When Cher Hubsher was younger, she’d play hooky with her best friend, who just so happens to also be her mother. "Girls days" involved matching outfits, manicures, afternoon tea, shopping trips and the added thrill of keeping it all a hidden from dad.
"It was our little secret. Our little special alone time," Cher, 28, says.
Cher and Dawn Hubsher were inseparable, and they’ve been that way ever since. The New Yorkers who share a unique bond appear in TLC’s newest reality series, "sMOTHERED," which looks at the closer-than-average relationship between moms and daughters.
While some pairs featured bend personal boundaries (one duo shares used bath water), Cher and Dawn simply consider themselves each other’s closest companion. That’s a fact that’s sure to cause some reality TV-worthy bumps in newly married Cher’s honeymoon period with husband, Jared Gopman.
"My mom and I are just extremely close," says Cher, sitting in the living room of the Upper East Side apartment where she lives with her husband and dog, Bear. "I feel truly blessed.
Welcoming our camera crew into her home, Cher and her mom are still glamming up — full hair and makeup squad hard at work. They emerge in near-matching outfits: both pair green dresses with flowing ruffle fronts and nude heels. If not for Cher’s pregnancy, their dress choices would be identical.
"I would always want to dress like my mom, most people wouldn’t. I always wanted a big sister and I didn’t have one. My mom was my mom, my best friend, my sister," Cher explains.
"I wear many hats," Dawn, 59, chimes in with a smile, her arm lovingly around Cher.
Their twin-like lifestyle began exactly 28 years ago when Dawn gave birth to "her little doll." Ecstatic to raise a girl after having two sons, she immediately started dressing Cher up in outfits that just so happened to match her own.
"It was nice to have a little me. And to top it off, we even looked alike!"
What started with buying similar outfits quickly evolved into Dawn paying for custom-made ensembles. A tie-dye outfit, overall dresses, one bigger, one smaller.
"People usually remember my mom and me," Cher says.
But Cher doesn’t only dress like her mother, she looks and acts like her too. Posing for photos on the couch, they prop up their legs in unison and, with twin-like telepathy, complete each other’s sentences in tandem.
Cher explains, "we’re very open people. We are who we are. You might love us, you might hate us but …"
Dawn jumps in as they both say, "this is us."
Admitting their relationship is far from ordinary, Dawn says she’s never been one to entertain mom shamers who may have opposed her parenting style. Since there’s no "guide book" for parenting, there’s no right and wrong way to be a mom, she says. And, this is hers.
Cher recalls always wanting to spend more time with her mother growing up than with children her age and says they’ve never gone more than a few hours without speaking. They recall vacations they spent together, special photo shoots they arranged and other insider memories.
"I made her grow up maybe a little earlier than a girl would grow up because I would talk to her about everything," she says in the series. "Maybe that’s why I named her Cher, to share my intimate things with her!"
Together, Cher and Dawn recently published a relationship guide book titled, "A Bond That Lasts Forever."
The part of that bond that dips into tricky territory when it comes to Cher’s adult life stems deeper than matching outfits, haircuts, makeup and secret tea parties. They insist no secrets are kept from each other, which at times arguably makes Dawn the third member in her daughter’s marriage.
Both of them married Jewish doctors at a young age, and they blush while admitting they have similar taste in clothes, food, movies — and men.
"It was definitely overwhelming at first to deal with Cher and Dawn together," says Jared, a plastic surgeon in NYC. "Because when they’re together, especially in the beginning, I’d feel like I was the third wheel."
With Dawn currently living hours away from her daughter in Florida, and a new baby on the way, space has forced their dynamic to change. The series follows Cher keeping her pregnancy from her mother a secret (for five minutes, literally) at Jared’s request.
The next hurdle: ironing out boundaries as Cher becomes a mom for the first time.
"We’ve had our bad times too, the ups and downs like any mother and daughter but it’s how you get through those that make you stronger," Cher says.
The series will follow how they manage to wiggle Dawn into the most private of moments in Cher and Jared’s life
"Soon, I’m going to be a mom too and I only hope I can be as good a mom to my child as my mom has been to me," she says.
New episodes of "sMOTHERED" air Sundays at 10 p.m. on TLC.