Parkersburg mom says daughter ‘a mini me’

Photo provided to Parkersburg News and Sentinel  Photo Provided From left, Mary Jo Pedersen and her daughter, Brittany D’Allesio of Huntington, are the 2016 winners of the The News and Sentinel Mother Child Lookalike Contest.
Photo provided to Parkersburg News and Sentinel
From left, Mary Jo Pedersen and her daughter, Brittany D’Allesio of Huntington, are the 2016 winners of the The News and Sentinel Mother Child Lookalike Contest.

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — A Parkersburg woman and her daughter were named the 2016 winners of The News and Sentinel Mother Child Lookalike Contest.

First place went to Mary Jo Pedersen of Parkersburg and her daughter Brittany D’Allesio of Huntington.

“It’s quite a compliment,” Pedersen said.


Second place winners are Christina Franks of Fleming and her daughter, Ellen Gill, 16. Third place went to Patti Barrett, 55, and her daughter, Michelle McKinney, 29, of Washington, W.Va.

Pedersen said she and her daughter not only look alike, they have the same mannerisms and body movements, including hand gestures. It’s probably carried by the genes they share, Pedersen said.

“She’s kind of like a little ‘mini me,'” Pedersen said.

D’Allesio is graduating from Marshall University today, Mother’s Day, with a degree in management and a minor in entrepreneurship and marketing. She hopes to someday own her own business.

“That will be my Mother’s Day present, that I graduated from college,” D’Allesio said.

Pedersen and her husband, Chris, have three daughters and stepdaughters, Lauren, Grace and Brittany. Pedersen said strangers at the mall often say she and her daughter look alike. Sometimes her daughter will say they are sisters.

“Sometimes she’ll say ‘No that’s my mom,'” Pedersen said.

The resemblance is uncanny, “creepy,” too, D’Allesio said. They both have freckles on an arm in the same place and the same pattern, she said. Mannersisms are also the same, D’Allesio said. Sometimes when sitting at a table, they will both shuffle their feet, she said.

“Everybody tells us we’re exactly alike,” she said.

This is the second year of the Mother’s Day contest. Last year’s winners were Daisy Bennett of Ripley and her daughters Gina Guffey of Leonardtown, Md., and Amy Phipps of Burns, Tenn.

Franks said she gets a lot of comments she and her daughter look alike.

“I enjoy it more,” Franks said. “I don’t think she enjoys it.”

She and her husband, Jason, have five children, four daughters and a son. The son, Ashton, 14, resembles dad, Franks said.

But of the girls, Ellen looks the most like mom.

“Ellen definitely takes the cake,” Franks said.

Barrett said she and her daughter have always looked alike.

“I looked like my mother, and she (Michelle) looks like me,” Barrett said. “It’s like we’re continuing the legacy.”

Barrett and her husband, Larry “Pete” Barrett, have three daughters, Michelle, the oldest at 29, Nicole Taylor, 24, and Shannon Barrett, 24. Nicole looks the most like her father, Barrett said.

Michelle works at Public Debt where people see her in the hallway and are astounded at the resemblance.

“They say ‘You’ve got to be Patti’s daughter,'” Barrett said.

McKinney recalled an incident at West Virginia University at Parkersburg where the professor was a high school classmate of her mother’s.

“The professor said ‘you’re Patti’s daughter, aren’t you,'” McKinney said.

While the resemblance became more evident the older she got, McKinney said she had always looked like her mother.

“It’s been that way since I can remember,” McKinney said.

It’s a compliment, Barrett said. Years ago, when Michelle was on the Parkersburg South High School crew team, her daughter needed something for a match and she rushed to the bus to get it to her. A coach saw her and told her she should have been on the bus and ready to go, getting her confused with Michelle.

“We have a lot of fun with it,” Barrett said.

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