Meet Some of Chattanooga’s Identical Twin Brothers
Growing up with an identical twin produces a unique sibling dynamic, and for many, a lifelong best friend. This is certainly the case for these four sets of twin brothers, whose similarities go far beyond looking alike – they led each pair to the same workplace here in Chattanooga. Read on to encounter tales of childhood shenanigans, the benefits of a little brotherly competition, and what it’s like to have a twin as a colleague.
By Rachel Studebaker
Growing up, Drs. Jeremy and Jermaine Hogstrom quickly got used to receiving intrigued looks from strangers and being confused for one another. “No, we can’t read each other’s minds, but we often know what one another may be thinking,” says Dr. Jeremy. “You always have a partner in crime, and the confusion only adds to the humor,” adds Dr. Jermaine.
The brothers are alike in an uncanny number of ways. Dr. Jermaine lists a few examples: “We have a very similar sense of fashion, and we like the same foods. We also both love tennis. Believe it or not, we even drive the same car.” While their interests may align, they prefer to keep belongings separate. “People often ask us if we share each other’s clothes, but after growing up sharing everything, including our first car, we really don’t,” explains Dr. Jeremy.
A shared passion for the medical field spurred the Drs. Hogstrom toward successful careers as primary care providers. The duo attended the same schools as they pursued this goal and brought it to fruition in 2022, when they both joined CHI Memorial Internal Medicine Associates. “Working together as physicians has always been a dream of ours. We get along well and always have a great time in the clinic,” says Dr. Jermaine.
The Drs. Hogstrom have used their positions as lookalike medical professionals to establish a growing platform on social media as the “Twin Doctors,” particularly on TikTok, where their joint account is followed by over 2 million people. “Being able to attain the following we have on social media has truly been a blessing. It has allowed us to inspire and help people from all walks of life,” shares Dr. Jermaine. The positive reaction to their humorous and educational content helped Dr. Jeremy realize “what kind of impact we could have simply by combining medicine with our personalities and being relatable in the social media space.”
Dr. Jermaine reveals that he and Dr. Jeremy first entered the spotlight before the advent of social media. “We were in the December 1997 edition of Life magazine during elementary school due to the multiple sets of twins and triplets at our school. At the time it felt pretty normal, but when I look back, I realize how much of an anomaly it was,” he recalls.
Having achieved his career goal with Dr. Jermaine by his side, Dr. Jeremy concludes, “We’ve been away from the Chattanooga area for many years but have always considered it home. We are thrilled to be back serving the community!”
Whether it’s boyhood antics, wildland firefighting, organic farming, or rental renovations, Matthew and Michael Miller have done it all together. Having few other kids around made the twins the best of playmates as boys, exploring the woods near their childhood home and running around with their dogs. “I had a best friend who was with me all the time,” says Matthew. “It feels like we’ve been partners in crime for as long as I can remember,” adds Michael.
“Raising twins isn’t always easy, and we would often drive our mom nuts,” Matthew jokes. “One time, she walked out the front door to find us two stories up a very sketchy fire escape at 5 years old. It was easy to get the courage to do it, because we had each other to convince ourselves it was a good idea at the time – which it wasn’t.”
Matthew and Michael share a competitive nature, which pushed them to achieve better grades in school and thrive professionally. Their common goals are benefited by distinct personalities; Michael’s reserved nature and attention to detail complement Matthew’s outgoing personality and focus on the outcome.
While the brothers agree that having similarities is a strength, Michael admits it used to get them in a bit of trouble: “In college, professors would think we were cheating on exams because we would get almost the exact same grade and miss the same questions. So, they started making us sit on different sides of the room when taking a test. They eventually realized we just studied together and thought the same.”
Over the years, the twins have explored multiple professions together. A high school interest in the U.S. Forest Service led them to a hotshot crew fighting wildfires – a position that set them up for success in their current jobs with the Chattanooga Fire Department. The duo also had a stint running an organic vegetable farm, and recently embarked on renovating and managing a rental property alongside their wives.
“Being able to work with my brother has given me the confidence to start a business and try something new knowing he was there trying it with me,” says Matthew. “Since we both know each other so well, it makes problem solving easier when working on projects.” He adds, “We’re best friends, we talk all the time, and we have each other as sounding boards. Any issue that comes up in life we work out together.”
Aaron and John Frederick have been many things in addition to identical twins – college roommates, baseball teammates, and company co-owners, among others. Their shared experiences and countless similarities were simply intuitive: “Our parents never intentionally pushed us to do the same or different things; we just naturally moved in the same direction.”
“It is a lot of fun having a twin. Aside from the entertainment that comes from watching other people’s confusion on a daily basis, we have always had someone you can count on for anything. We have always been each other’s biggest critic and biggest fan,” Aaron and John say, jokingly adding, “You want the other to succeed because everyone else is likely to think it was you.”
As the twins grew up, they were simultaneously collaborators and competitors. “As soon as we woke up in the morning, we had someone of equal ability and drive to play ball with, wrestle with, and compete with in every way. We could make bigger messes and do bigger things because there were two of us working at it,” they share.
The brothers consider this competitiveness to be a strength, saying it has “driven us to be creative in finding solutions to problems in life, and coupled with the fact that we still had the same end goals in mind, created in each of us a desire to find and accept new and bigger challenges that make life fun.”
Today, Aaron and John continue to build this bond of brotherhood while mapping out new constructions in Chattanooga. The brothers co-own Frederick Bros. Construction and manage the family-run business alongside each of their wives. A future in construction was foreshadowed early on: “At 4 years old, we removed half of the interior doorknobs in our parents’ house before our mother even realized what we were doing,” they share.
Having similar mindsets makes decision-making on the job an easy process. They explain, “It’s like being in two places at once. Any decisions one makes on a job are most likely the same decisions the other would have made.”
Ultimately, the twins are grateful for their close friendship and their fulfilling work with Frederick Bros. Construction. “God led us to take the same path,” they say. “Taking a leap of faith and persevering through the hard times, knowing who was at the helm, has given us a work environment that neither of us would trade for anything.”
Being identical twins has provided Christian and Christoffer Collins with a wealth of stories. “I was never without a friend at home, church, school camps, etcetera. Everywhere I went, I always knew there was a spitting image of me who had my back,” says Christian.
He adds, “People always ask if we feel each other’s pain, and I always say yes. I remember one time he fell down the steps and before he even started crying, I began to cry.”
As boys, Christian admits he and his brother were mischievous teammates. “We played tricks on our parents, teachers, coaches, or just about anyone who knew us … It was double the fun, double the trouble.” Christoffer recalls a time he got in trouble with his mother for something Christian did. “She made the mistake of getting us mixed up. I was just an innocent bystander,” he maintains.
Today, the duo regales audiences with hilarious tales of twin shenanigans and continues to play a prank or two. Their nearly identical appearances and similar senses of style feed the fun and receive double takes from passersby. “I love the attention – the shocked, surprised, or even puzzled looks we get from people when they see us for the first time,” says Christian.
The brothers are teammates in a more literal sense as they root for the Chattanooga Preparatory School Sentinels as members of the school’s staff. A physical education teacher and the head basketball coach, Christoffer succeeded in persuading Christian to join him. “I actually got him out of nursing to come and help me build my basketball program at Chattanooga Prep,” says Christoffer.
For Christian, the decision to join his brother made sense. “I started off wanting to become a teacher. My mom, dad, and uncle were all educators … seeing the impact they all have made on the individual lives they’ve encountered led me to accept a position at Chattanooga Prep as a P.E. educator and coach,” explains Christian.
Christian shares that he and Christoffer both “have an undying passion for the sport of basketball, especially when it comes to playing the game, teaching and coaching, and most importantly, changing the lives and having a positive impact on the young men we’re surrounded by each day.”
“I’m very blessed to have an identical sibling,” says Christoffer. Considering what he enjoys most about working alongside Christian, he concludes, “Feeding off each other’s positive energy. Two is always better than one.”