|Born||14 May 1958|
Huntly, New Zealand
|Genres||Comedy, country, folk, yodeling|
|Website||The Topp Twins Official Website|
|Members||Dame Julie Bethridge Topp|
Dame Lynda Bethridge Topp
The Topp Twins (born 14 May 1958)are the folk singing and activist sister comedy duo of New Zealand entertainers Jools and Lynda Topp. They are known for their country music influenced style, live shows and television performances. They often perform as characters, the most notable being the roles Ken & Ken, and Camp Mother & Camp Leader.
The Topp Twins have performed as a country music-singing comedy duo since the 1970s. They started singing together and performing when they were children. Busking in Auckland on Queen Street in the 1980s was formative to their dynamic as entertainers with a regular Friday night appearance.They were singing political songs of protest, about for example Māori land rights at Bastion Point and Nuclear Free New Zealand. They have been openly lesbian since the 1970s and were advocates for homosexual law reform.
The Topp Twins developed characters for the banter and audience interaction around their music. As Jools said: "We made ourselves look ridiculous ... we asked them to laugh at us, not to laugh at someone else's misfortune."In 2019 arts centre Expressions in Upper Hutt hosted an exhibition on the Topp Twins created by Te Manawa Museum in Palmerston North. Expressions director Leanne Wickham describes the appeal of the Topp Twins:
"They are able to draw people into their music and talk about the issues that are important to us using humour – whether it is Bastion Pt, the Springbok Tour or climate change."
In the late 1990s, they created their own TV series Do Not Adjust Your Twinset, which ran for three seasons and showcased their iconic cast of New Zealand characters, including Camp Mother & Camp Leader, the Bowling Ladies and Ken & Ken, roles for which they cross-dressed as 'typical kiwi blokes'.The series won the twins several awards at the New Zealand Film and Television Awards and screened on the ABC and Foxtel networks in Australia. They have appeared on numerous specials and as guests. A cooking show called Topp Country ran over three seasons from 2014 to 2016.
A documentary feature film about the sisters titled The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls , directed by Leanne Pooley, was released in April 2009. It broke all previous records for opening day, and opening weekend, for a New Zealand documentary. After just four weeks at the box office, it made over $1 million. As of 2011, it has made over $1.82 million in worldwide box office sales.The movie was produced by Arani Cuthbert. The cinematographer was Leon Narbey. It was well received and has been shown at numerous film festivals worldwide, winning awards at the Toronto International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Göteborg International Film Festival, Portland International Film Festival and the 2009 New Zealand Film and Television Awards.
Untouchable Girls is the title of a well-known song by the Topp Twins, about standing up for what you believe in.
Both Jools and Lynda are openly lesbian.In March 2013, Lynda married her long-time partner Donna Luxton, a preschool teacher. At the time of their marriage, same-sex marriage was not legal in New Zealand, so the couple entered into a civil union as a substitute for marriage. Same-sex marriage was made legal in New Zealand just a few months after the wedding.
Before the third reading of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, which ultimately passed and legalised same-sex marriage in New Zealand, the Topp Twins publicly endorsed the bill in a post on their website.In a statement, Lynda said, "Everybody should be able to stand up and say 'I'm getting married'. A Civil Union is demeaning, this idea that you will never be good enough, that your love is somehow less than or not as worthy. There's no romance to it. And today, I feel more romantic and more in love than I've ever felt in my life."
In 2006 Jools was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent treatment including mastectomy. From this experience the sisters incorporated Jool's personal story of treatment and recovery into a Topp Twins stage show that toured New Zealand including raising funds for the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.She and her sister Lynda were already breast cancer activists and continue to use their celebrity status to educate the public about the disease.
In 1984 the Topp Twins were named NZOA Group of the Year.[ citation needed ] The sisters were made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in 2004.
They were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards in Auckland in September 2008.This award was given as a lifetime achievement award for songwriting, and the fact that their songs and music have influenced New Zealand culture during their careers which span more than 25 years.
They were presented with the Rielly Comedy Award from the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand in 2009.
In 2010 Wintec awarded the twins honorary masters degrees. In 2011, Waikato University awarded them honorary doctorates.
2010 Qantas Film and Television Awards – Best Entertainment Programme: The Topp Twins and The APO
2017 New Zealand Television Awards – Best Presenter – Entertainment (shared between Lynda and Jools Topp): for Topp Country, season two.
In the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours, both Lynda and Jools Topp were appointed Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to entertainment.
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Dame Julie Bethridge Topp, known as Jools Topp, is one half of the Topp Twins, a music comedy duo from New Zealand; the other member is her twin sister Lynda Topp. Jools Topp has been singing and entertaining with her sister for decades, touring live music and comedy performances as well as performing in TV and film. The sisters were both appointed Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours.
Dame Lynda Bethridge Topp, is one half of the Topp Twins, a music comedy duo of New Zealand, the other member being her twin sister Jools Topp. Lynda Topp has been singing and entertaining with her sister for decades, touring live music and comedy performances as well as TV and film. Both sisters were appointed Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours.
Audience Award – Best Feature Film ... Winner 2010: The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls
Last year Jools and Lynda Topp were honoured with honorary masters' degrees from Wintec, and yesterday they were back on the Founders Theatre stage accepting honorary doctorates from Waikato University.