By: Ashley Foster (Loyola Senior)
We’ve all had this moment: You’re choosing an Instagram name, and no matter how many numbers you add, it’s still taken. You think, “Wow, there must be a lot of people with my name.”
You never think you’ll actually meet one of those mysterious “other you”s. I thought the same until it happened to me.
I’m Ashley Foster, and today I’m sitting down with Ashley Foster — that is, the OTHER Ashley Foster — to discover what living with the ‘other you’ is really like.
To make this less confusing, I’ll start with some basics.
I — Rogers Edge Reporter — am Ashley ELIZABETH Foster, born June 28th, 2001, in Columbus, Ohio. I am a Senior at Loyola University Chicago, studying Advertising and Public Relations, and minoring in Studio Art. My parents named me Ashley for no particular reason other than liking the name.
My Interviewee is Ashley ROSE Foster, born July 24th, 2001 in Cleveland, Ohio. Ashley Rose is also a Senior studying Communications Studies with a Teaching Artist minor. Ashley Rose was named after everyone’s favorite home store, Ashley Furniture. Her parents were coming back from their ultrasound, and they had been thinking about names when they saw an Ashley Furniture Home Store truck and liked the ring of it.
Some basic things we have in common: Same name, eldest children with brothers, both from Ohio, summer babies born in 2001, students in the School of Communication, artists on the side, and the same academic advisor… also named Ashley. This has caused some confusion, and Loyola often mixes us up.
So buckle up. This is one unusual interview.
*Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
ELIZABETH FOSTER: When did you first realize there was another you on campus?
ROSE FOSTER: It was freshman year. You did Rome Start [a program at Loyola where Freshman study abroad in Rome], and I followed a girl you were with. She kept posting with you and I [thought] ‘there’s a girl at Loyola with the same name!’ Then I started getting emails from the Rome Library.
ELIZABETH FOSTER: I realized that you existed when I got an email from the mailroom, but I hadn’t ever been on campus. I was sure [the package] wasn’t for me, but it [was] for Ashley Foster. After that we connected on Instagram.
When did we meet in person?
ROSE FOSTER: It was last year, one of the first days of school…I remember because I texted my mom “I met the other me.”
It was like Freaky Friday. Like looking into a weird mirror. You live your life as yourself, and trying to fathom you having the same exact name… it’s your identity! You never think about sharing that.
ELIZABETH FOSTER: What are some of the mix ups we’ve experienced?
ROSE FOSTER: My favorite was when one of my sorority sisters texted me “Your art in the art show is so beautiful.” and I was like thanks? And I was trying to think of if any of my friends had photographed me or something…
Or when both of us were featured on the front page of the Phoenix, and my friends were really confused like “You’re in this story about sexual assault awareness and the right below you’re quoted talking about eight ride [our night shuttle service]?” For a journalist that can’t be good, where’s the fact checking?
ELIZABETH FOSTER: My favorite was when they enrolled me in your private voice lesson… that you auditioned for. Or when Campus Safety gave you security access to our chapel after I requested it.
ROSE FOSTER: It shouldn’t be a problem. It’s just people not thinking. That’s the major lesson out of this. There are no shortcuts. It’s been a responsibility, because I care about you and I want to make sure that you get the information you need.
ELIZABETH FOSTER: It’s a weird bond of trust between virtual strangers.
ROSE FOSTER: But it’s also cool because it’s formed this weird friendship.
ELIZABETH FOSTER: What is it like knowing Loyola doesn’t know us apart?
ROSE FOSTER: It’s terrible. I’m constantly in a state of fear and anxiety thinking I’m not going to get something [since our emails often go to the wrong Ashley]. When important information isn’t going to the right place it’s stressful!
ELIZABETH FOSTER: Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
ROSE FOSTER: I come from a big Italian family. I always say my name doesn’t match my look, especially doing theater. I’ve thought about changing my last name to Sotosanti, my great grandma’s maiden name. “Ashley Foster” just doesn’t have that ring to it.
Who knows? Maybe next year you’ll have the title all to yourself.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with doppelganger drama, you are not alone. Reach out. The “other you” is probably not that bad.