While sifting through the entrants’ photos in The Bulletin’s 2017 Mother-daughter Look-alike Contest, we did double-takes on many occasions.
With more than 50 mother-daughter duos in contention this year, it was delightfully difficult comparing and contrasting maternal and filial similarities. Staffers who served as judges took turns tallying photos and offering exclamations: “Look at those matching dimples!” and “These two have identical foreheads!” We spoke with the top four winners and learned what qualities, beyond the immediately identifiable, make their mother-daughter relationships so special.
Kathi and Calli Prestwood, the first-place winners of The Bulletin’s 2017 Mother-daughter Look-alike Contest, didn’t mince words when asked how they did it.
“Strong genes, I guess,” daughter Calli, 24, said with a chuckle. The pair have identical hazel eyes and smiles, and share the same curly, light brown hair, which Calli parts on the opposite side as her mother. “Mom’s DNA is stronger than dad’s.”
Kathi, 55, and her daughter, both from Bend, spoke on a conference call, since Calli is pursuing a physician’s assistant degree in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Kathi was enjoying four-wheeling and sunshine on vacation just north of Cabo, Mexico, with her husband. Even though Calli spends around 60 hours in class or studying, she makes time to call home to her parents several times each week. She calls them her support system. When she and her daughter are together, Kathi likes to prank strangers.
“I always tease, ‘We’re sisters. She’s the older one,’” Kathi said with a laugh.
“That goes over well,” Calli said with a chuckle very much like her mother’s. In fact, they share many attributes, which, perhaps not surprisingly, make them experts on each other’s cosmological quirks.
“‘Don’t run a comb through your hair!’” Calli said she often reminds her mother. “(Our hair) is like a lion’s mane. It would have been great in the ’80s” when perms were the norm, she added.
Kathi said Calli has resembled her since she was an infant.
“Sometimes when I look at her, I just see myself. I feel like I’m looking into my eyes,” she said, adding that they share facial expressions.
“If we’re listening to somebody and she (Calli) might have a different opinion, she’ll give me a look. It’s in the way she turns her eyes or raises an eyebrow — we can communicate without speaking,” Kathi said. “It’s really helpful when we play ‘Catch Phrase.’”
Geri Johnson knew her daughter was cut from the same cloth when she was born. She had the same dimples and blue eyes that define the facial characteristics of the women on her mother’s side of the family.
“We’ve been told we’re related,” Johnson, 64, said, making the understatement of the year. They, too, are sometimes mistaken as sisters.
“She likes that more than I do,” Erika Arrivee, 39, said. “But yeah.”
Arrivee realized she was beginning to look like her mother when she was in her teens. She didn’t fight the comparisons.
“We get lots of comments on our dimples and pale blue eyes,” Arrivee said.
In terms less superficial, Erika said she has always admired her schoolteacher mother’s outgoingness, strength and willingness to learn new things.
“When I was in fourth grade, my mom and dad built a house together on their own. She was the type who got right in there, laying down tiles next to my dad or putting the roof on. She wasn’t afraid … even if she didn’t always know the best way to do something.”
While the house they built is in Olympia, Washington, the Johnsons made frequent trips to Bend to visit Geri’s grandfather — who graduated from Bend High School — and stay at their vacation home. These fond memories of Central Oregon inspired Arrivee, who’s married with children, to pursue a career here as a pharmacist — a rigorous tract made to seem less daunting, thanks to her mother’s can-do example.
“She picks a goal and she sticks with it,” Johnson said. “We joke that I’m more the hare and she’s more the tortoise. She picks a goal and she’ll just work hard to get there. I like her determination and that she’s a real strong person.”
Alia Beyer, 29, has been told “every day since she was born” that she’s the spitting image of her mother, Mary Beyer.
“We’ve walked in a room and just had people stop and go, ‘Oh my gosh! You two look so much alike I just can’t believe it!’” Mary, 57, recently said on a conference call.
The two took time out from tending to Wine Down Ranch, their 2,100-acre complex near Prineville, where they raise cattle, grow hay and timber and have recently renovated an old bunk house — and soon, a tiny home — into a bed and breakfast. For this August’s solar eclipse, they’re organizing a music festival, of which Alia, a musician, is in charge. She moved home a year ago after taking a break from a chemistry career to hike the Pacific Crest Trail — “I was tired of walking around the same box nine hours a day” — to help her mother and father with their ventures.
“This is a big project for two people, and I was in a place in my life where I wanted to be here in the long term and help my parents with the ranch and farming,” Alia said. “It’s a totally different relationship coming back as an adult child. (It’s a matter of) keeping my independence and identity, but also to be able to collaborate and learn from each other.”
Sometimes mother and daughter swap roles. When Alia dislocated her ankle after stepping off a ladder, her mother took care of her. Conversely, when Mary injured her back, Alia was at her side.
“She’s a total nurturer, not just with her family, but with people who come around,” Alia said. “Even when I’m stuck on the computer for 10 hours doing festival stuff, she helps (me) get off my butt and get outside and take a breath and keep a level of balance.”
Sometimes it’s tough for Mary and her husband to forget that Alia, their middle child, isn’t a kid anymore. Alia said she welcomes her parents’ growing pains.
“When it’s hard, it’s still worthwhile to build a relationship in this way, because I just think this is going to serve us moving forward in the rest of our lives,” Alia said.
One thing, however, remains unresolved.
“I’m just surprised we didn’t win,” Alia said with a laugh.
Sadie, 7, doesn’t need another reminder that she looks like her mother.
“Everybody tells me that,” said the first-grader at Lava Ridge Elementary. Among the identical characteristics she shares with her mom, Carri Hanson, 36, are “the same hair color and the same eye color.”
While she’s perfectly correct, Sadie would be fine if she never heard of the comparisons anytime soon — but Carri cherishes the resemblance.
“I’ve had friends of my parents and family members who comment on Facebook that she looks just like I did as a kid,” she said.
Despite the resemblances, Carri said she sees Sadie as more than her own reflection.
“Sadie has this quality — and I’m not saying this just because I’m her mother and she looks like me — I just find her so stunningly beautiful. Sometimes I look at her, and her piercing blue eyes and her little freckles just melts my heart.”
Sadie took her time coming up with things she appreciates about her mother.
“She cooks us spaghetti,” she said. Other favorite things they do together include reading and Girl Scouts adventures, particularly to the Bend Rock Gym, where their submitted photo was taken and she tried climbing. She said it was “kind of” scary to be high off the ground, but “the little rope thingies” — referring to the auto-belay system — “kept me safe. If you fall, you slowly come down.”
Carri said a quality Sadie possesses that she didn’t as a child is outgoingness.
“I think I was very shy as a kid. She’s a bit more feisty and adventurous,” she said. Carri said she was inspired to enter The Bulletin’s Mother-daughter Look-alike Contest because they’d glimpsed it last year. Carri and Sadie sifted through six different pictures before Sadie found the right one. Carri asked her daughter if she was excited to see them in the newspaper.
— Reporter: 541-617-7816, firstname.lastname@example.org