From identical twins to volleyball stars

Audrey and Nicole Nourse speak with their coach.
Seniors Audrey and Nicole Nourse were named members of the Pac-12 All-Conference Second Team and the NCAA All-Tournament team last season. (Colin Huang)

Audrey and Nicole Nourse have an uncanny knack for teamwork and communication. 

Except, it’s not just a strong friendship between teammates. The two USC senior elite beach volleyball players are identical twins, and that relationship has fostered an even more profound connection.

Their relationship was obvious when interviewing them. They took turns answering questions and passed off answers to one another as seamlessly as they pass a volleyball back and forth.   

Their unparalleled closeness was obvious to Reed Martin as well. Martin, a junior majoring in film and television production, was making content for the Athletic Department at a USC women’s beach volleyball match in 2020 when the Nourse twins caught his eye. 

“All of a sudden, I get fixated on a court next to me because I’m like, ‘These two girls look like they’re twins,’” Martin said. “There’s very few [times in sports] where there’s a pair of twins like this that are the entire team basically, they are their own team, no one else is out there. So I just thought that was really interesting.” 

As a filmmaker, Martin was immediately fascinated by the idea of doing a documentary on their unique bond as twins and  teammates. 

So he began assembling a team of USC students, including Max Stafford, a producer and senior majoring in cinema and media studies. Stafford, who frequently collaborates with Martin on films that Martin directs, was also immediately fascinated by the bond that the twins shared. 

“I’ve always thought of twins [as] so similar that it must be hard to actually be friends with one another, but with Audrey and Nicole, their friendship defines a lot of their athletic success,” Stafford said. 

Fortunately for Martin, Stafford and their team, the twins were equally interested in the documentary. 

“It was a great opportunity for us to really share our story because we do have somewhat of a large following on social media, but not everyone really knows what we’re about,” Nicole said. “It was really fun to give our audience a different side of ourselves that maybe they didn’t know about.” 

It also gave them an avenue to pursue partnerships with companies looking for collaborations with college athletes. 

“We’re also right now trying to build our brand and trying to profit off [of] our [Name, Image, and Likeness], and [the documentary] is just a great tool to use,” Audrey said.

And, just as Martin was initially awestruck by the twins’ volleyball skill, they greatly appreciated his film expertise. 

“When [Martin] had reached out to us originally, he had shown us some of his previous work … he’s really good at what he does,” Audrey said. 

The partnership between well-regarded sports documentarians and a great sports story worked well immediately, and “Nourse Twins: Beach Sisters” was born. 

“Nourse Twins: Beach Sisters” satisfies the same kind of fans of the hit Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance.” The intriguing premise, explosive highlights from the twins’ playing career, behind-the-scenes look at their lives and in-depth interviews blend together into an emotional and exciting documentary just as “The Last Dance” did before. 

The length and finality of “The Last Dance” are two things that are noticeably absent from “Nourse Twins: Beach Sisters.” But, that is part of its beauty. While “The Last Dance” looked back decades after the Chicago Bulls’ 1990s dynasty and comprised over eight hours of footage, you can watch the Nourse twins’ documentary in a mere 12 minutes, and you’ll see the careers and dynasty they are establishing is far from over. 

The back-to-back national champion USC women’s beach volleyball team will be seeking a three-peat of their own this season, and the documentary is a perfect preview of the season to come. Like any good season preview, it recaps the story of previous seasons and sets the potential for even bigger things to come for the twins. 

“We’ve won two national championships, but I want to win two more,” Nicole said. “I want to leave here with four rings. … I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to, I don’t think either Audrey or I are satisfied with even two. We want to go out with a bang. We want to leave the program better than we found it.”

As for the filmmakers, the film serves as a preview for them too. The documentary is a short one, but in those 12 minutes, they provide a snapshot of their wide range of storytelling skills that they could bring to bigger, longer projects in the future. 

“[Athletes] all have very interesting stories that sometimes need help being amplified,” Stafford said. “I think there’s a lot of really cool stories of hard work and dedication that maybe people don’t really see in athletes just because it [takes place] a little more behind the scenes.” 

“Nourse Twins: Beach Sisters” is for everyone at USC. Sports fans will love the blend of athletic excellence and intriguing storyline that Audrey and Nicole Nourse bring to the game of beach volleyball. 

But even the average USC student who may not care for sports has something to gain from watching it as well. 

“The way that they approach beach volleyball is the way that they approach everything in life,” Martin said. “I think that’s the biggest takeaway for me, and I think that should hopefully be one of the key takeaways for other people, to apply that [athlete’s] mindset to whatever it is they do.”

The documentary can be found on Vimeo (search “Nourse Twins: Beach Sisters”) and some of Reed’s other work with Stafford and others can be found at 

The Nourse twins will be found in pursuit of a three-peat at Merle Norman Stadium in the spring. 

The unique blend of skill of everyone involved in the project is worth witnessing because these brilliant Trojans’ stories are already so good — and the next scene might be even better yet.