Why Elizabeth Olsen Didn't Want to Be "Associated" With Sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Growing Up

In a new interview, Elizabeth Olsen recalled how she felt about getting into acting as the youngest sister of twin Full House stars Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen,

By Corinne Heller Apr 21, 2021 6:47 PMTags
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Did Elizabeth Olsen want to be an actress when she was a kid? You got it, dude. Did she want to piggyback on her older sisters' Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen's fame? No way.

In a new interview with Glamour UK, published on Wednesday, April 21, the Avengers actress, who reprised her role of Wanda Maximoff on the Disney+ series WandaVision, recalls how she felt about following in the footsteps of the twin child stars, who rose to fame playing Michelle Tanner on the sitcom Full House in the '80s and '90s.

"I was 10 and I was curious about auditioning," Elizabeth, 32, told the magazine. "And I realized very quickly it wasn't for me because I was missing my sports teams, my dance class and all the extracurricular activities at school. But during that time, I thought, 'I don't want to be associated with [Mary-Kate and Ashley],' for some reason."

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In the interview, Elizabeth also revealed that as a child aspiring actress, she almost used her first and middle name as a stage name to differentiate herself from the Olsen twins, who have since left the acting industry to concentrate on their fashion label The Row.

"I guess I understood what nepotism was like inherently as a 10-year-old," she told Glamour UK. "I don't know if I knew the word, but there is some sort of association of not earning something that I think bothered me at a very young age. It had to do with my own insecurities, but I was 10. So I don't know how much I processed, but I did think, 'I'm going to be Elizabeth Chase when I become an actress.'"

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Elizabeth made similar comments in a Grazia magazine interview published in February. "Nepotism is a thing and I'm very aware of it," she said then. "And of course, I've always wanted to do it alone."

The actress did ultimately make her onscreen acting debut, using her nickname Lizzie Olsen, in Mary-Kate and Ashley's 1994 TV movie How the West Was Fun. She had a small role as a girl in a car.

Elizabeth did not appear onscreen again until 2011, when she starred in the thrillers Silent House and Martha Marcy May Marlene—her breakout role. She made her debut as Wanda / Scarlet Witch with an uncredited appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier before playing the role on a larger scale in Avengers: Age of Ultron the following year.

In a 2011 interview with Nylon magazine, Elizabeth recalled keeping the option of using her sisters' industry connections to further her acting career open. "I went through a phase when I first got into college where I was thinking if I don't get a manager or agent, I'll ask the girls [Mary-Kate and Ashley] to help me," she said. "I was OK with that idea, but I never needed it."

Elizabeth, who has another sister and two brothers, also recalled feeling reluctant to pursue acting as a career following tabloid coverage of Mary-Kate, who was treated for an eating disorder in 2004, and Ashley when they were young adults. 

"That was when the media was what I found to be abusive to my sisters, and I thought I really didn't want to be in the industry," she told Nylon. "They turned 18 and what was going on in her life—I'm talking about Mary-Kate—was all over the news. They would follow us shopping and [Mary-Kate and Ashley] would almost get into car accidents because of the paparazzi, and I didn't want to be a part of it. I just thought, This is such bulls--t."


Over the years, Elizabeth has received valuable career advice from Mary-Kate and Ashley, who are now 34. In January, when asked on the show Off Camera with Sam Jones about a mantra or rule that she learned from her family that still holds true in her life today.

She responded, "Something my sisters always say, which might have come from my father at one point...it's that 'No' is a full sentence.'"

"I really liked that, especially as a woman," she said. "You can just say, 'No.' And I just really like that in all aspects of life."

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Elizabeth told Glamour in her recent interview, "The word 'No' specifically was something that I remember my sisters isolating and it becoming really empowering. And for women, it's a really empowering word. People say ‘Just say no to drugs', but truly, you can just say no whenever the hell you want! It's really a powerful thing."