Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
June 13, 1986
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Fuller Olsen (born June 13, 1986), also known as the Olsen twins, are American fashion designers and former actresses. Mary-Kate and Ashley made their acting debut as infants playing Michelle Tanner on the television sitcom Full House (1987–1995). As they grew older, they began starring in other television shows, films, and media through their own production company, Dualstar. The twins became preteen icons, and some of the wealthiest women in the entertainment industry at a young age.
The Olsens stepped away from acting in the mid-2000s and entered the fashion design industry. They founded their own luxury fashion label in 2006, The Row, based in New York City. They have won several awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
Lives and career
Childhood and acting career
The twins were born in Sherman Oaks, California, to David "Dave" Olsen and Jarnette "Jarnie" (née Jones). They have an elder brother, Trent, and a younger sister, actress Elizabeth, as well as a half-sister, Courtney Taylor, and a half-brother, Jake. The twins' parents divorced in 1995; Taylor and Jake are from their father's second marriage. The Olsen twins have English and Norwegian ancestry.
In 1987, at the age of six months, the twins were cast in the role of Michelle Tanner on the ABC sitcom Full House. They began filming at nine months old. In order to comply with child labor laws that set strict limits on how long a child actor may work, the sisters took turns playing the role. The Olsens continued to portray Michelle throughout the show's run, which concluded in 1995.
In 1992, Mary-Kate and Ashley shared the role of Michelle Tanner when they guest-starred on the Full House crossover episode of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper. While starring on Full House, the Olsens also began appearing (as separate characters) in films for video and television. The first such film, To Grandmother's House We Go, debuted in 1992 and featured cameos from several other Full House actors. In 1993, the Olsens established the company Dualstar, which would produce the twins' subsequent films and videos, including 1993's Double, Double, Toil and Trouble and 1994's How the West Was Fun. A series of musical mystery videos called The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley premiered in 1994 and continued through 1997.
In 1995, following the end of Full House, the Olsens made their feature film debut in It Takes Two, co-starring Steve Guttenberg and Kirstie Alley. In the same year, they introduced a second video series, You're Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley's..., which continued to release new entries until 2000.
The following year, the Olsens appeared in an episode of All My Children. In 1997, they appeared once again as guest stars in an episode of Sister Sister. Also, in 1998, the twins returned to series television with another ABC sitcom, Two of a Kind, co-starring Christopher Sieber as their characters' widowed father. The series lasted only one season but aired in reruns on cable for several years afterward. 1998 also saw the release of Billboard Dad, the first of a new string of direct-to-video films starring the Olsens. The final such film, The Challenge, debuted in 2003.
In 2000, the Olsens appeared in an episode of 7th Heaven as bad girls Sue and Carol Murphy. The following year, the sisters starred in two new series: So Little Time, a live-action sitcom on Fox Family (later ABC Family); and Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action!, an animated series airing Saturday mornings on ABC. Both shows were canceled after one season, although Mary-Kate received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her performance on So Little Time.
In early 2004, Mary-Kate and Ashley had a cameo voice role in an episode of The Simpsons as the readers of Marge's book-on-tape, The Harpooned Heart. Also in 2004, the twins starred in a second feature film, New York Minute. It would be their last film together, as well as Ashley's last acting role. Mary-Kate has continued to appear in film and television.
Mary-Kate and Ashley had a fan club until 2000, "Mary-Kate & Ashley's Fun Club", where fans would pay to receive Mary-Kate and Ashley collectibles and photos. Each subscription included an issue of Our Funzine, Mary-Kate and Ashley's fan club magazine, exclusively available through the club, and a collectibles catalog, where one could purchase T-shirts, posters, baseball caps, key rings, school folders, postcards, and various other items. Subscribers would also receive "surprise gifts" (usually key rings, book excerpts, or back issues of the Funzine), lyric sheets to Mary-Kate and Ashley's songs, a school folder, a membership card, a full-sized poster, two black and white photos (one of each girl), and a color photo with reprint autographs. The club was advertised at the beginning of Mary-Kate and Ashley movies until 1998. Mary-Kate and Ashley were popular figures in the preteen market during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Their names and likenesses extended not only to movies and videos, but to clothes, shoes, purses, hats, books, CDs and cassette tapes, fragrances and makeup, magazines, video and board games, dolls, posters, calendars, and even telephones and CD players—with a market share made up mostly of the tween demographic. Mattel produced various sets of Mary-Kate and Ashley fashion dolls from 2000 to 2005, along with separate outfits and accessory packs.
The sisters became co-presidents of Dualstar on their 18th birthday in 2004. Upon taking control of the company, Mary-Kate and Ashley made moves to secure the future of the company by releasing products that appealed to the teen market, including home decoration and fragrances. The Dualstar brand has been sold in more than 3,000 stores in the United States and over 5,300 stores worldwide. The Olsens have appeared on the Forbes "Celebrity 100" list since 2002;[needs update] in 2007, Forbes ranked them (collectively) as the eleventh-richest women in entertainment, with an estimated net worth of US$100 million.
When Fuller House, a spin-off of the original sitcom Full House, was announced, the sisters were the only members of the original cast who didn't return to play their character, Michelle. They received harsh criticism due to their absence, but it was later revealed that John Stamos, who played Michelle's uncle, Jesse Katsopolis, was to blame for their refusal to return, when he reached out to their agent instead of directly to the sisters. Mary-Kate considered joining again, and offered to persuade Ashley to join as well, but Stamos, who also produced Fuller House, "didn't seize the opportunity and everything fell apart." The sisters' new fashion career was also a factor in their failure to return, as they had moved away from acting and toward fashion designing. It was speculated that the twins' younger sister, actress Elizabeth Olsen, would take up the role as Michelle, but the team that produced Fuller House wasn't open to the idea, and Michelle never made it onto the show.
As the sisters have matured, they expressed greater interest in their fashion choices, with The New York Times declaring Mary-Kate a fashion icon for pioneering her signature "homeless" look. The style sometimes referred to by fashion journalists as "ashcan" or "bohemian-bourgeois", is similar to the boho-chic style popularized in Britain by Kate Moss and Sienna Miller. The look consists of oversized sunglasses, boots, loose sweaters, and flowing skirts, with an aesthetic of mixing high-end and low-end pieces. The twins were tapped as the faces of upscale fashion line Badgley Mischka in 2006.
The Olsens had a clothing line for girls ages 4–14 in Wal-Mart stores across North America, as well as a beauty line called "Mary-Kate and Ashley: Real fashion for real girls". In 2004, they made news by signing a pledge to allow full maternity leave to all the workers that sew their line of clothing in Bangladesh. The National Labor Committee, which organized the pledge, praised the twins for their commitment to worker rights.
The Olsens have also launched their own couture fashion label, The Row, named after Savile Row in London. In 2007, they launched Elizabeth & James, a contemporary collection inspired by many of their unique vintage finds and pieces in their personal wardrobes. They have also released a women's clothing line for J.C. Penney, called Olsenboye, and a T-shirt line called "StyleMint". In 2008, the sisters published the book Influence, a compilation of interviews with many of the most prominent people in the field of fashion. In August 2013, the twins launched a new fashion line in Oslo, Norway. The Olsens were first named Womenswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for The Row in 2012. They received the award again in 2015. The CFDA also named the Olsens Accessories Designer of the Year in 2014 for their work with The Row.
- This filmography is of the twins as a duo. See Mary-Kate Olsen for other productions in which she has appeared.
|Year(s)||Title||Mary-Kate's role||Ashley's role||Notes|
|1987–1995||Full House||Michelle Tanner (shared role)||191 episodes|
|1992||Hangin' with Mr. Cooper||Michelle Tanner (shared role)||Episode: "Hangin' With Michelle"|
|1992||To Grandmother's House We Go||Sarah Thompson||Julie Thompson||TV movie|
|1993||Our First Video||Herself||Herself||Direct-to-video release|
|1993||Double, Double, Toil and Trouble||Kelly Farmer and Young Aunt Sophia||Lynn Farmer and Young Aunt Agatha||TV movie|
|1994||How the West Was Fun||Jessica Martin||Suzy Martin||TV movie|
|1994||The Little Rascals||Twin #2||Twin #1||Cameo role|
|1994–1997||The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley||Herself||Herself||Video series, 11 videos|
|1995||It Takes Two||Amanda Lemmon||Alyssa Callaway|
|1995–2000||You're Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley's...||Herself||Herself||Video series, 10 videos|
|1997||Sister, Sister||Herself||Herself||Episode: "Slime Party" (4x21)|
|1997||Our Music Video||Herself||Herself||Direct-to-video release|
|1998||Billboard Dad||Tess Tyler||Emily Tyler|
|1998||All My Children||Herself||Herself||1 episode, October 29, 1998|
|1998–1999||Two of a Kind||Mary-Kate Burke||Ashley Burke||1 season|
|1999||Passport to Paris||Melanie "Mel" Porter||Allyson "Ally" Porter|
|1999||Switching Goals||Sam Stanton||Emma Stanton||TV movie|
|2000||7th Heaven||Carol Murphy||Sue Murphy||Episode: "Gossip" (5x08)|
|2000||Our Lips Are Sealed||Maddie Parker||Abby Parker|
|2001||Mary-Kate & Ashley's Fashion Forward||Herself||Herself||Direct-to-video release|
|2001||Winning London||Chloe Lawrence||Riley Lawrence|
|2001–2002||So Little Time||Riley Carlson||Chloe Carlson||1 season|
|2001||Holiday in the Sun||Madison Stewart||Alex Stewart|
|2001–2002||Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action!||Misty (voice)||Amber (voice)||Animated series, 1 season|
|2002||Getting There||Kylie Hunter||Taylor Hunter|
|2002||When in Rome||Charli Hunter||Leila Hunter|
|2003||The Challenge||Shane Dalton||Elizabeth "Lizzie" Dalton|
|2003||Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle||Future Angel (shared role)||Uncredited cameo|
|2004||The Simpsons||Herself (voice)||Herself (voice)||Episode: "Diatribe of a Mad Housewife" (15x10)|
|2004||New York Minute||Roxanne "Roxy" Ryan||Jane Ryan||Main roles|
|2004||Saturday Night Live||Herself||Herself||Guest hosts; episode: "Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen/J-Kwon"|
Awards and nominations
|Award||Year[a]||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Category||Result|
|Accessories Council Excellence Awards||2005||Olsen Twins||ACE Award||Won|
|Bravo Otto||2004||Olsen Twins||Best Actress||Won|
|Best Female TV Star||Nominated|
|CfDA Fashion Awards||2012||The Row||Womenswear Designer of the Year||Won|
|2014||Accessories Designer of the Year||Won|
|Womenswear Designer of the Year||Won|
|Accessories Designer of the Year||Nominated|
|Womenswear Designer of the Year||Nominated|
|Accessories Designer of the Year||Won|
|2020||American Womenswear Designer of the Year||Nominated|
|American Accessories Designer of the Year||Nominated|
|Daytime Emmy Awards||2002||So Little Time||Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series||Nominated|
|DVD Exclusive Awards||2003||Olsen Twins||Franchise Performers Award||Won|
|Elle Style Awards||2010||Style Icons of 2010||Won|
|Golden Raspberry Awards||2005||New York Minute||Worst Actress||Nominated|
|Worst Screen Couple||Nominated|
|Hollywood Walk of Fame||2004||Olsen Twins||Hollywood Walk of Fame Star||Won|
|Kids' Choice Awards||1996||It Takes Two||Favorite Movie Actress||Won|
|1999||Favorite TV Actress||Won|
|Stinkers Bad Movie Awards||2004||New York Minute||Worst Actress||Nominated|
|Worst On-Screen Couple||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||2004||New York Minute||Choice Movie Blush||Nominated|
|The Wall Street Journal||2012||The Row||Innovator of the Year: Fashion||Won|
|Young Artist Awards||1989||Full House||Best Young Actor/Actress – Under Five Years of Age||Won|
|1990||Outstanding Performance by an Actress Under Nine Years of Age||Won|
|1992||Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress Under Ten||Won|
|1994||Double, Double, Toil and Trouble||Best Youth Actress in a TV Mini-Series, M.O.W. or Special||Won|
|1996||It Takes Two||Best Performance by an Actress Under Ten – Feature Film||Nominated|
- Indicates the year of ceremony. Each year is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.
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- "Elizabeth Chase Olsen, Born 02/16/1989 in California". CaliforniaBirthIndex.org. February 16, 1989. Archived from the original on November 20, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
- Rozen, Leah (October 11, 2011). "Elizabeth Olsen in 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 11, 2019. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
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- Mobile Marketing Gets Cool Archived April 20, 2013, at Archive-It. eventmarketer.com. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- Smith, Bea (November 9, 2022). "Did John Stamos Want Mary-Kate And Ashley Olsen Gone From Full House?". TheThings. Retrieved November 12, 2023.
- Malach, Hannah (November 6, 2023). "Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Through the Years: How the Twins Evolved From Sitcom Stars to Style Icons". WWD. Retrieved November 12, 2023.
- Zwick, Joel (September 29, 1992), Hangin' with Michelle, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Mark Curry, Dawnn Lewis, Holly Robinson Peete, retrieved November 12, 2023
- To Grandmother's House We Go (TV Movie 1992) - Trivia - IMDb, retrieved November 12, 2023
- "Dualstar Movies List". Ranker. Retrieved November 12, 2023.
- Kruzan, Michael (September 13, 1994), The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of Thorn Mansion (Short, Comedy, Family), Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Elizabeth Olsen, Dualstar Productions, retrieved November 12, 2023
- Kruzan, Michael (November 1, 1997), The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of the United States Navy Adventure (Short), Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Dualstar Productions, retrieved November 12, 2023
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- "Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Launch New T-Shirts". Contactmusic.com. July 1, 2011. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
- "CFDA 2015 Winners" Archived February 6, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. cfda.com June 1, 2015.
- "The Row Wins CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Once Again" Archived March 8, 2022, at the Wayback Machine. fashionista.com June 1, 2015.
- "And the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards Winners are…" Archived January 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. cfda.com June 3, 2014.
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