Page last updated at 08:38 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 09:38 UK

'I just wanted to look like her'

By Rowan Bridge
BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire show


Janet Cunliffe on why she decided to change her image

Walking through Burnley town centre with Janet and Jane Cunliffe, you immediately notice the number of people staring at them as they walk past.

In their white jeans (size six), matching tops, peroxide blonde hair and rather heavy make-up, they appear somewhat out of place among the lunchtime crowd in the former Lancashire mill-town.

At one point, one of the people walking past sniggers once they're behind us.

"Yes, we get a bit of that," Jane, who's 29, says.

Janet, it's fair to say, doesn't look - or dress - like your average 50-year-old.

"People think we must be sisters, or related in some way, but they'd never believe we were mother and daughter," she says.

'Like my sister'

But her ability to fool people about her age hasn't come cheap. Janet reckons she's spent £12,000 on surgical enhancement.

"I was a 34A/B and now I'm 34DD. I had my upper eyes lifted and lower eyes, I had my nose reshaped and my lips filled with filler.

"I decided to do it because I was feeling low at the time, I'd just come out of a long-term relationship, so just to boost my confidence.

She looks like my sister and I'm happy for her
Jane Cunliffe, daughter

"My daughter inspired me at the time, so I just wanted to look like her and to make me feel a lot more youthful and to give me some confidence."

Jane's initial reaction was perhaps not surprising.

"I went mad. It were the dangers I was scared of for her. I didn't want her to change her looks, but she's happy now. I'm proud of her that she's feeling more confident in herself.

"She looks like my sister and I'm happy for her."

The two of them shop for clothes together. and will often find themselves wearing matching or complementary outfits when they go out together.

As they rifle through their wardrobe of clothes Janet pulls out one of their dresses to show me.

"There is a purple dress here that we bought in America that we both liked and we both wear it. It's a nice clingy dress and I think it looks great on both of us.

"We always get compliments when we go out when one of us has got it on."

'Just a buzz'

Both of them clearly enjoy the attention.

"Oh, it's amazing the reaction that we get, everyone stares. They can't believe she's my mother. They think she's my sister and it's just a buzz." says Jane.

Jane and Janet Cunliffe
Jane Cunlifffe, left, with her mother Janet

Walking alongside them through Burnley town centre it is easy to see what she means.

You notice everyone we walk past casts their eyes over the two of them. I stop a few people and ask them to guess how old they think the ladies are.

"Forty-nine, 50 - and I'd say about 22," says the first man I stop.

Jane looks far happier with our mystery shopper than her mum does.

"She's 42, and 24," guesses the second person.

"Janet about 40 and Jane, 23. Do they look their real age? No," says a female passer-by.

What do you make of the way they're dressed though?

"Well," says the woman diplomatically, "It's not my style obviously, but yeah, fine, it's great, nothing wrong with it."

The Victoria Derbyshire show is on every weekday between 10am and 1pm on BBC Radio 5 Live.

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