Mary-Kate Olsen: From Child Star to Fashion Icon

There aren’t as many famous Hollywood twin sisters as Mary-Kate Olsen and her twin sister Ashley Olsen. Olsen, whose career began as a child, represents a generation of child actors who had successful adult careers. However, there’s a lot more to Olsen than acting.

Over the years, the multi-talented actress has had success as a businessman, published writer, equestrian, and fashion designer. While she has always been paired with her twin sister for most of her life, Mary-Kate Olsen has proven they’re uniquely different and their own persons. Here’s Mary-Kate Olsen’s journey from child star to fashion icon.

The Early Years Of Mary-Kate Olsen

Mary-Kate Olsen and Bob Saget

Mary-Kate Olsen and her twin sister were born to Jarnette and David Olsen in Sherman Oaks, California, on June 13, 1986. Mary-Kate is the younger twin, born two minutes after her older twin, Ashley. Olsen has European ancestry from both her parents, with her father having Norwegian ancestry and her mother of German, French, and Italian descent. Olsen has an older brother, Trent Olsen, and a famous younger sister, Elizabeth Olsen, known for playing MCU’s Scarlet Witch. She also has two half-siblings, Courtney and Jake, from her father’s second marriage.

Olsen attended Campbell Hall School, a K-12 day school in the Los Angeles Studio City neighborhood. The school has several famous alumni like director Paul Thomas Anderson, Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, and John David Washington. Olsen graduated in 2004 and moved East with her sister to attend New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

Mary-Kate Olsen’s Early Acting Career

Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen

Mary-Kate Olsen and her twin sister pushed the concept of child actors far beyond how it was commonly seen. Olsen made her on-screen debut in 1987 at nine months old. She and her twin sister played Michelle Tanner in a shared role on ABC’s sitcom Full House. Olsen was often cast for most of the series’ comedic scenes, with her older sister playing Michelle Tanner’s serious roles. In the earlier seasons of Full House, Michelle Tanner’s credit was listed as Mary-Kate Ashley Olsen. The producers did this so the audience wouldn’t know the twins portrayed the character.

Although playing Michelle Tanner was their breakthrough role, they almost got fired. The reason they were cast in the first place was because they didn’t cry during the auditions. However, their cries became unbearable during filming for the show’s producers. Luckily, the “unattractive redheaded kids” brought in as replacements couldn’t outcompete the Olsen twins. They played Michelle Tanner from 1987 to 1995. In between the series, they reprised the character in another ABC sitcom Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper (1992).

Mary-Kate Olsen Is A Competitive Equestrian

Mary-Kate Olsen horseback riding

For someone who spent most of their lives in front of the camera, Mary-Kate Olsen found horseback riding a worthy distraction. Like acting, Olsen began riding horses early in life. Her horseback riding journey began in 1992 when she was six years old. She was a member of the equestrian team while at Campbell Hall School. Her separation from horseback riding came when it was time to move East to NYU. She later returned to it and has competed in several races over the years.

Although her competitive equestrian journey began in 2013, Olsen had her first first-place win at The American Gold Cup in September 2017, winning with her horse Feu d’Amour. With several other place-wins as a rider herself, Olsen’s horse, Marvelous, won the 38th Hampton Classic Horse Show (with James Anderson as the rider). As a rider, Olsen last competed in September 2019 in an Against the Clock No Jump Off event, riding Dunotaire V. She placed third at the end of the race.

She’s A Joint-CEO Of Dualstar

Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen

Dualstar is a privately held limited liability company created for Mary-Kate Olsen and her twin sister. The company was set up to produce and manage their brands – TV series, films, video games, magazines, etc. The company was founded on May 5, 1993, when Olsen and her sister were six. With the fame the twin sisters enjoyed, they became preteen models for many merchandise. As a result, Olsen and her sister, less than 10 years old, became the youngest self-made millionaires in the United States. When the Olsen twins clocked 18 in 2004, they became joint CEO and presidents of Dualstar. With Dualstar merchandise available in over 5300 stores worldwide, the Olsen twins’ net worth was estimated to be over $100 million.

She Retired From Acting In 2012

Mary-Kate Olsen in Beastly (2011)

Since they were nine months old, Mary-Kate Olsen and her twin sister starred in the same TV and film productions. However, in 2004, the twins last appeared together in a Dualstar teen comedy, New York Minute (2004). With the movie a box-office bomb, Olsen’s sister, Ashley, retired from acting. Olsen kept working alone until her retirement in 2012. She played Tara Lindman in a recurring role on season 3 of Showtime’s dark comedy-drama Weeds (2007).

Olsen made a guest appearance on an episode of Samantha Who? in 2008, ending her appearance as an actress on television. In film, she last played Kendra Hilferty in Daniel Barnz‘s romantic fantasy drama Beastly (2011). Her last credited on-screen appearance was as herself in Matthew Miele‘s documentary Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s (2013). Mary-Kate Olsen’s reason for her retirement from acting was to focus on her career in fashion.

Mary-Kate Olsen’s Fashion Career

Mary-Kate Olsen

Growing up, Mary-Kate Olsen and her twin sister were fashion models at different phases of their lives. However, as they grew older, Olsen realized a lot of attention was paid to their fashion choices. Always having a knack for fashion, Olsen looked to turn her fashion passion into business. The twins’ earliest fashion line was a collaboration with Wal-Mart to sell a clothing and beauty line for children aged 4 to 14.

With her older sister first inspired to start a fashion label in 2005, the twin sisters worked together to launch The Row label in 2006. The next year, the sisters launched a second fashion label, Elizabeth and James. They also own Olsenboye and StyleMint retail collections. The twin sisters worked with TOMS Shoes in 2011 to create kids’ footwear. They added a perfume collection to the Elizabeth and James line in 2013 and an exclusive partnership with Kohl’s to sell their ready-to-wear label line. For their creative fashion lines, the Olsen twins have received several recognition and awards.

Mary-Kate Olsen’s Relationships

Mary-Kate Olsen and Olivier Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa

Mary-Kate Olsen has had her fair share of public relationships. However, none made headlines like the love triangle between Olsen, Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos III, and Paris Hilton. With Stavros reportedly leaving Olsen for her then-best friend, Olsen was so heartbroken she had to drop out of NYU. Olsen’s other public relationships include DreamWorks’ co-founder’s son, David Katzenberg, photographer Maxwell Snow, and Nate Lowman.

Olsen’s first marriage was to Olivier Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa, the half-brother of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. They began dating in 2012 and married on November 27, 2015. However, Olsen filed for divorce in April 2020, with the divorce finalized on January 25, 2021. Since her divorce, Mary-Kate Olsen has stepped away from the public eye, choosing to stay low from the media.

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