land you roles in Maria?

    Linda/Tobi: It was by a miracle. We didn't know Citizen TV's Lulu Hassan and Rashid Abdalla were conducting auditions. 

    One of our friends (and an actor too) Kevin Ogola was familiar with Belinda and he asked us to avail ourselves at the auditions. 

    We first took a digital interview where we sent our photos and recorded videos in Sheng and Swahili. I remember that was when we met Yasmin Said (Maria) and other actors like Fally and Pupa who we thought were random people like us. 

    Belinda Joanna (left) Yasmin Said (centre) and Linda Alexette (right) pose for a photo in May 2020
    Linda Alexette (left) Yasmin Said (centre) and Belinda Joanna (right) pose for a photo in May 2020

    Have you ever acted before?

    Belinda/Kobi: Yes starred in Jela 5 Star aired on Maisha Magic. However, the roles were minor. Once again shout out to Kevin Ogola who aided us to land the roles.

    How do the two of you relate off script? Are you that close away from the show?

    Linda/Tobi: Yes, we are actually the best of friends. Our personalities differ in a way which works as an advantage for us because we get to compliment each other.

    What similarities do you share?

    Belinda/Kobi: We both enjoy fashion, watching investigative documentaries and trying out new recipes among others.

    Are you two really inseparable?

    Linda/Tobi: I can't necessarily say we are inseparable but we do have a strong tight bond.

    How do you avoid conflict with each other now that you are best friends, sisters and colleagues?

    Linda/Tobi: Now that we are colleagues, there is barely room for conflicts. Onset we are Kobi and Tobi and offset we are Belinda and Linda. There is only one room to balance the two lives.

    Did you attend the same schools since childhood? 

    Belinda/Kobi: We attended the same schools up until high school then we enrolled at different universities. I specialised in fashion and design and graduated in 2018 while Tobi studied Business Administration and works at a law firm. She graduated in 2019. 

    Have you ever had an incident where someone mistook one of you for the other?

    Linda/Tobi: (Laughs) The incidents are quite a few. Even for us, while growing up we could look at our baby pictures sometimes we get it all mixed up.

    Belinda/Kobi: I remember when we were about to receive holy communion (as we are Catholics) there is an exam we had to sit. If you fail it, you will not receive the holy communion. We sat it and unfortunately I didn't pass. Tobi and everyone else felt so sad for me. Those who failed were given a second chance 

    Guess what! We decided that Tobi should sit the exam for me. Luckily they were not able to differentiate us because we used to wear the same clothes, shoes and do the same hairstyles. 

    Our mother kept on reminding her to write my name and not hers (Laughs). She passed it. We both received the holy communion together. It's something that will forever be in my heart. 

    What are your long term goals in acting?

    Belinda/Kobi: (Laughs) We would love to have our own show like Tia and Tamera Mowry.

    (Tia Dashon Mowry-Hardrict is an American actress. She first gained recognition for her starring role as Tia Landry in the sitcom Sister, Sister, opposite her identical twin sister Tamera Mowry between 1994 and 1999. The sisters then starred together in the Disney Channel Original Movie Twitches and its sequel.)

    Do you have siblings?

    Belinda/Kobi: Yes we do. One sister and one brother. 

    Are both of you dating? 

    Belinda/Kobi: Yes I am dating. 

    Linda/Tobi: (Laughs) Next question, please.

    What can you say to your fans who adore both of you?

    Belinda/Kobi: We are grateful for their love and support. We love Maria fans and may God bless their sweet souls. We are also thankful for the directors and producers and our fellow cast who bring the best out of us. 

    Belinda Joanna (left) enjoys a light moment with her identical twin Linda Alexette (right) in May 2020
    Linda Alexette (left) enjoys a light moment with her identical twin Belinda Joanna (right) in May 2020