From 1994 until 1997, identical-ish twin sisters Brittany and Cynthia Daniel starred in the TV version of Sweet Valley High, based on the wildly popular book series first published in 1984 by Francine Pascal. The Daniel sisters played Jessica (Brittany) and Elizabeth (Cynthia) Wakefield, teens who lived lives of intrigue and romance (sometimes they did homework) for four seasons before the show folded and the sisters moved onto other projects, both personal and professional.
What are these two up to now, together and separately, 20 years after Sweet Valley faded into the distance? Here’s your update.
Brittany’s still acting
At 16, Brittany’s first big acting job was on the teen drama Swans Crossing (with Sarah Michelle Gellar), before she joined her sister on SVH. The popularity of the show earned both sisters a Young Artist Award in 1995 for playing the Wakefields. After Brittany graduated from Sweet Valley, the Florida native’s next role of significance was in 1999, playing Eve Whitman, Jen Lindley’s (Michelle Williams) half-sister, who was mysteriously attracted to Dawson, for 4 episodes in Season 3 of Dawson’s Creek.
She starred in That 80’s Show, Joe Dirt, Joe Dirt 2, White Chicks, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and BET’s The Game, where she began as a recurring character (Kelly Pitts) in Season 7, and was upped to series regular in Season 8. In 2007, Brittney won Best Actress at the New York International Independent Film and Video Awards for her role in Last of the Romantics. Her most recent role, as of 2016, is on ABC’s Black-ish.
Cynthia’s retired from acting
While her twin continued to work after Sweet Valley High was cancelled, Cynthia put the kibosh on her own acting career (her last role was in 2002, on That 80s Show) and assumed a different role behind the camera. She’s now a professional photographer, with her own studio, Five Arrows Photography.
Not surprisingly, Cynthia doesn’t cite her former life on the site, but she does mention that she’s a Pisces and a “sun chaser,” who’s up for photographing anything. Currently, she’s focusing on family shots, babies, pregnancy, and celebrities, including Gossip Girl actress Kelly Rutherford.
After being linked to actor Joshua Jackson and dating her White Chicks co-star Keenan Ivory Wayans (although, not while they were working together), Brittany got engaged to real estate broker and lawyer Adam Touni on Christmas Day 2016.
Touni proposed while the two were on a hike overlooking San Francisco Bay. Cynthia helped design her sister’s engagement ring with family friend Jeanette Blacy of Blacy’s Fine Jewelers. Brittany told E! that health issues in her recent past make the engagement extra special. “Finding love after surviving such a serious health crisis makes me feel such gratitude for finding a true partner and makes me believe that anything is possible,” she said.
Brittany’s a cancer survivor
In 2011, when Brittany was 36, she was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The actress took a break from her work on The Game (she returned in 2014), and turned herself over to the care of her family and doctors, moving into Cynthia’s guesthouse to focus on getting well.
She’s now in remission, and has spoken openly about the depression that came with her physical recovery, as well as the difficulty in departing from The Game without revealing what was going on. “It was hard for me to go, ‘Ya’ll I’m sick,'” she told Sway in the Morning in 2014. “It was something that I needed to handle privately but I wanted to be able to tell my fans, ‘It’s not that I don’t love ya’ll’.”
Since she’s been cancer-free, Brittany has devoted herself to working on behalf of cancer charities, not just for herself and other survivors, but for her late father, who died of lung cancer in 2009, four years before she was diagnosed. In her role as an ambassador for Stand Up to Cancer, she wrote about her father’s, and her own cancer journey in a blog post for Medium, and also participated in this year’s Cycle for Survival.
Cynthia’s married with children
Cynthia (who now goes by Cynthia Hauser) and husband, actor Cole Hauser, had been together for a long time, when they married in December 2006. They now have three children: Ryland, Steely Rose, and Colt.
While Cynthia isn’t acting anymore, she definitely still has famous mom pals. While pregnant with her second child in 2008, she went to the gym with model Camila Alves, who was then pregnant with her first child with actor Matthew McConaughey. Recently, Alves tweeted about Hauser’s photoshoot with Momazine.
They’re lifestyle branding
The sisters launched a website for a project called “The Sweet Life,” coming in 2017. And in the meantime, they’re posting on their Facebook page about the benefits of using crystals, crafting with feathers, and other DIY projects involving trendy items like denim and succulents.
On the twins’ joint Instagram, you can find even more evidence of their ridiculously photogenic twinning, including at least a dozen videos of the twins cooking everything together from a chicken in the slow cooker to wraps to an unnamed comfort food that seems to involve chocolate. The entire recipe isn’t shown on Instagram, but the number of videos and the camera crew (which includes Cynthia’s kids) in her kitchen would indicate that they’re definitely parlaying their love of food into something big – perhaps it’s the launch of The Sweet Life?
They might be into an SVH reboot
Random House has updated the look of the Sweet Valley series for a new generation (it used to look like this, and now it looks like this), and that’s not all that might get an update. In 2015, Brittany told Entertainment Weekly that she and her sister were slated to have a conversation with the book’s creator, Francine Pascal and “we’re definitely interested in doing a reboot.”
Although nothing’s been mentioned about it since, Juno director Diablo Cody, a superfan of the series, began working on a movie version of the book series with Pascal in 2009. “Sweet Valley High is fantastic, fabulous, a little bit campy, and — dare I say it — cinematic.” If you want to know Pascal’s version of what Jessica and Elizabeth have been up to, pick up Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later, which documents the Wakefield’s adventures when they’re 27. There’s also a series of ebooks, called The Sweet Life, that picks up where Confidential leaves off.
They’re super into health and wellness
In addition to all the Pinterest-worthy recipes and adventures these two share, they’re also dedicated to a next level pursuit of health and wellness. And it’s no wonder, given Brittany’s health issues, and all that living in the spotlight.
On their Instagram, the twins take the hashtag #workoutwednesday very seriously. They love yoga, and emphasize positive thinking and a work-life balance. Cynthia posted about her recent cleanse, advising fans to make sure to do it with someone who will support you in order to stay on track. The two have also worked with holistic nutritionist and cleanse expert Elissa Goodman, a cancer survivor whose book, Cancer Hacks, is full of advice on holistic and natural advice for coping with the disease.
They’re serious about travel
In 2016, the sisters documented their enviable adventures traveling the world together, on Instagram, with the hashtag #thetwintravelers. They also launched Instagram account, @thetwintravelersexperience, which features shots of the twins’ travels in Mexico, where they learned to surf, as well as wine tasting in Tuscany.
So will we see these two beauties in a Sweet Valley High reboot? Would Cynthia return to acting to reunite with her twin on screen? There’s no telling where these twins could pop up — if not SVH, perhaps the Food Network, or the Travel Channel.
It seems likely that they’ll continue to build their Instagram empire. Brittany and her fiancé, Adam Touni, have talked about starting their own family soon (inevitably Instagrammable children) and of course, there’s the joint venture that is The Sweet Life, which will hopefully manifest soon, revealing to us exactly what it takes to keep these two looking perpetually sixteen.