What She Thought Was A Case of Identity Theft, Changed Her Life Forever
Over the last few years, social media has become an increasingly important part of our everyday lives. An advancement which has both been commended and condemned has the ability to bring people closer as well as lead to scammers seeking to wreak havoc. You can find out a lot about a person from their social media accounts, and there are cases, rare instances when these social media apps result in amazing finds. The main subject of this story thought that she was a victim of identity theft, but her quest to find the truth led to a remarkable discovery that not only changed her life but made international headlines. To find out about this amazing story, keep reading!
A Shared Video
Anais Bordier was a fashion student studying in London, England, when something so inexplicable and unexpected happened that it not only made international news, but it also changed the lives of the people around her forever. Anais, like many people her age, connected with others on many social media apps but she never imagined that those very apps would be the reason why her life would turn on its head.
It was a typical winter day in December 2012, when a friend of Anais’ shared a YouTube video on her Facebook page. She didn’t think that there was anything special about the video until she began to watch it. What she saw on the video made her stop everything that she was doing.
My Face on YouTube
What Anais was looking at was no different from what she saw in the mirror every day; the person in the shared YouTube video looked exactly in her. “I wondered, ‘who posted a video of me on YouTube?” she said when thinking back to the confusing moment.
All kinds of thoughts were racing through her head as to how or why this was happening, but the one thought that she kept on having was that she had never made a YouTube video, not even one with photos. To see a video of a person with her face, left her completely confused.
Was It Identity Theft?
One of the first things that came to mind when Anais saw ‘herself,’ was that it could be identity theft. She also wondered why someone had made a video of her and what it was doing on the internet. The fashion design student did not know how to stop watching the video and didn’t know what to think of it.
Social media is playing more of an important role in people’s lives, but at the same time, the internet can be extremely dangerous; people are becoming more cautious of scammers, phishing, and malware. But when Anais paid closer attention to the video, she noticed something, and it shocked her.
“You Look Like Someone”
Thinking back to that moment, Anais said: “you know how often your friends tell you that you look like someone, I thought maybe in the eyes or something like that.” Upon further inspection, Anais noticed that the face, the freckles, and the hair all appeared to be identical to hers.
Anais watched the video countless times, over and over, staring at the mirror image of herself. She spent quite a bit of time thinking about the video and how it came to be, but she soon came to a realization; the person in the video was not her, it was someone else.
The Woman with the American Accent
The video that was shared on Anais’ Facebook page was in fact, a sketch comedy production made by a group of Americans. It just turned out that one of the actresses in the video had a striking resemblance to her. Anais was determined to find out who her mystery doppelgänger was.
Apart from hearing her American accent, there wasn’t much information that Anais could find out about the actress. She desperately searched for answers, looking for clues but she found nothing. There were no names, credits, or anything that could help Anais, but just a few months later, something astounding would happen that would change the course of her investigation.
Just a few months later in February 2013, the same friend – Kelsang, who shared the video on one of Anais’ social media accounts, sent her a message with some incredible information. He had found another video of Anais’ lookalike. Excited by the news, she could not wait to check out the new video.
The message from Kelsang read “I’ve seen that girl again,” and attached below was a link to the video. It turned out to be a college campus comedy titled “21 & Over,” and after watching the movie, things were never going to be the same.
A Shocking Discovery
Bordier was sitting on a bus when the message about the new sighting popped up on her phone. After discovering that it was a movie, the first thing that she did was to search the film’s IMDB page and there it was. She learned that the mystery woman who looked exactly like her, was a Los Angeles-based actress by the name of Samantha Futerman.
Some of Samantha Futerman’s credits included the role of Satsu in the award-winning film “Memoirs of a Geisha,” as well as a few other characters on various television shows and short films. As shocking as it was, it was another bit of information that made Anais rush off the bus to call her mother.
Coincidence or Fate?
As Anais read through Samantha Futerman’s interesting IMDB profile, she was surprised to find out that she shared the same birthday as Samantha – November 19th, 1987, but that wasn’t all. She was also shocked to learn that like her, Samantha was born in Busan, Korea and that she had also been put up for adoption.
All of this new information, specifically the similarities between the two women, sent Anais’ mind racing. Anais’ explained everything to her mother, making sure not to leave out any information. Moments later her mom said something that Anais herself was too scared to consider; “do you think she might be your twin?”
The Adoption Records
Anais Bordier was adopted as a baby from an agency in South Korea and was raised as an only child by her parents who lived in Paris and Brussels. On her adoption records, it was listed that she was born to a single mother and that there weren’t any siblings. There were no names listed, nor were there any pictures of her mother in Anais’ file.
The unearthed information had Anais thinking whether she really was an only child or now. She wondered whether she had a younger or half-sister that she did not know about somewhere out there. She remembers feeling lonely as a child despite being loved by her parents, who she in return loved very much. She never thought for one second that while pursuing her passion in London, that she would stumble upon something as extraordinary as this.
“The Child We Always Wanted”
Jacques and Patricia Bordier adopted baby Anais from a foster care center in Seoul, South Korea when she was only three months old. When asking them about the adoption, Anais’ parents lovingly told her that she was “the child we always wanted.”
Anais had a very happy childhood, but she also remembers how hard it was when the other children asked her why she looked so different from her parents. The Bordiers didn’t keep Anais’ adoption a secret, but there were times when it hurt. She would never have thought for one second what she was not an only child.
Trying to Find the Words
After learning so much about Samantha, Anais wanted to see if she could find her on Facebook and soon enough, she found the link to her Facebook page. Anais spent quite a bit of time trying to find the words to say to her possible relative. She had so many questions, but she didn’t know how to ask them.
One of Anais’ biggest concern was that Samantha would not believe her and that she would think that it was some sort of prank, but who wouldn’t? How do you let a stranger from across the world know that they could be your long-lost sister and/or twin? But Anais had an idea as to how she would prove that she was telling the truth.
Referencing the Parent Trap
One of the things that Anais wrote in her message to prove that all she was saying was true, was to check out her own personal Facebook page. Anais told her that she [Samantha] could check out her pictures to see just how similar the two of them looked.
Referencing the movie “The Parent Trap,” Anais wrote, “So…I don’t want to be too Lindsay Lohan, well…but…how to put it…I was wondering where were you born?” She was still worried that all of the time she spent working on the letter would be for nothing, but unbeknownst to her, something surprising was about to happen.
A Stalking Suspicion
On the other side of the world, in Los Angeles, Samantha Futerman had a sneaking suspicion about the message from the stranger. When asked about the message, she said, “when Anais’s message appeared, it was such a mixture of emotions. I first thought, ‘Oh man, some weird person has got hold of a photo of me.'”
Samantha did exactly what Anais said; she took a look at her Facebook photos. She continued by saying, “she looks so much like me, is this really happening?… I was strangely calm, but really excited. I was happy more than scared.” She also said that things began to make more sense after she read the message. Samantha took two or three days before she replied.
Samantha Futerman, much like Anais Bordier, had also been adopted from a foster care center in South Korea. Unlike Anais who grew up in Europe, Samantha grew up across the pond with her new family in New Jersey. Anais admittedly felt lonely being raised as an only child, but it wasn’t the same for Samantha.
Samantha Futerman was raised with two others, brothers Matt and Andrew. Before moving to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career, she attended the Professional Performing Arts High School. She then attended Boston’s University’s College of Fine Arts, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 2011.
Samantha Futerman moved to Los Angeles, California in 2011 to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress. She has already had prior experience before making the move across the country, staring in films such as “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Going the Distance,” and “The Motel.”
Samantha got a job as a waitress and soon after, a few roles on television shows including “Up All Night,” “A Gifted Man,” “Suburgatory,” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” She also landed a role in the comedy film “21 & Over” and a number of skits on YouTube.
Telling the Family
Much like Anais, when she first learned about her doppelganger, Samantha told her parents about the message that she received from the stranger in London. When Jackie and Judd Futerman heard the news, they were extremely cautious in their approach to the situation. They were right to be skeptical; there were many stories of “cat-fishing” on the web.
Everything changed the moment that Samantha showed her parents Anais’ baby pictures. She also said “if my friends weren’t obsessed with YouTube, or if I hadn’t become an actor, we might never have found each other. But everything’s lined up perfectly.”
A New Facebook Message
Meanwhile back in London, Anais was surprised when she got a notification informing her that she had a new message. Eager to find out who it was from and what it was about, she quickly checked. Samantha had responded to her message. When she opened the message, she found out that Samantha had sent her pictures of her adoption records, with the message “Dude, we’re totally twins!” Upon further inspection, she could not believe what she saw.
According to the records that were sent, Samantha and Anais were born at the same clinic in South Korea. When they both found out, it was hard for them to contain themselves, they both wanted to know everything about each other. They began to contact each other quite often, sending messages back and forth, which eventually led to their first Skype conversation.
The First Skype Meeting
On February 26th, the women had their first Skype conversation. “Seeing Anais on Skype was unreal,” Sam remembered thinking back to that moment. “I had never seen anyone who looked even remotely like me, let alone my exact mirror reflection. She had my laugh, my freckles, and that profile. When she turned to the side during that first Skype session, I was blown away. I stopped for a second and freaked out inside.”
On the other side of the world, the Skype call proved to be everything that Anais needed to confirm what she previously thought. They compared their baby pictures and noticed that they had the same expression. What was supposed to be a 90-minute long conversation, wound up being over three hours long. They both wanted to meet each other; “I wanted to see her in person right away,” Samantha said. As for Anais, she stated, “I wanted to get on a plane immediately.”
A Few Months Later
“This first few months talking to Anais was like falling in love,” she said about trying to get to know her. Three months after Samantha and Anais had their first Skype call, Samantha hopped onto a plane from Los Angeles destined to London. Along with parents – Jackie and Judd, and two brother – Matt and Andrew, Samantha made the 10-hour-long journey. Samantha was finally going to meet Anais face-to-face, and at a great time; Anais’ graduation from fashion school.
The pair of women also agreed to do a DNA test after they met. It had to be done if they wanted to definitively find out if they were really related. Anais Bordier and Samantha Futeram sent in their swabbed samples to Dr. Nancy Segal’s lab in the United States. They had no idea that the results would change their lives forever.
Their First Meeting
Samantha and her family arrived in London, England on May 14th, 2013. When they approached each other, Anais almost fainted while staring at the woman who looked so much like her. Remembering back to the moment she met Anais, Samantha said that the encounter “was awkward, like a first date.” As uncomfortable as it may have been, they couldn’t help how intrigued they were by one another.
All they did, at least for the first few minutes, was stare at each other in bewilderment. Anais remembers “it was like she was my mirror image.” Anais couldn’t stop herself; she reached out to touch Samantha. When she did, the two women immediately began to laugh. Over the next few days, they spent much of their time getting to know each other and talking about random things. Not too long after, they would receive a phone call that would shock them and their families.
Dr. Nancy L. Segal
Anais and Samantha decided to contact Dr. Nancy Segal, an American doctor who specialized in twins separated at birth. She held her a master’s degree and a doctorate in Social Sciences and Behavioral Sciences. She also served as a professor of psychology at California State University and also as the Director of the Twin Studies Center, which she started in 1991.
She received several awards, some of which were for her contribution to twin research. Segal had written several books about twin as well as over 200 scientific article and chapters including “Twin Mythconceptions: False Beliefs, Fables, and Facts About Twins” and “Accidental Brothers: The Story of Twins Exchanged at Birth and the Power of Nature and Nurture.” She would soon be adding Anais’ and Samantha’s story to her list of credits.
The Results from the DNA Test
Samantha and Anais got in touch with Dr. Segal, the twin specialist who ran their DNA test, anxiously waiting to hear what she had to say. The results were in, and they were about to find out if they were in fact related, or if everything was a bizarre coincidence. They could not believe the words that left the doctor’s lips; “turn and hug your identical twin.”
Upon hearing the results, Samantha fell off of her seat, and the twins began to laugh. Everyone who was around them began to cheer as the news of their relation started to sink in. It was as they had suspected, they were long lost twins who had been separated at birth. They were then adopted by different families who lived a world away from each other. In what can only be described as fate, the two found each other 25 years later. But that was only the beginning of their miraculous journey.
Similarities Becoming Clear
Samantha’s first thoughts after learning the news were, “It was weird, but I feel like there was a strange calm and comfort as well, and something that I can’t really explain.” The more time that the women spent together, the clearer it became of just how similar they were. Samantha and Anais didn’t only share their looks, and their laughs, they shared many other things, including the fact that they were both tomboys when they were younger.
They both loathed cooked carrots, and there were quite a few occasions when they would show up wearing the same color of nail polish without talking to each other about it. The women also had the same sense of humor, and most importantly, they understood each other. As amazing as their story was, there was still a lot more to come.
Figuring Out What Was Different
The differences between the newly reunited twins were also notable. Apart from growing up 5000 miles apart, Samantha was more of an extrovert, which she attributed to growing up with her two brothers.
Anais grew up as an only child, and as a result, she felt very lonely at times. She struggled a lot more with being adopted than her sister, Samantha. They also noticed that Anais was moodier than her American sister.
After finding and meeting her twin sister 25-years-later, a memory of a familiar tale was triggered. She remembers, “I immediately thought she was cool because she made a Lindsay Lohan reference from The Parent Trap.” At the time, she thought of how cool it would be if they turned out to be twins. As for Anais, she said, “I realized I’d never felt happier.”
They may have only just met each other, but they immediately felt like they were family. Samantha Futerman and Anais Bordier could not believe how fortunate they were in how they found out about each other. But the twins were not alone on their journey; they also had their families who were arguably, just as invested. How did they feel about how everything played out?
Meeting the Families
Neither Samantha’s nor Anais’ parents had any knowledge that their daughters had been separated from their only biological sibling at birth. Both of the families were surprised after learning the truth, and their initial reaction was a bit different from the laughter that Anais and Samantha shared. Both families had tears in their eyes as discovered that there was another family member out there.
When Samantha first met Anais’ father’s he cried, and her mother had no doubts that the two were twins. On the other side of the world, Jackie and Judd Futerman said that they would have adopted both of the girls if they had known that there were two girls. “Our (adoptive) families treat each other like family. Our families are super close.” With their families’ support, the twins were about to start a new chapter in their lives; getting answers to some burning questions.
Where It All Began
Fast-forward to a few months later, the twins met again, but this time in Los Angeles. The plan was to go to South Korea, to not only share their miraculous story, but also to meet others like them. Samantha got in touch with the New York agency which brokered the adoption. They also had plans to meet with the International Korean Adoptee Association, and so they did.
While the twins were in South Korea, they took some time to explore their heritage when they were not searching for answers to their unresolved questions. The clinic where they were born had closed down a long time ago, and the doctor who delivered the twins was dead. Samantha found a very important piece of information, and she used it to contact their birth mother. As hard as they tried, they did not get the response that they were hoping for.
Listed as “Single Birth”
Anais Bordier and Samantha Futerman were registered as “single birth” babies by the adoption agency, but they never found out if it was an accident or intentional. There was, however, a woman’s name listed on their adoption papers. Samantha decided to contact the person, but things did not go as expected; “she wasn’t as warm as we’d hoped,” Samantha said after trying. As defeating as it may seem, the twins were still happy because they had already found each other.
When talking about the person listen on their adoption papers, Samantha said, “we don’t know if she needs time, or it could be that she doesn’t want to talk to us. We respect whatever her choice, her feelings, and her decisions are.” The twins decided to write her a letter, thanking her for everything. But that wasn’t the end of their amazing story.
Letting the World Know
Twins, Anais Bordier and Samantha Futerman always knew that they wanted to share their story with other people. It just so happened that they had been documenting their journey, from the first shared YouTube video on Anais’ Facebook page.
The two women had many photos together, and most of their encounters had been captured on film; their first Skype conversation, their face-to-face encounter in London, the meeting of each other’s’ family, and all the trips that they went on together. They never thought that the footage that they had compiled would result in something as amazing as it did.
Making the Documentary
Samantha Futerman, who had quite a bit of experience working in the film industry recruited some of her friends’ help to make their documentary. The group rented a flat down in East London, the same place that she and her sister met for the first time. The team had over 23,000 clips to work with, as well as pictures, emails, texts, and birth records. Making documentaries cost money, so with the use of the crowd-funding site “Kickstarter,” there were able to raise over $73,000 of their $80,000 goal.
Samantha and Anais knew that they weren’t the only twins to have been separated at birth. On their trip to South Korea, they met others like them; many of whom were reunited later in life. The twins both hoped that their story would help siblings like them, to find their way to each other.
The incredible story of the twins finding each other on social media made headlines around the world. From their birth country – South Korea, to Europe where Anais was from, to the United States where Samantha resided. Everyone was fascinated with their story, and it was told many times in countless interviews.
Their story was the perfect Hollywood movie material; it was very similar to “The Parent Trap,” which was often referenced throughout the sister’s journey. It was also similar to “Sister, Sister,” and “Twitches.” Anais and Samantha used the footage to create a full-length documentary which they called “Twinsters.” The documentary was meant to help others like them, but they had no idea how much their story would impact the masses.
The Southwest Festival
The Twinsters documentary which was released on March 15th, 2015, premiered at the South by Southwest Festival where it won an award for how it was edited. The 90-minute long film sent its viewers on an emotional rollercoaster and gained an incredibly positive response. The documentary was later featured on Netflix.
That was not the only success that that documentary saw. It was also featured at the Los Angeles Pacific Film Festival where it was recognized for being the best documentary. With all of the positive feedback that their film was getting, it wasn’t the only way that the twins shared their incredible story.
Writing a Book
The Twinsters story all began with the click of a shared YouTube video and Anais’s and Samantha’s lives were forever changed because of it. After receiving such amazing feedback in the U.S., the twins decided to go international with their documentary, releasing it Korea, where they were born.
Coming off the heels of the success of their documentary, the twins put together their creative talents to write a book about the entire experience. After a few months, their book, “Separated @ Birth: A True Love Story of Twin Sisters Reunited” was released. Unbeknownst to them, all of the attention that they were getting would soon reach the ears of actor Will Ferrell. How did it happen?
Even More Attention
Just a few months after the release of their documentary, television network ABC, bought the rights to a series based on Anais and Samantha’s story. The comedy series was to be produced by actor Will Ferrell, director Adam McKay as well as some of the other creators of “Funny or Die.” The twins were happy about all of the attention that they were getting but becoming famous was never the main goal.
Despite their ever-increasing spotlight, the twins just wanted to increase the awareness of adoptees and their families. Even Tony and Emmy-award winning actress Kristin Chenoweth, who was also adopted, hopped on board the documentary.
Co-founding a Foundation
Samantha, along with “Glee” actress Jenna Ushkowitz, who was also adopted from an agency in South Korea, co-founded the adoption advocacy group “Kindred: The Foundation for Adoption.” Samantha said, “It feels good to know we’re working for a greater purpose.” The goal of the advocacy group was to create an online community for fellow adoptees and their families. It provided services including but not limited to translation, travel, and most importantly, support for those seeking to be reunited.
“It’s not just to make a movie or be, like, listen to me; I have a crazy story,” Samantha said. When talking about the agency, she says “this is what I’m here for, to be your family and for you to be my family. Samantha said that her experience taught her that there are no boundaries when it comes to family and that love is much more than just DNA. She said that “it can be anyone you choose to accept into your life. And it taught me to be open to anything, because if something this crazy can happen, almost anything can happen.”
A New York Gala
Despite being thousands of miles apart, the twins text or call each other every day. A monumentous event was Futerman and Ushkowitz’s New York Gala to celebrate their foundation. Futerman said that the event felt like their “senior prom.” Her sister who was back in England still wanted to make sure that she was involved. “She was texting me before, saying, ‘How are you doing? How is it going? Talk to me!'”
It would not be the first gala that they would hold. Attendees included founders of various organizations, other adopted children, as well as celebrities like Cheyenne Jackson, Kayla Ewell, and Hunter Parrish. The event culminated with the handing out of Kindred Achievement Award, which was given to those who have made significant progress in the adoption community.
All of the fame that twins Anais Bordier and Samantha Futeram gained from their incredible story, paled in comparison to their actual story – finding each other after 25 years of not knowing that they existed. Anais was happy to find out that she wasn’t alone, but for Samantha, discovering that she has a twin gave her life a greater purpose.
In describing what it was like to find her twin sister, she said, “that feeling on Christmas when you open up the presents, the one you were asking for, it’s that – that pure feeling of joy – that’s how I always feel.'” When asked about the time she spent with her sister she said, “we never even talk about our childhood because we’re so excited about what’s happening right now.”
No Longer Lonely
Anais, who unlike her sister, was raised as an only child, had begun to fill some of the gaps that she felt as an only child. She said, “I don’t feel lonely anymore.” “We text every day. We can just WhatsApp her and Sam would instantly respond. I’m not feeling alone anymore.”
In reflecting the entire process, Anais said: “you can’t imagine that you might have a twin sister somewhere that you don’t know about.” Despite growing up separately, both Anais Bordier and Samantha Futerman had the same outlook on the adoption.
A Blessing in Disguise
The twins went through quite a bit, one more than the other, but they both felt that they were blessed to be adopted. Anais had a final message to share, “to parents who are adopting children; I’d say they’re really brave.” She also had a message for the biological parents who gave their children up for adoption, “I hope our biological parents are happy,” she said.
When asked about her situation, she said “I did feel like I missed something. I had an imaginary friend when I was a kid. It happens to a lot of kids, but I had an imaginary friend, and she was called Anne … I needed that comfort, I guess,” she added. She also said, “I think I feel a lot more confident knowing. It’s like, yeah, I’ve found my second half back.”
Where Are the Twins Today?
Anais is a handbag designer living in Paris, France while her twin sister Samantha lives in Los Angeles, California where she continues to work on her acting career. Although they live in different places, they one day hope to move to the same city.
They stay in touch every day, and they are working on plans to meet again and learn Korean. “We’re not worried about being separated again, we know we’ll never let it happen,” Samantha said. When asked about her sister, “she is doing amazing [in Paris],” Futerman says. “She has a dog and a boyfriend – so I don t think she’s leaving anytime soon!” The two recently tied the knot in Florence, Italy.