Michelle, who's an avid reader of the Pleasanton Weekly, said it was her idea to enter the contest.
"I did enter two or three years ago, but we never won," she recalled. "Last year I missed the deadline so this year I wanted to make sure to enter."
They already had the perfect photo, which was taken a few months ago at an outdoor restaurant in San Jose.
"My mom is always asking strangers to take our picture," Michelle explained. "It's a little embarrassing."
Alejandra said the resemblance grew between her and her daughters as they became older.
"Sometimes we get accused of being sisters," she said with a laugh. "When my older one when to Cal Poly, it was really comical -- a teacher thought I was another student."
Both daughters went to Foothill High. Natasha now works at the Child Day School in San Ramon. Michelle is attending Las Positas College with an eye toward UC Davis.
Alejandra, who was named after her mother and grandmother, said that she somewhat resembles her own mother, mainly because they are both 5 feet 1 inch tall. But she resembles her daughters way more.
"Everyone always said I look close to my mother, the same shape and same hair," Michelle said. "My sister and I do look a lot alike -- everyone thinks we look like twins."
Except Michelle is 5 feet 3 inches, and Natasha is 5 feet 5, after dad Victor Ahaev added his height to the gene pool.
"Our dad is like 6 feet 3," Michelle said.
The family moved to Pleasanton 22 years ago, when Victor was transferred from Southern California. Now they own Merry Maids franchises along the 580 corridor and in Stockton.
Alejandra watched her mother raise seven children on her own. And she said she has thoroughly enjoyed raising her two. She has these words of advice: "At every age, continue to love your children all their lives and support them unconditionally."
Second place in the lookalike contest, with 268 votes, goes to Brenda Black and her daughter Rachel.
"We heard about the contest for years and years, and people told us to enter it," Brenda said. "Finally this year we were on the ball and got it in on time."
Rachel, 15, attends Amador Valley High School.
"We were going to a lacrosse game at Amador and my friend saw us walking and said, 'I couldn't tell which one is you,'" Brenda said. "Rachel is exactly my height and has my mannerisms."
"Not only do we look alike and have the same mannerisms but we also sound so much alike that my husband can't tell us apart on the phone," she added. "Makes us laugh."
Younger daughter Lauren, 11, looks more like her dad, Scott, she noted.
Thank you to all the moms and daughters who entered this year's contest: You all look like winners to us! The Weekly staff had such fun going over all the photos and deciding on the eight finalists, which were posted online for the public to cast their votes.
The first-place winners will receive a $100 gift certificate to Strizzi's restaurant; the second-place prize is two tickets to the Vine Cinema.
This story contains 574 words.
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