A new six-episode series that prominently features Woodstock and its surrounding communities premieres February 16 at 9 p.m. on the Design Network. The Chin Twins, airing Wednesdays, features identical twins and high-fashion models Kimberly Hise and Cristen Barker as they share DIY beauty tips, visit local artisans and show what goes behind a good meal.
The twins were born in Alabama and lived in Europe through the 1990s, doing runway modeling and print advertising. That soon brought them to New York City, where they lived for several decades. Kimberly moved back to Alabama, but came up to shoot the show.
“The series was filmed entirely in Woodstock, which makes it very unique. I’ve lived up here for around seven to eight years now, and my sister and I have an Instagram account called The Chin Twins, which we started several years ago, which is mainly yoga, health, kind of lifestyle, Instagram feed,” said Barker. “My husband, Nigel Barker shoots all the content. He’s a photographer, so we’ve been doing this account for years, and it’s grown. We have close to 100,000 followers.”
Because of their Instagram influence, the Design Network came to them with the opportunity to do a cooking show. “So my sister and I developed this series called The Chin Twins to kind of be a cooking show, but be more than that,” Barker said. “We have woven in a lot of nutrition, a lot of how to not only have healthy food, but to have a healthy lifestyle. We infuse a lot of yoga and yogic principles into it…So each episode has a lesson behind it, or attached to a chakra, how to connect with your roots, how to be creative, how to connect with your family, and how to be balanced. So it has a really nice message woven throughout the series, and then each episode, we visit a local venue here in Woodstock.”
Featured are restaurants, the Harana Asian market, Tinker Taco Lab and Opus 40 to name a few places. The twins interview the owners, who share their story and their connection to and passion for food.
Barker, who has children in the Onteora school district, decided to have the series filmed in and around Woodstock and the cooking scenes filmed in her kitchen. “We love it here. We can highlight local businesses and share with America how amazing the Hudson Valley is,” she said.
Her husband, Nigel, is known for having worked on a show called America’s Next Top Model. The network has another show called Celebrity Homes Unlocked. They visited their home and that is how the idea for the series was born. “…when they came back with this for the whole series, that was really special and unique opportunity,” she said. “My sister and I were both home. Due to the pandemic, we haven’t seen as much of each other as we normally do. We’re always doing Facetimes and cooking together virtually so cooking has kind of taken main stage in our lives,” Barker said.
“We really wanted to show how everyone can transform during the pandemic. And I think a lot of people have additional anxiety or stress and now we’re working from home and we wanted to really show people how you can stay connected, to be healthy and balanced, to everyday mundane activities, and still making it an enriching experience,” she added. “With each dish that we prepare, we pick one ingredient and make a DIY beauty treatment out of it. So for example, the first episode is about rooting oneself and connecting. So we cook our grandmother’s Chinese dumplings, which is a recipe that’s been passed down through the generations,” Barker said. “And that’s when we take the viewers into the Harana Market and we meet the purveyors there. They prepare us some of their famous dishes and talk about their stories and connections to their grandparents…Then we take the ingredients home. Kimmy and I mix up a dish and then we also prepare this amazing ginger and lemon foot bath with one of the ingredients from the dumplings. So we’re trying to teach people how you don’t have to buy expensive products. You could make it in your home.”
Each episode also features stretches and breathing techniques and activities to help one stay grounded and rooted.
“There’s a lot of philosophy behind each episode as well,” she said. “Then we went to the amazing Tinker Taco Lab and the owner there showed us how he grinds the corn and makes fresh tortillas and then we went to a vintage store and went shopping and bought some fun party dresses,” Barker said. “So that whole episode is about weaving creativity into your when you entertain and how that can enrich your life.”
The Design Network is a streaming channel available on Apple TV, Roku, YouTube, Pluto, Xumo and Sling.
The trailer can be viewed at https://thedesignnetwork.vhx.tv/videos/the-chin-twins-coming-february-16.