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Julie and Sophie Baker performed with Chicago's CircEsteem, before coming to Normal to be in the Gamma Phi Circus.

Identical twins Julia and Sophie Baker are excited to perform in the Gammi Phi Circus, America’s oldest collegiate circus, at Illinois State University. One of the main reasons Julia and Sophie chose to attend Illinois State is because of its circus.

“My experience with circus was really great!” Circus Twin S. Baker said.

Inspired by their cousin, the twins started taking classes at CircEsteem, a youth social circus in Chicago, at the age of 7 years old. For nearly a decade, CircEsteem was a huge part of their life growing up.

“We were being homeschooled at the time and didn’t have a lot of friends, mostly because we were very very shy. We were too shy to really talk to people other than our family. Joining CircEsteem was really the best thing that could’ve happened to us at the time because it sort of forced us out of our comfort zones but did so in a really supportive and accepting way. It really helped us to come out of our shells and gain confidence,” the Bakers said.

CircEsteem has been their favorite thing to participate in ever since. They do a lot of different stunts in the circus. They really enjoy juggling, acrobatics, aerials, and clowning, but their main act together is double trapeze.

“We both decided to continue doing circus in college because it’s been our favorite thing to do since we were little. I can’t imagine not doing it,” the Baker twins said.

Some of their friends go to ISU as well and perform in Gamma Phi Circus. They are super excited that they can continue pursuing circus in college, especially with their friends that are on the team.

“Our coach at CircEsteem, Cornell Freeney, also graduated from Illinois State and was in Gamma Phi, he sort of connected us with the Gammi Phi Circus,” the Bakers said. The CircEsteem coach has brought high schoolers to visit the campus at ISU and watch a Gamma Phi Circus show as well.

Aside from circus, Julia will be majoring in psychology and Sophie will be majoring in social work. They are just beginning their undergraduate education, but they also plan to eventually attend graduate school. The twins would like circus to remain a part of their life after graduation. They are not quite sure how yet, but they are positive that they want to continue their involvement with circus in some way.

They are extremely excited to see what Illinois State University has to offer not just with circus but other organizations as well. They plan to try and get involved as much as they can while also focusing on getting their degree. “Circus is pretty much our main focus, but we are both open to seeing what else interests us on campus,” the Bakers said.

Julia and Sophie are staying home in Chicago for the first semester of college but cannot wait to get involved with Gamma Phi when it is possible.

CHELSEA CORA is a News Reporter for The Vidette. She can be contacted at crcora@ilstu.edu. Follow her on Twitter at | @cora_chelsea


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