Thurman and Sidney Sewell, better known as the ATL Twins, cozy up around a woman's butt in the bed of their penthouse apartment in Midtown Atlanta. Photos by Paul Birman, Chris Nieratko, and Troy Stains.
D o you think we could fuck Selena Gomez?” asked the voice on the other end of my iPhone, a little over a year ago. His deep Tennessean twang added extra emphasis to the word fuck.
“Yes, of course. Definitely,” I replied. “Who is Selena Gomez?”
“She’s that Disney bitch.”
In the year since this conversation, I’ve realised that most people find it hard to believe that I had never heard of one of the most famous young celebrities in the world until Sidney and Thurman Sewell – better known as the ATL Twins – mentioned her to me that day on the phone. But I’ve been a bit out of the loop on all things Disney since I stopped writing for their children’s digest, Disney Adventures, back in 1995. The only Disney bitch I know is Minnie Mouse. And even though I was unaware of Selena and her hit Disney teenybopper television show Wizards of Waverly Place before our call, I’m still confident that one day Thurm and Sid will double-penetrate her young orifices to oblivion. That’s what the ATL Twins do. So it was strange that they seemed so hesitant.
“But she’s dating Justin Bieber,” Thurm continued.
“Do you think Justin Bieber has a nine-inch cock?” I asked. “And even if he does, he definitely doesn’t have two of them.”
“Nah, I doubt it,” Thurm said and began laughing hysterically.
And that, my friends, is what you get when you fuck with the ATL Twins: 18 inches of raging-hard dick coming at you from either side. They are a package deal. The Twins had called to tell me that they had just been cast in Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine’s beautiful new film about four bikini-clad, seemingly goody-goody gals on spring break in St. Petersburg, Florida. The girls – Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, and former Disney stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens – get in way over their heads when they are arrested at an out-of-control hotel party, and a gun-toting drug dealer named Alien, played by a scumbagified James Franco, bails them out of jail alongside the Twins, who are employed as Alien’s silent henchmen. Despite not uttering a single word in the film, the Twins’ presence is as memorable as any of the headliners, and their unsettling silence only adds to their mystique. Their roles will only intensify the public’s curiosity about the real story behind the brothers, resulting in more pussy than they will possibly be able to handle (their volume is already at critical mass).
The entire cast loved the Twins. Weeks before the film’s release Selena Gomez was on French radio saying that she and the girls passed time by laughing at their antics. And James Franco was so affected by working with them that their time together inspired a poem, published for the first time here:
Something scary: There is a pair of twins
They’ve got hip-hop style
And chase ambulances
For a living.
But they want to be famous.
They’re the same person
In two bodies.
They are never apart.
They sleep in the same bed,
Finish each other’s sentences,
And share their women.
They like double penetration,
It’s all they talk about.
At one point they were engaged
To a Penthouse model;
Only one would have been legal,
But they both would have kissed
Her at the wedding ceremony.
Ever since they were put on this earth, the longest period of time the ATL Twins have spent apart has been six hours when Sidney was locked up for a DUI. Otherwise they are always together, with the exception of a few minutes here and there to shit, shave, and shower. Every possession, emotion, and experience is shared: They have one car, one bed, and sleep with the same women. At 13 they simultaneously lost their virginity to a 21-year-old stripper, and they were once both engaged to a Penthouse Pet who, according to the Twins, broke their hearts after her parents pressured her to leave them. Someday they want to father children from one woman, which isn’t so surprising when you consider that they believe themselves to be a single person with two bodies. They are mirror-image twins, meaning that the egg that spawned them split in two somewhere around ten days after fertilisation, which is very late in the game (any longer and the chances of birthing conjoined twins increases dramatically). They are genetically and physically identical, but their features are reversed. Sid is right-handed, while Thurm’s a lefty. If they stand face-to-face, you notice that what seem like slight differences in their appearance actually mirror one another exactly. Unlike the bearded, fictitious dildo in those Dos Equis commercials, Sid and Thurm are truly the most unique and interesting men I know.
As I’ve said since I first met them a year and a half ago, the ATL Twins are a psychologist’s wet dream, and as with most psychoses, their version of reality was formed at an early age. Growing up dirt poor in Chattanooga, they were forced to make friends with a wide variety of cockroaches, subsist off food stamps, and basically raise themselves. But even though their early life presented many challenges, they were still part of a loving family who tried their best to make ends meet even when their luck hit rock bottom.
“You got to understand how we grew up. My family all slept in one bed, five of us,” they said (because the Twins frequently finish each other’s sentences and sometimes speak in tandem, moving forward, all quotes will be attributed to both). “It wasn’t by choice, and it was normal. We lived in hood houses. Where we grew up in Chattanooga was gnarly. There were a bunch of killers and stone-cold motherfuckers around us. The movie Gummo gives you a pretty good idea of what it was like. People would try to kidnap you; you’d be outside and creepos would come up and ask if you needed a ride. It was scary. There were prostitutes and drug dealers. The old white people who were still there in the house behind us got broken into and murdered – they beat the dude and his wife to death.”
Family photos of the Twins with their two sisters, mother, and father. When they were 12, their dad injured himself lifting weights. This incident led to a downward spiral of health problems, including diabetes and dependence on a pacemaker. At one point, he was taking dozens of medications a day.
Given their environment, Sid and Thurm were forced to grow up fast and take care of each other. When they were 12 their father injured himself lifting weights and had to have shoulder surgery. It was the first in a long line of health problems, and within a few years, he had come down with diabetes, had a pacemaker installed, and was taking dozens of medications a day. Things got so bad that their mum moved out; the Twins told me that she just couldn’t handle the pressure. This left them to take care of their dad the best they could without much outside help.
“When we were 14 we watched our dad die in our arms,” the Twins grimly told me as they recalled their father’s passing. “It was a Friday night and we were out skating and we were going to go party all night, but we got a weird feeling that we should go home. We went home and hung out with our dad all night. We watched the movie Tombstone, which I’ve never watched since and never will watch it again. We had a good time, we were talking about pussy and he was feeling good. The next morning he woke us up and said he wasn’t feeling good. He was dizzy, saying he felt like he was about to black out. We called 911 and they told us to try mouth-to-mouth while the ambulance was on its way, but that didn’t work. They showed up and were trying the electric-shock pads and that wasn’t working. We were hysterical. They didn’t say he was dead, but deep down we knew. They took him away, and an hour later our aunts called and said he’d passed. We were really close to our dad. He was always honest with us and told us how shit really was.”
While their father’s death was one of the most traumatic memories of their lives, their inability to separate for more than a few moments was made apparent long before. Their mother, Patricia, explains: “They were enrolled in day care when they were about two years old. On one particular day one of them was sick and the other was not. When I took the well one to school, they held each other so tight I couldn’t pull them apart. They were screaming and crying, and it was painful and heart-wrenching to watch. Needless to say, they both stayed home that day.”
Despite an early start in schooling, the Twins didn’t make it past eighth grade. Their only ambition in life was skateboarding. After their father died they had nowhere to live, so they moved into their 17-year-old sister’s basement apartment, where they slept on the floor. They skated all day, every day, and partied all night.
LEFT: Sid shows off his snakehead necklace. RIGHT: Thurm smiles as he is groped by one of his many lady friends.
“It was amazing,” they said. “But one day this truancy officer shows up at 3:30 in the afternoon. We had just woken up because we’d sleep all day, and we got shook. We were fucking this older chick who would come to Atlanta to strip, and we called her up and asked her to give us a ride to Atlanta because our mum had just moved there. That’s how we came to be living in Atlanta.”
When the Twins first arrived at their mother’s house they walked into what looked like a crack den, which wasn’t so far from the truth. The garage door was rammed in, and inside someone had punched holes all over the walls and smashed the TV. It didn’t take them long to realise that their mum’s live-in boyfriend, Kelvin, was responsible for the destruction. The Twins described him as a “piece-of-shit crackhead” – one of those guys who attempts to offset his balding head by letting his remaining hair grow long and keeping a thick moustache. It quickly became apparent that the domestic situation had spiralled out of control.
“We’re in our room with this huge sack, smoking weed with this older stripper walking around half naked,” the Twins said. “It was probably about one in the morning when we hear this loud-ass knock at the door. It’s a 5-0. We’re high as fuck and thinking they’re after us because of that truancy-officer shit. Then this dude Kelvin runs in wearing Speedos and hands the stripper a bag of crack and says, ‘Here! Stuff this in your panties, honey!’ and then tells us, ‘You ain’t seen me!’ He runs out and a few minutes later the door is kicked open and all these cops come in and ask, ‘Where’s Kelvin?’ They start searching around the room; it smells of weed, we got this older chick in there, they’re like, ‘What the fuck is going on in here?’ Out in the hallway my mum is crying and sort of nodding up toward the drop-down door to the attic. They go up and get him, and he’s wrapped up in insulation, and he’s all, ‘Baby! Don’t do this!’ That’s when our mum tells us, "Yeah, he held me hostage for the past two days, stole my car, forced me to go buy crack, he beat the house up, and I was able to call the cops when he wasn’t looking." That was our first day in Atlanta.”
Even though the Twins’ relationship with their mother is sometimes tense, she is nothing but happy for their success, even if she doesn’t completely support their lifestyle. “Despite incredible odds,” she said, “Sidney and Thurman have attained some impressive achievements. I am proud of them. They have a burning desire to become rich and famous, and I know they will reach their goal because they have the charisma, energy, and determination to accomplish whatever they set their mind to. Although I am proud of their success, I am not proud of their reckless lifestyle. I wish they would drink less and sleep more.”
The Twins roll around in their bed with a lovely young woman who is capable of charming more than one type of snake.
T he reason the Twins had called me in early 2012 was to discuss their rapid trajectory toward fame and stardom, and all the options that had come their way after I first interviewed them for VICE.com back in August 2011 while I was on a trip covering a Red Bull skate tour for Skateboarder magazine. Millions of readers on VICE’s website wanted to learn more about “those crazy double-penetrating twins,” and many of them doubted that they were real or, if they were, had any redeeming values whatsoever. Since they’d skated for the better part of two decades their sudden internet fame allowed them to befriend some of the biggest names in skateboarding. Girl Skateboards’ pro-skateboarder royalty, Guy Mariano, describes them as “a street-culture phenomenon. They are everywhere doing their thing, and whether you’re backing it or not they’re fascinating. It’s a win-win with the Twins.”
Because of that initial interview for VICE.com, Sid and Thurm credit me with “discovering” them, but I think that’s a bit overstated. They’d existed for over two decades before we first met on that fateful day in Atlanta – people from all over Tennessee and Georgia were already very familiar with the twin skaters who partied all the time, banged the same girls, and generally ran amok wherever they pleased. I just happened to break their story to the rest of the world.
To their credit, the Twins always tell anyone who asks that it was me who made their widespread notoriety possible. And because it was my name stamped on the interview, coupled with the fact that to this day they still are without an agent or any other form of representation, it was my number that Hollywood called to offer them every manner of television and acting gig. For months I fielded requests from major networks and the producers of the most successful reality-TV shows in history. Each time I’d go back to the Twins and report what had been offered, but none of the pitches seemed to fit who they really were: two poor, white-trash skaters from Tennessee who dropped out of school and moved to the big city in search of a better life. In trying to achieve the American dream, along the way they were forced to make pit stops working at a variety of shitty jobs – Babies“R”Us, Wendy’s, a sweatshop where they stuffed envelopes, plumber’s assistants (a grueling gig arranged by their ex-fiancée’s father, who owned a plumbing business), and letter couriers – before lucking into an opportunity that has allowed them to afford the lifestyle they always desired as kids. They became the assistants for a local lawyer, who quickly realised they had the charm to talk to anyone and everybody.
“Growing up the way we did, we dreamed of a dope life, the high life,” they said. “What happened was one of our friends needed help dropping off Christmas presents for this lawyer he was working for. We were like, ‘Hell yeah, we’ll help!’ and we killed it. The attorney was super impressed. We told him he should hire us, that we’d do anything he wanted. We’d babysit his kid, whatever – anything and everything. One day he called us and said his assistant had some serious heart problem, and that he’d be out for months. The lawyer said he’d hire us right then and there. He told us to quit our jobs and show up the next morning. That was ten years ago, and the rest is history. We got in there not knowing shit about legal shit at all, but we paid attention and learned. He liked that there was two of us: four eyes, four hands, two brains. That’s when we started getting a taste for money. We’d spend our whole paycheck on clothes. It was magical. We moved into a high-rise overlooking downtown Atlanta; we bought and paid for a Range Rover. We put on suits and go to work all day, every day and deal with some gnarly-ass shit. It’s funny because people go to school their whole lives to do this shit, and we never went to high school. But we now know this game so good that we could pass the bar and practice law.”
The Twins evoke The Shining in the hallway of their apartment building on their way to work. They make a living working as the assistants to a powerful local attorney.
Legendary pro skateboarder and owner of Black Box Distribution Jamie Thomas, who won the California Entrepreneur of the Year award from Ernst & Young in 2006, knows a thing or two about business and summarised Sid and Thurm’s drive for success: “The Twins are the kind of people you hear about but never actually meet. They have taken a not-so-rad situation and hustled their way to celebrity and success. Love or hate them, the Twins are focused on making it big!”
It cannot be denied that the Twins are a true American success story. Yet all the producers and agents who came calling after my initial interview with them were only interested in making mindless shows about two twin wiggers who were into doing wiggery things. Their pitches always ended with phrases like
“… and then antics will ensue.” It was typical, uninspired reality-TV bullshit, and you have to respect the Twins for refusing to compromise for a few quick bucks. What they needed was someone with vision and passion, someone who recognised that Hollywood, America, and the world, for that matter, have never seen anything like the ATL Twins and that their singular existence needed to be handled with great care. That visionary was filmmaker Harmony Korine. He personally cold-called them after reading my interview with an offer to write them into the script for Spring Breakers, a film that employs his usual controversial manner of storytelling, but given its cast and subject matter, is closer to a “mainstream” movie than anything he’s ever made.
Harmony seems to love Sid and Thurm for all the same reasons I do: “The ATL Twins are the great American depraved underbelly come to life. Pathological fucktards and whore bangers. They are everything and nothing. They don’t eat food; they only snort drugs. Their hobby is passing kidney stones. They are mystic scumbags of the highest order. Double-penetrating hos is their religion. Neither one of them has ever read a book. Neither one of them has ever eaten a vegetable. They sleep in the same bed and shower together. All they want is fame and pussy. They are America’s greatest degenerates. I admire them both. They are free of all constraints. They will inherit the earth and drive it headfirst into the abyss. They are what makes America great.”
One of the Twins’ older sisters, Clarissa (who graduated with a BA in history from Harvard University, i.e., not the sister they moved in with when they were 17), concurred with Harmony’s sentiment, albeit with much different adjectives: “My brothers are fiercely loyal and loving – an odd mix of introverted retrospection and extroverted hedonism. Any self-doubt or fear that would be felt by an individual is quashed by the love and the support they have in each other as twins. Two heads are definitely better than one, and they have found a way to use it to their advantage in life, love, sex, business, and fame.”
The Twins relax after a session at Da Playground skate park in Atlanta.
T his brings us back to the Twins’ intention of having filthy sex with a certain 20-year-old superstar. They called me a few weeks after shooting on Spring Breakers had wrapped.
“So did you ever bang Selena Gomez?” I asked them.
“No, we knew that wasn’t going to happen. She was always guarded and protected; her mum and bodyguard were always with her. But she was hella cool. Harmony was telling everyone how big our dicks were, and he was like, ‘Show them! Show them the photo of your dicks!’ So we pulled out our phone, and she looked at it. She just stared and didn’t say anything.”
“But her fans had quite a bit to say, right?”
“Oh, man. It was bad. We fuck a lot of girls, so our Instagram was super dirty, and somehow we got away with it. We get down there and Ashley Benson Instagrams a photo of us, and immediately our shit starts going HAM and we’re getting all these new followers. Then Selena posted a photo with us, and we started getting hella tweeny fans of hers saying, ‘Ewww… gross’ and ‘I’m reporting you!’ We’d block them as soon as we saw them, but there were thousands! We were ambushed! And then all of a sudden we were banned from Instagram, account gone. We were pissed and started talking shit on Twitter, like, ‘Fuck all these tweeny-ass Selena fans!’ Jesus Christ, those motherfuckers just went crazy. They attacked us. Finally we were like, ‘OK! We’re sorry! We surrender! Leave us alone!’ The next day we asked Selena to help us, and she said no. She was like, ‘My fans are crazy. You shouldn’t fuck with them. They have my back.’”
I know many people have already reached their verdict on the ATL Twins, and I understand why. To read the interviews and tales of their raunchy sexcapades, it’s easy for one to think they’re the evolution of MTV’s Jersey Shore. But Sid and Thurm’s full story has yet to be told, and even what I’ve written here only scratches the surface. Meeting them is an experience that will stick with you forever, regardless of your opinion of them after the fact. Through hard work and perseverance, they’ve realised dreams they never thought were real possibilities, but they’re no longer content with living in a penthouse apartment in Atlanta and driving a tricked-out Range Rover. They want more, and they’re coming to get it from both sides. With identical nine-inch penises.
“We want to make millions like Justin Bieber,” they said. “We’d really like to act more; we feel like we can act naturally. We want to be fucking famous: balling, fucking dime-piece bitches in Hollywood, living that life. People say the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but we came from nothing and now that we’ve tasted it, we want it. But even if nothing comes from all of this it’s already amazing enough what’s happened for us. Being in a Harmony Korine movie, shooting with Terry Richardson, being on the Rolling Stone 2012 ‘Hot List’ – we’re super thankful. When we were little kids growing up in the ghetto, our dream was to have an L couch, and our family could never do it. Now we make good money and we got a leather L couch! But we want bigger things. We want to be millionaires. We want to fuck celebrities. We want to fuck all of them! We want to fuck Lindsay Lohan!”
“How hard can it really be to fuck Lindsay Lohan at this point?” I asked.
“You think anybody can fuck her?”
“I think you can,” I reassured them.
“Not just us, do you think anybody can fuck Lindsay Lohan?
“Yes, I think so. I’d put money that she’s on Craigslist.”
Regardless whether or not they get to DP Lindsay Lohan before she drowns in a pile of vomit and cocaine, the ATL Twins will carry on. They always have. They always will. And, as far as I can tell, the only thing that could stop them would be facing this cruel world separate and alone.
“Earlier when we were talking you mentioned that people tried to kidnap you in Chattanooga,” I said. “What would happen if one of you were snatched up and separated for an indefinite amount of time?”
“We’d have separation anxiety and something bad would happen,” they told me. “People ask what would happen if one of us died… well, the other one would die too and jump off the balcony or something. It’s not an option. There’s no way we can live without each other. No one will understand how it is to be how we are, just like we’ll never understand what it’s like to be alone or lonely. We don’t know what it’s like to be without each other and feel very blessed to be inseparable twins. At the end of the day, we’ll always have each other.”
Take a peek into the extraordinary lives of the ATL Twins with our three-part documentary The Twin Zone, airing throughout March on Vice.com.
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