Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen


Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are no longer interested in making movies. Though they got their start on the family-friendly sitcom Full House in 1987 (and went on to start in a series of direct-to-video films), the 27-year-olds have decided to focus on expanding their fashion and beauty brands instead.

"We were always hard workers as kids," Mary-Kate tells WWD. "It's just the way we are, the way we were raised. Our work ethic was everything, and that never left us. We like to work hard, and we like to try to do everything 100 percent. In fact, it's actually almost impossible for us not to. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes not so much, but it's learning."

Ashley—who has not appeared on the big screen since 2004's New York Minute—adds, "I always looked at myself, even as a kid, as a businesswoman."

According to Mary-Kate, she and her sister were groomed to be behind-the-scenes from a young age. "With what we were doing in business when we were younger, I don't think it ever felt like we were actresses, because we spent so much more of our time not in front of the cameras, building a brand."

The Olsen twins founded DualStar in 1993 at age 6 and took over as co-presidents in 2004 on their 18th birthday. "We've been exposed to so much," explains Ashley. "We were very fortunate to have parents and people around us who wanted us to be part of the creative meetings and the business meetings, and we would just sit and listen and be sponges. At that time in your life, you really are a sponge. And we've learned so much from people we've been exposed to in our lives—interesting people from different walks of life, different CEOs. The list goes on and on. Mary-Kate and I have always taken advantage of our time with those people and walked away learning a thing or two."

The Row designers have no intention of acting again, though Mary-Kate did appear sans her sister in 2008's The Wackness and 2011's Beastly. "We have a video catalogue of everything we did when we were younger, so we're looking at distribution for that now," Ashley tells WWD. "That's not being in show business, but it's been fun talking to these people we used to be in business with many, many years ago. But the industries are completely different."

Mary-Kate adds, "We still feel welcome in the [entertainment] industry. But it's not the one we're in."

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