Step­ping OUT of her fa­mous SIS­TERS’ for­mi­da­ble SHAD­OWS, El­iz­a­beth Olsen is PROV­ING that she’s ready to join the big GUNS of the FILM world.


EWindl­iz­a­beth Olsen and the rest of the team from her new film River are run­ning late – 45 min­utes and count­ing – when they ar­rive at a villa just off Cannes’ buzzing La Croisette strip. El­iz­a­beth, co-star Jeremy Ren­ner and di­rec­tor Tay­lor Sheri­dan had been taken for lunch on a yacht in the Mediter­ranean, but got stranded, with no trans­port to take them ashore. “We were lit­er­ally in the mid­dle of the ocean,” says El­iz­a­beth. “I was like, ‘Get me out of here!’”

It’s worth men­tion­ing sim­ply be­cause ac­tors ar­riv­ing late for in­ter­views is al­most ex­pected. That the 28-year-old is gen­uinely “mor­ti­fied” by the in­ci­dent – “in­cred­i­bly rude,” she says, chastis­ing her­self – is hugely to her credit. It’s tempt­ing to think that this de­sire for pro­fes­sion­al­ism is a qual­ity she absorbed from her older sis­ters, twins Mary-Kate and Ash­ley, the for­mer child stars turned fash­ion de­sign­ers and ma­jor-league en­trepreneurs. But El­iz­a­beth puts her cool head down sim­ply to grow­ing older.

“I think get­ting older is a very good thing,” she says, her soft voice barely car­ry­ing above loud rock mu­sic that’s re­ver­ber­at­ing from out­side. “It’s nice to come into your­self as a per­son. For me, as an ac­tor, I feel like I han­dle things dif­fer­ently now than I did [be­fore].” She al­lows her­self a slight smile. “Haven’t had anx­i­ety yet, which is cool!”

When ‘Lizzie’ – as she likes to call her­self – was born in 1989, in the Los An­ge­les sub­urb of Sher­man Oaks, her older sis­ters were al­ready star­ring on TV show Full House. A stream of di­rect-tovideo movies fol­lowed, lead­ing to a busi­ness em­pire that saw Olsen mer­chan­dise car­ried in 5000 stores world­wide.

“It was all I knew,” re­flects their younger sib­ling. “It was some­thing I grew up with and al­ways knew.” By 2007, with the twins barely in their twen­ties, Forbes val­ued their com­bined net worth at more than US$100 mil­lion.

If it had an im­pact on Lizzie, ini­tially it was a neg­a­tive one. “I think the stuff that was weird were the things that were ex­ploita­tive, when the me­dia got re­ally per­sonal and in their faces as they got older,” she says. “And that made me think, ‘I don’t want to do movies. I just want to do theatre [be­cause] that’s not okay. I don’t want my pri­vacy to be taken away.’ But then my sis­ters are re­mark­able and nav­i­gated that bril­liantly, and they didn’t let that stop them. They are great busi­ness­women and in­cred­i­bly good at what they do.”

Since calling time on their act­ing ca­reers, Mary-Kate and Ash­ley have branched into fash­ion, es­tab­lish­ing the hugely pop­u­lar de­signer la­bel The Row, which earned them a CFDA wom­enswear de­signer of the year award in 2012. They’ve since launched re­tail col­lec­tions El­iz­a­beth and James (named af­ter their sis­ter and brother, James), Olsen­boye (in­spired by the fam­ily’s orig­i­nal Nor­we­gian name) and StyleMint (a cus­tomised T-shirt line). To­day, sport­ing a crisp white tee and a navy suit, with white swal­lows stitched into the fabric, Lizzie is the per­fect model for her sis­ters’ de­signs.

Is she amazed by her sib­lings’ achieve­ments? “Amazed? Yeah, I’m shocked by them!” she ex­claims, then pauses. “Not shocked, ac­tu­ally, that’s the wrong word to use. They’re re­ally in­spir­ing women. And I think they han­dle them­selves with a lot of class.” >

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