QUINCY -- For years, Melanie and Mikaela Lilly have heard that they look alike.
Now they've got some official validation.
Melanie and Mikaela are winners of the 2018 Herald-Whig Mother & Daughter Look-Alike Contest, presented by the Quincy Mall. People who voted on paper ballots or online said Melanie and her daughter were their choice in the contest.
"I was surprised," Melanie said. "We'd been told we look alike ever since Mikaela was super-young. They told us we should enter our picture in the contest."
For the 46-year-old Melanie, it's also great to hear that she and her 19-year-old daughter are carbon copies of each other.
"We have the same laugh and the same expressions," Melanie said.
Mikaela added that the pair even have the same birthmark in the same spot. And they both love the beaches they've visited together, usually in Florida.
But Melanie said the pair can't swap most of their clothing because Mikaela is "tiny," so their fashion exchanges usually involve just accessories.
There are some ways the pair differ. Melanie said she worries about what people think, while her daughter is "slightly more outspoken" and not a people-pleaser.
"I am a person who goes with the flow. I don't really care if you like me or if you don't like me," she said.
But that doesn't mean she doesn't want to help those around her. Mikaela is in her first year of training for a bachelor of science in nursing through a John Wood Community College program. She wants to become a registered nurse.
Mikaela hasn't decided whether she'll try to work in this area or move elsewhere. Melanie, who has worked at Niemann Foods support center for 19 years, hopes she can influence her daughter's decision and keep her close to Quincy.
"Mikaela is my best friend," Melanie said.
"We do so many things together. We get pedicures, go shopping or watch our favorite television shows."
Those viewing habits include "The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette," "Chrisley Knows Best" and other reality shows.
Their taste in food differs at times. Mikaela admits that she's "an extremely picky person" when it comes to food. But they both love the same Mexican dishes and usually eat at a Mexican restaurant once a week.
Son and brother Jackson Lilly, 14, dines with his mother and sister at times. At 6 feet 1 inch, Jackson looks older than he is.
"Sometimes (at restaurants) they think we're dating," Mikaela said. "They give him the check like he's going to pay, and he tosses it to me and says, 'Here you go, sis,' " Mikaela said.
Mikaela said she and her brother sometimes bicker, but they love each other.
Melanie said winning the contest just before Mother's Day was a bonus.
"It's an added benefit to have a daughter that looks like you," she said.
As for Mikaela, the thought about what to do for Mother's Day seemed to catch her off guard. She said she might take her mom out to eat -- maybe at a place that serves Mexican food.
The mother-daughter duo won a prize package from contest sponsors. In addition to The Herald-Whig and Quincy Mall, sponsors were the Yum Factory, Destination Travel and York Street Thrift Shop.
Second-place winners in the contest were Beth and Molly Pickens. Third-place winners were Evonne and Elissa Keppner.