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Designing Women S5 E15 Extra Sugar - A Double Lives Potpourri

Updated: Feb 4

In this week’s “Designing Women,” we had Julia out here living double-lives, like the folks of Buckhead won’t recognize her if she throws on some gold lamé pants and heavier eye makeup. But, we’re not complaining! It gave us a chance to double it up on “Extra Sugar” - talking all things double lives. 

Nikki will blow your mind with a few crazy stories about doppelgängers (double-walkers, if you ask the Germans) and Salina’s taking us on the wild journey of real life cases of double lives. PLUS, we’ll chat alter egos for ourselves. Are we more Chris Gaines or more Ziggy Stardust? More Hannah Montana or more Slim Shady? Let’s chat.

Here are the resources we pulled from, if you want to dive a little deeper.

Come on y’all, let’s get into it! 



Nikki: Hey, Salina.

Salina: Hey, Nikki.

Nikki: And hey, everybody.

Nikki: Welcome to this week's extra sugar, where we're going to throw on some heavy eye makeup, dangly earrings, and masquerade as someone else entirely for the next 20 to 30 minutes.

Nikki: Perfect.

Nikki: That's right, Julius.

Nikki: Giselle moment had us thinking all things double lives from doppelgangers.

Nikki: Because I'm not allowed to say it the way I like to say it.

Salina: You can say it that way.

Salina: Duper gongers.

Salina: Okay, that's better.

Salina: You sounded not like the lucky charms mascot.

Nikki: From doppelgangers to famous people living double lives.

Nikki: Then maybe if you're nice, we'll chat about who we think our alter egos would be if we could have one.

Nikki: First up, doppelgangers.

Nikki: I am fascinated by this concept, so I bullied my way into leading this one.

Nikki: I just had to know two things going in.

Salina: First, she slapped me around.

Nikki: Yes.

Nikki: Swift kick to the hand.

Nikki: Quotas.

Nikki: One, how common are doppelgangers?

Nikki: Actually, I feel like we hear about them, or like, oh, that guy kind of looks like you, but how common are they?

Nikki: And then what's the deal there?

Nikki: Are they just, like, accidental genetic duplications?

Nikki: Is it just like, a trick of the eye?

Nikki: What is it?

Nikki: Let's see if I can get us there.

Nikki: Okay, so doppelgangers in general, like, what's that?

Nikki: So this word, borrowed from German, which is probably why my pronunciation is a little insensitive, means double walker.

Nikki: But I just can't not say it that way.

Salina: You know what I mean?

Salina: Sure I do.

Nikki: It means double walker.

Salina: It's almost like someone might want to say the khan.

Salina: Almost.

Salina: It's same.

Salina: Exactly the same.

Nikki: Same.

Nikki: So doppelganger refers to a biologically unrelated lookalike, or double of a person.

Nikki: In storytelling, a doppelganger is usually a ghost or something paranormal and usually a sign of bad luck.

Nikki: It can also be equated to, like, an evil twin.

Nikki: Wikipedia says english speakers have only recently used the german word to refer to the paranormal version of a doppelganger.

Nikki: But they're counting the 18 hundreds as recent 1848, to be specific, when european recent, european recent.

Nikki: When Catherine Crowe published a book on paranormal phenomena called the night side of Nature, which made the word more well known.

Nikki: The concept, however, goes way back further than the 18 hundreds in folklore and traditions.

Nikki: For instance, the ancient Egyptians recognized a spirit double as having the same memories and feelings as their counterpart.

Nikki: The Wikipedia page on doppelgangers included dozens of examples of uses of doppelgangers in film, television, and on stage.

Salina: So all this would lead you to.

Nikki: Believe that they're like really common.

Nikki: But is that true?

Nikki: Is it true, Salina?

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: Help me understand.

Nikki: The clearest answer to that question I found was there's a one in 135 chance that there's a single pair of doppelgangers on the planet.

Nikki: The chances of having eight characteristics similar with someone else are less than one in a.

Salina: It's just.

Salina: What are these?

Nikki: So, no, they can't just be anything.

Nikki: Let me see if I have it.

Nikki: I'm going to link to an article about this research, so it might be in the article.

Nikki: So Tegan Lucas is the researcher behind those estimates.

Nikki: Teigen set out on their mission with a collection of publicly available military personnel photos, analyzing 4000 photos for similarities.

Nikki: She then calculated the ods of two people's faces matching the research found those outcomes above.

Nikki: One important caveat to the research is that they relied on exact measurements.

Nikki: So were the ears the exact same distance apart, the nose the exact same length?

Nikki: Francois Brunell, a photographer who snapped pictures of more than 200 lookalikes for his project.

Nikki: I'm not a lookalike.

Nikki: Thinks there's more to it than measurements, he says.

Nikki: For me, it's when you see someone and you think it's the other person.

Nikki: It's the way of being the sum of the parts.

Nikki: When seen apart, his subjects looked like perfect clones.

Nikki: When you see them together and you see them side by side, sometimes you feel like they're not the same at all.

Nikki: The article went on to explain how the human brain works in identifying familiar people.

Nikki: So it uses the face as a map rather than a strict image.

Nikki: So you're looking at the main parts of the face and judging them for similarities rather than exactitudes.

Nikki: So if you can work from that, using broad features as your guiding post, doppelgangers become a lot more common, or at least possible.

Nikki: So if it doesn't have to be an exact face match, you probably are going to see a lot more people that look pretty roughly similar because you're just using your face map as a guide.

Nikki: The article ran a simple calculation with seven variables.

Nikki: Male, brown eyes, blonde hair, round face, fleshy nose, short hair, full beard, and found the probability of a person possessing these features is just over one in 100,000.

Nikki: That would give this example person no fewer than 74,000 potential doppelgangers.

Salina: Interesting.

Nikki: Ultimately, we can conclude, as a researcher did in the article, quote, most people have somebody who is a facial lookalike unless they have a truly exceptional and unusual face and then several people agree that the digital age will expedite the number of doppelgangers who are identified, since there will be pictures of almost everyone online at some point.

Nikki: The last little tidbit I wanted to share was to answer my question of what's the deal with doppelgangers?

Nikki: Like, how do they happen?

Nikki: As we discussed, it may just depend on how you define it.

Nikki: Do they need to be exact matches, or can they be vaguely similar?

Nikki: Some researchers escalated it to the genetic level.

Nikki: To find out what's going on under the surface with doppelgangers, they asked 32 pairs of models from Brunell's lookalike project that we talked about earlier to answer questions about their lifestyles and submit samples of their dna.

Nikki: The researchers then used facial recognition software to analyze the headshots and quantify similarities among their faces.

Nikki: Then they compared those scores to those of identical twins.

Nikki: They found twin like scores among half of the doppelganger pairs.

Nikki: Then they studied the participant's dna.

Nikki: Nine of the 16 pairs that looked very similar shared many common genetic variations, making these nine pairs what they called virtual twins.

Nikki: That same group of twinlike doppelgangers also had many lifestyle characteristics in common, like their weight, their height, their smoking history and education levels.

Nikki: However, when they looked at things like the microbiome, so the microbes that live in or on the skin, and their epigenomes, which is a genetic concept that has a lot to do with the experiences of your past generation and how your genes express themselves today.

Nikki: The lookalikes were super different.

Nikki: This suggests that the dna of the participants was more likely to influence their lookalikeness than environmental factors or shared life experiences.

Nikki: So it's a mixed bag.

Nikki: It's, like, kind of not uncommon that you'd run into someone that looks like you, but also fairly uncommon.

Nikki: They'd look just like you and also share DNA similarities with you, but they need to share DNA traits with you to look pretty similar to you.

Nikki: So it's all sort of interrelated, but it does happen in.

Salina: I mean, that feels really high for.

Nikki: It to be like it does, right?

Salina: I mean, for that many things to be in common.

Salina: Have you ever ran across a doppelganger?

Nikki: I have not.

Salina: I have one in my high school.

Salina: Really crazy people stopped us all the time and commented and said that we look just alike.

Nikki: Someone told me that someone on American Idol, this would have been back in, like, 2008, looked like me.

Nikki: She's irish, and I should have looked her up before this segment, but they would always tell me she looked just like me.

Salina: Oh, really?

Nikki: I didn't really see it.

Nikki: Blue hair and dark blue eyes.

Nikki: And dark hair.

Nikki: Blue hair.

Nikki: Dark eyes.

Nikki: Blue eyes and dark hair.

Nikki: In a BBC article that I'll link to in the show notes as well as a board panda article, there are a lot of entertaining stories about doppelgangers.

Nikki: So this one, Neil Douglas, boarded a plane on the way to Ireland for a wedding.

Nikki: He was the last one on the plane and had to ask someone to move out of his seat.

Nikki: When the guy turned around, it was him.

Salina: Oh, my God.

Nikki: Or at least the other guy had his face.

Nikki: Yeah, it happened again when they ran into each other at check in at the hotel and again when they ran into each other at a bar, and.

Salina: It turns out they were getting married.

Nikki: Finally, they just got a darn drink with one another, posted their airplane selfie, and then the rest, like, is viral Internet history.

Nikki: But I looked at the picture.

Nikki: They look very similar.

Salina: That's crazy.

Nikki: So that's what I got on doppelganger Salina.

Salina: It might also say how small Ireland is, but they were coming.

Nikki: Oh, yeah, that part.

Salina: We were going to the same wedding.

Nikki: It was the one hotel.

Nikki: Yeah, no, they just ended up in the same place.

Nikki: That's crazy.

Salina: It's crazy.

Salina: Well, let me tell you, Nikki, if you're fascinated by doppelgangers, or as you call it, hold on, she's drinking doppelgangers.

Nikki: I had to clear my voice then.

Salina: I'm fascinated by this concept of someone living a double life to make sure we're on the same page here.

Salina: This is someone who leads two different lives that are kept separate from each other, usually because one of them involves secret, often illegal activity.

Salina: I was going to.

Nikki: Tell me.

Nikki: Please tell me you have a murderer on this list.

Salina: Well, come on.

Nikki: Me and true crime.

Salina: So it was actually a little challenging to find examples that fit this definition because a lot of them, in my opinion, were just like run of the mill cheating.

Salina: It was like 27 celebrities living double lives.

Salina: I'm like, no, they're just sleeping with the nanny.

Nikki: Probably not all that secretly either.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: And so to me, that's a bit different than having two families in two different states that don't know about one another.

Salina: And you have two different passports.

Salina: You know what I'm saying?

Nikki: I do.

Salina: Certainly, the latter requires at least a little more planning.

Salina: So also, most people aren't living double lives because they're bored like Julia and just want to be wild and free.

Salina: No, it's usually something terrible, which is kind of a downer but I promise to end on two fun ones.

Salina: Okay?

Nikki: Okay.

Salina: So let's get the grizzliest out of the way first.

Salina: Or maybe this will be Nikki's favorites.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: But the category I'm calling every serial killer ever because they're kind of the quintessential double life.

Salina: BTK, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, you know, respectively, a church president and a Boy scout leader, aspiring politician and possible lawyer, and, you know, a clown.

Salina: But we're going to go with Gerard John Schaefer, who was a deputy sheriff and serial killer.

Salina: According to the lineup, Schaefer is believed to have killed as many as 30 or more women and girls during his time as sheriff's deputy in Martin County, Florida.

Salina: Florida.

Salina: He was arrested for the kidnapping, torture and murder of two girls in 1972.

Salina: At that time, police found graphic stories he'd written about what were likely his crimes, as well as personal possessions and even teeth belonging to at least eight young women who'd gone missing.

Salina: Or, as I accidentally wrote here, who'd gone kissing.

Salina: But you get the idea.

Salina: Anyways, that was somebody I'd never heard of before, so I didn't want to do, like, a John Wayne Gacy.

Nikki: John Wayne Gacy.

Nikki: I made it, like, five minutes into that documentary and had to dip out.

Salina: It's too much, man.

Nikki: It's so creepy.

Salina: I can't even get past, like, the out.

Salina: Salina's got to sleep this year.

Nikki: They were showing, like, the basement room, and I was like, yep, I'm finished.

Nikki: I'll be done now.

Nikki: It's pretty horrifying.

Salina: It is pretty rough.

Salina: Next up is Sean Lawrence Waygood, family man and occupational health and safety advisor by day, hitman by night.

Salina: That's right.

Salina: This Aussie was also the mayor weather hitman, murdering as many as nine on behalf of the mob.

Salina: A police search of his home unearthed not only an impressive arsenal, but also rubber face masks, bulletproof vests and badges and uniforms that would allow him to pass as a member of any number of police forces, both state and federal.

Salina: Gosh, which sounds like a James Patterson novel.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: High school teacher by day and pro wrestler by night.

Salina: Up next.

Salina: That's right.

Salina: High school social studies teacher Benjamin N.

Salina: Cordoza.

Salina: I really like that they added in the middle initial in case you're getting your.

Salina: Ben's confused.

Nikki: Ben Cordoza.

Nikki: He didn't have a triple life, did he?

Salina: Resigned after facing disciplinary action for missing more than the allotted ten days in a school year.

Salina: Why was he absent so many times?

Salina: He was.

Nikki: He was wrestling dang it, Nicky.

Nikki: I heard that somewhere.

Salina: His other job as WWE wrestler Matt Stryker was keeping him busy, his shtick in the ring.

Salina: A teacher.

Salina: Most creative, I guess, but okay.

Salina: The spy novelist John le Carrey.

Salina: Oh, I really need to go back to pronunciation, especially since I'm about to list some very famous books.

Salina: Maybe you'll know how to pronounce it.

Salina: Anyways, he has quite a few hits under his belt.

Salina: The constant gardener, the spy who came in the cold, the night manager and Tinker Taylor, soldier spy, many of which have been adapted for the big or small screen.

Salina: As I sit here and wipe my forehead, since I can't pronounce his name, and I really should be able to, and it's like not being able to pronounce like any other famous person's name and feel really dumb.

Salina: So David John Moore Cornwell worked as a spy for mi five and Mi six, respectively, England's domestic counterintelligence and foreign intelligence agencies.

Salina: David and John were actually one and the same.

Salina: And according to the lineup, he became a full time author after his identity, along with many others, was revealed to the KGB by a british double agent.

Nikki: That's crazy.

Salina: I think that also goes on to inspire at least parts of another book that he writes.

Salina: That might be the Tinker Taylor soldier spy.

Salina: But my favorite of all of these is Dr.

Salina: James Berry.

Salina: So Dr.

Salina: James Berry was a very skilled surgeon in the 19th century and the first to perform a successful caesarean section in the British Empire, where the mother and child survived.

Salina: According to history's website, he was also, quote, dedicated to social reform, speaking out against the unsanitary conditions and mismanagement of barracks, prisons and asylums.

Salina: He treated the rich and the poor, the colonists and the slaves.

Salina: And that might not sound like a big deal Today, but it certainly was then.

Salina: Barry would eventually become inspector general in charge of military hospitals, or the equivalent to brigadier general.

Salina: He died in 1865, and his last wishes to be buried in his clothes without his body being washed.

Salina: They didn't follow these wishes, and what they found is that Barry was actually a woman, Margaret Ann Buckley.

Salina: She had hid her identity to pursue medicine because women were barred from seeking most formal education at this.

Nikki: So that's a crazy.

Salina: It's.

Salina: Well, and there's a lot more to it.

Salina: We'll link to all of these, the other ones.

Salina: There wasn't really that much information like in what I found, but I was so interested in the James Berry one that I went and looked up a longer article, and so we'll link to that for people who want to learn more, it's a much crazier, windier story.

Nikki: Sure.

Salina: So, Nikki, if you pulled a Julia or a Giselle, what would you do?

Salina: Or, like, who would your alter ego be?

Salina: This could be also your time to tell me that I'm with your alter ego.

Salina: All things are on the table, really?

Nikki: I feel like today is the day to tell you about my triple life.

Nikki: I feel like if I had talent, I feel like I'd want to be a performer of some kind.

Nikki: Like, not a Julia sensual performer, but, like a singer or something.

Nikki: I think that would be really cool.

Nikki: My alter ego would definitely have more confidence and less of a filter.

Nikki: They would worry a lot less about what people think about them.

Nikki: There was a lot of Julia's.

Salina: Alter.

Nikki: Ego that resonated with me because I could see why she would want to do that, would want to give up all those expectations that Mary Jo said people had of her.

Nikki: Have some fun, be a little carefree and also a bank robber.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: Do you want to talk a little bit more on that there?

Nikki: I'm just kidding.

Nikki: I don't have the stomach for crime of any sort, nor do I have the wits about me to not get caught.

Salina: What about, like a Robin Hood kind of thing?

Nikki: No, I'd get caught.

Nikki: I'd get caught.

Nikki: I would be overly honest about the.

Salina: Poor and more about you going to jail.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: Well, because I can't live my first life if I get arrested in my double life.

Salina: That is true.

Salina: That gets dicey.

Salina: It does get dicey.

Nikki: Get caught in the court systems and whatnot.

Salina: Well, I'm just going to say in general, I found this to be a challenging exercise.

Salina: Like, I found myself getting stumped.

Salina: And I'm so stupidly practical that I was like, I don't know how I'd fit this in.

Salina: Who has the time?

Nikki: Do I have to leave the house?

Salina: Do I have to put on pants?

Salina: And the line for me is fuzzy between the second life and, say, a hobby or a side hustle.

Salina: Part of me thinks I already have one.

Salina: I have a day job, and I also have a podcast, at least part of the time.

Salina: But if I did go the alter ego route, I did start to think about that, and that helps a bit.

Salina: And I think I'd like to bring out the things.

Salina: I wish I could be similar to you, but the things that maybe I don't feel so much that I am.

Salina: So I named.

Nikki: Sasha Fierce.

Nikki: Hannah Montana.

Salina: No, her name is Laverne.

Salina: Oh.

Salina: There's no reason other than it's the first name that popped into my head.

Salina: And as Suzanne would say, it just fits my mood.

Nikki: She crochet a lot?

Salina: No, she ain't got time for that.

Salina: First off, she's a smoker.

Salina: First off, she is.

Salina: First off, she looks like Maxine from the hallmark cards.

Salina: Oh, gosh, Laverne, you know, you think I go, like, sexy and young, but no, I'm taking it the other direction.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: Laverne is spontaneous.

Salina: She's not scared to try new things.

Salina: She's not afraid to get lost or do something wrong.

Salina: Laverne doesn't mince words.

Salina: She says what she thinks, and she doesn't overthink it.

Salina: Laverne isn't scheduled to the teeth.

Salina: She has time to spare.

Salina: She's a lady who lunches and occasionally brunches in the middle of the week.

Salina: Laverne doesn't get antsy if there's laundry in the hamper or a dish in the sink.

Salina: Nay, because she's out.

Salina: She's a woman about town.

Salina: Laverne plays the tuba because she can.

Salina: Laverne doesn't count calories or worry about her appearance.

Salina: That's because Laverne don't care.

Salina: She ran out of cares a long time ago.

Nikki: That's it.

Salina: That's Laverne.

Salina: I took it all the way.

Salina: I took it as far as I could.

Salina: I literally just thought of random things.

Salina: Why not?

Nikki: I think the accordion would be cool.

Salina: That would be good, too.

Salina: Just things that people wouldn't think of.

Salina: Anybody could be like, I'm going to learn to play guitar.

Salina: No, I'm going to learn to play the tuba.

Nikki: I feel like our Laverne time is coming.

Nikki: Speaking to some of the elder states women in my life, I think our Laverne time is just naturally coming to us.

Nikki: We both, I feel like, come from hearty stock of women, women who speak their mind, and I have been told over and over again, the older you get, the less you care.

Nikki: So people keep telling me, you just stop worrying.

Nikki: Yeah, our day's coming.

Salina: Yeah, I don't know if I've.

Salina: Does Laverne work completely?

Salina: Yeah, I don't know.

Nikki: Oh, you didn't flush that part.

Salina: She's independently.

Nikki: Well, because you said she brunches during the weekday.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: She just has what she wants.

Nikki: She doesn't care.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Not worried about not having money or having money.

Salina: It just comes and goes.

Salina: Just comes and goes.

Nikki: I need to let you watch.

Nikki: Oh, I'm going to have to look it up after this.

Nikki: Not honey badger.

Salina: Do you remember the honey badger.

Nikki: Honey badger don't care.

Nikki: Honey badger don't give it.

Salina: Well, maybe that would be my triple life.

Nikki: Honey badger.

Salina: Why not?

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: I have no interest in.

Nikki: I think the commonality between both of us is we just want to be able to say what we want and not be judged for it.

Salina: No, I felt that you might call me out on saying what I want.

Salina: I almost did, but that's why I added in.

Salina: You were in a flow about overthinking it.

Salina: Yeah, because I overthink it.

Salina: And then nobody wants my first draft because the first draft is probably mean.

Salina: So you're getting like the second or third draft.

Nikki: I do think that's interesting.

Nikki: I feel that way because I feel like sometimes I'll be telling someone a story and I'm like, and I was so mean back to them.

Nikki: I mean, can you believe?

Salina: Blah, blah, blah?

Nikki: And then I'll say what I said and they're like, that's not that mean.

Nikki: And I was like, in my head, it was so much worse.

Salina: Let me try again.

Salina: I still have time.

Nikki: In my head, it was so much worse.

Nikki: I must have censored.

Salina: Must be meaner.

Nikki: 2024, new Nikki.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Well, we're going to call her nuclear Nikki.

Salina: Oh, I do like that, actually.

Nikki: Good, right?

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: So thank you for joining us for this slightly zany extra sugar.

Salina: You know the drill.

Salina: Dm us, email us or contact us from the website.

Salina: Find us us all over the socials.

Salina: And that's this week's extra sugar.


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