Elizabeth Olsen almost didn't pursue acting because of Mary-Kate, Ashley: 'I understood what nepotism was'

Taryn Ryder
·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Elizabeth Olsen is getting candid about how her sisters' fame affected her at an early age. 

For those who don't know — and apparently some people really don't — the WandaVision star is the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The twins launched to fame at only six months old playing the shared role of Michelle Tanner on Full House, so Elizabeth grew up on set and in her sisters' shadow. In a new interview with Glamour U.K., Elizabeth says she was hesitant to pursue acting at all.

"I was 10 and I was curious about auditioning … 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," she explains. 

"I guess I understood what nepotism was like inherently as a 10-year-old. 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," Elizabeth continues. "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 [her middle name] when I become an actress.'"

Mary-Kate Olsen, Elizabeth Olsen and Ashley Olsen at an event together in 2016.
Mary-Kate Olsen, Elizabeth Olsen and Ashley Olsen at an event together in 2016. (Photo: Getty Images for InStyle)

Now that she's in the Marvel universe and the star of one of the buzziest shows on television, it's surprising to learn what Elizabeth almost did as a career.

"I thought I was going to be on Wall Street," she recalls, despite being trained at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. "I don't know what I wanted, I was just good at math. And I'm good at sciences so [I thought] maybe I should do something like that. But at the end of the day, I really love acting."

Although Elizabeth was hesitant to follow in her sisters' footsteps, she has listened to advice from Mary-Kate and Ashley, who retired from acting nearly two decades ago. 

"The word 'no' specifically was something that I remember my sisters isolating and it becoming really empowering," Elizabeth tells the magazine. "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."

The advice has served her well.

"I always felt like I could say 'No' in any work situation — if someone was making me feel uncomfortable — and I just feel like that's what we need," she adds. "We don't have to follow suit if it doesn't feel right. We need to be listening to our gut. There was a time where women were competing with one another and now we're at a time where women are holding each other up."

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