After meeting as freshman at Tulane University, Mikayla Stern-Ellis and Emily Nappi joked about being sisters. Even though they looked a lot alike -- brown wavy hair, similar noses, same build -- they didn’t think they could actually be related.
Their similarities didn’t stop at their looks: Both were placed in the same dorm and got parts in Tulane’s production of “The Vagina Monologues.” Both came to New Orleans from California: Stern-Ellis hails from San Diego and Nappi from San Francisco. Each girl even bought the same sweater on Black Friday without the other knowing.
Still, they didn’t think much of these subtle parallels. “We’ve been telling people, ‘Oh, there’s a 25% chance we’re sisters,’” Nappi joked with the Tulane Hullabaloo.
The girls first met while looking for roommates on the university’s website. They didn’t end up rooming together (Nappi had already gotten a roommate), but befriended each other on Facebook.
On Father’s Day, Stern-Ellis’ Facebook status said, “Thank you, Colombian sperm donor, for one of my X chromosomes,” according to the Advocate. Nappi thought that was a little odd, since she, too, had a Colombian sperm-donor dad.
During winter break, Stern-Ellis told her parents, Heidi and Debra, about this coincidence and showed them Nappi’s photo. Debra Stern-Ellis encouraged her daughter to ask Nappi for her dad’s donor number.
“We remember going through the donor list, and there [were] probably about 1,000 donors,” Debra Stern-Ellis told the Tulane Hullabaloo. “We don’t really remember any [other] Colombian donors,” she said.
As you may have guessed by now, the donor number for Stern-Ellis and Nappi’s dad turned out to be the same.
That’s when Nappi got a text from Stern-Ellis saying, “YOU ARE MY SISTER,” according to the Advocate.
“It’s the most exciting thing that’s happened in my life,” Nappi told the Advocate. “Me too,” Stern-Ellis said.
Now back on campus, the girls are spending a lot of time together and getting to know each other offline. “We have a lot of catching up to do,” Nappi said.
“We thought she’d just find an education, but she found a sister,” Debra Stern-Ellis told the Tulane Hullabaloo.