Pin It
LR_Lena+Lisa2

Lisa + Lena

LR_Lena+Lisa2

With 16 million followers on Musical.ly, meet the hyperactive duo lighting up social media

You can buy a copy of our latest issue here. Taken from the spring/summer issue of Dazed:

The hyperactive, Looney Tunes charm of identical twin sisters Lisa and Lena Mantler cannot be bound by a 4·7-inch screen. In front of a blank wall at their home in Stuttgart, Germany, sporting complementary outfits and Sailor Moon hair, the teens lip-sync to a sped-up, chipmunk version of “Monsters” by Timeflies. In between verses, the twins stick out their tongues at an angle and beam at the camera, flashing their braces. Their exaggerated expressions and slick choreography are compounded by the earworms chosen to soundtrack their manic energy on Musical.ly, a lip-syncing app seemingly designed with the sole purpose of relieving you of your time.

This is where the 14-year-old teenagers built a loyal following of 16 million fans – over 25 times the size of their hometown’s population. The barrage of comments and likes they get whenever they add to their social drip-feed has forced them to turn off all notifications. “When we go on Instagram, so much happens,” says Lena. “At home, sometimes when you want to go to sleep, it’s like, ‘Oh no...’”

The twins, who could easily pass as girl- next-door types, have forged a cool-girl optimism on Musical.ly. Lisa and Lena began posting in December of 2015 after getting inspired by a video they’d seen on Instagram. “We thought, ‘Let’s try it, it looks fun,’” says Lena. “The video was so funny that we wanted to share it with all our friends.”

Their first missive was a six-second clip lip-syncing to the song “Treble Heart” by Anna Graceman. Tens, hundreds, then thousands of users began obsessively ‘hearting’ their posts, reposting their videos with praise on facsimile accounts like @LisaandLenafan and @lisandlenatwins. They are currently the second-most popular users on Musical.ly, second only to Ariel Martin (AKA Baby Ariel), who signed up to the app eight months before.

The twins’ popularity has stunned even Alex Hofmann, president of Musical.ly. Back in February, Beyoncé posted a pregnancy announcement to Instagram, clocking six million likes in a day. “We thought, ‘What? Six million?’” says Hofmann. “Then we checked a Lisa and Lena video that got 5·23 million likes in one day on Musical.ly. This was extremely impressive for us to see – (when) an artist like Beyoncé who is known worldwide, on a platform like Instagram that is much bigger, doesn’t get many more likes than a Lisa and Lena video on our platform. It’s insane!”

“At one point, we were a bit scared because so many people came (to see our posts),” admits Lisa. “But at the same time, it was cool to see (that people) liked it. But it’s crazy! When you see more people like a post every time you’re like, ‘Wow, this is so cool.’”

The German teens’ appeal extends far beyond the virtual real estate they occupy. The rapture they inspire in their devotees is admirable, as literal millions hang on to every lip-synced word and infectious wink. They are dopamine personified. If happiness is a drug, it’s called Lisa and Lena.

Why do you think so many people are interested in your posts?

Lena: We don’t really know. I think you should ask them, because we don’t know why they are following us and think we are so cool.

Have you heard of this new app, Houseparty?

Lisa: We do it with our friends.

I read about it but I’m not sure what it does.

Lena: It’s like FaceTime, you can talk with your friends.

Lisa: It’s not like we have to invite friends in. You can lock the room, or keep it open and friends can join (the conversation).

Even people you don’t know can join?

Lisa: Friends of friends.

Has a stranger ever hijacked your call?

Lena: Yeah! And we were like, ‘Who is this?’ If it’s, like, a secret or something, we’re like, ‘Oh no, did he hear it?’

When you have nine million people following you on Instagram, do you ever feel the need to speak out on issues that affect teens?

Lisa: We don’t want to be political. Sometimes when fans have a problem, we’ll say that they have to be themselves. But we’d rather let them talk (than speak to their issues directly). We know that’s hard, because we can see where they’re coming from. We just want to say that they should smile and be positive.

Lena: We don’t want to give too many opinions, because it’s not our (place).

Lisa, which living celebrity would you say your sister most admires?

Lisa: She has two – Selena Gomez and Zara Larsson.

Lena: Yes, it’s true!

Why do you like them?

Lena: I like their voices and their music.

What about Lisa, who does she like?

Lena: I think Hailee Steinfeld and Selena Gomez, too.

Lisa: That’s right! (laughs)

What is your favourite song to lip-sync to?

Lena: Lisa’s is ‘Steady 1234’ (by Vice). We posted it today, I think.

And what about Lena?

Lisa: ‘Need the Sun to Break’ by James Bay. It’s from the new movie The Space Between Us.

What song would you most likely catch your sister singing in the shower?

Lisa: Oh! I think it would be Demi Lovato.

Lena: You too.

Lisa: Oh no, it would be ‘Try / Effortless’ (by dvsn). That’s really hard, singing in the shower. (laughs)

Do you ever sing in the shower?

Both: We do!

Lisa: Our whole family can hear us.

What do you think your sister’s biggest fear is?

Lena: You know when you’re scared of being in a tiny room?

Like being claustrophobic?

Lisa: Yes, I’m really scared of that. Lena: And also when she’s underwater for too long if someone pushes her down, she’s like, ‘Nooo!’

What are three words you would use to describe each other?

Lisa: Crazy, pretty and funny.

Lena: Pretty?! (laughs) What can I say?!

Lisa: And I think you’re funny. She’s the crazy one of us. And sometimes she’s really shy. She can be crazy and shy at the same time, I don’t understand it. How?!

Do you ever borrow your sister’s clothes?

Both: Yes! Often.

And you don’t mind sharing them?

Lena: Except when you want to wear something the next day and you can’t find it because she’s got it on! Or when you get something new for yourself and she asks to wear it and I’m like, ‘No!’

What could your sister not live without?

Both: Me!

Lena: Or her phone.

Are you always on your phone?

Lisa: Me? Always!

Lena: I think for Lisa it’s wifi. If we don’t have wifi, she can’t use the phone and she’s like, ‘Oh no! Daddy, what’s going on?’

If you had to choose one song to soundtrack your life, what would it be?

Lena: A mashup of all songs in the world.

Lisa: Justin Bieber, ‘What Do You Mean?’ 

Where would you most like to live when you grow up?

Both: Los Angeles.

What’s the best comment you ever received on your Instagram?

Lena: ‘You guys make me smile.’

What’s your most-played video?

Lena: ‘I Hate U, I Love U’ (by Gnash). It’s a challenge we did – the emotion challenge, where you have to show your emotion.

Lisa: And the mirror. We did a mirror. She was my reflection.

What do you want people to take away from your videos?

Lisa: We have a quote that’s like, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ It’s like when boys say, ‘I’m going to be a football player.’

We say we’re going to be actors.

Lena: Keep smiling, be happy, love yourself!

Do you guys think you’ll be doing this for a long time?

Lisa: This is our life, we have fun, we do it. It’s important when you’re not having fun not to take things so seriously.

Hair Gary Gill at Streeters using EIMI by Wella Professionals, make-up Mathias van Hooff at Management + Artists using M.A.C, set design Kim Harding at The Magnet Agency, photographic assistants Thomas Skinner, James Cowley, styling assistants Katie McGoldrick, Kieran Fenney, hair assistant Tom Wright, make-up assistant Rebecca Davenport, set design assistants Tomasz Niewhiskey, Karina Valentim, production Carla Santana at Artistry London, casting Stephan Dimu