Eliz­a­beth ‘I’m noth­ing like my sis­ters’

She might have the whole of Hol­ly­wood at her feet, but style icon Eliz­a­beth Olsen is still bat­tling the same is­sues as the rest of usé

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As stylish red­car­pet ladies go, Eliz­a­beth Olsen is right up there. Not only is the 28-year-old ac­tress storm­ing through Hol­ly­wood with roles in the likes of Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War and The Avengers, she’s also been lauded for her smaller parts in flicks like Very Good Girls (see it) and thriller Wind River (where she plays a tough FBI Agent). There are whis­pers about award nods for her role in up­com­ing film In­grid Goes West, where she plays a so­cial-me­dia stalker who in­te­grates her­self into the life of an In­sta­gram star. #Mil­len­nial.

Eliz­a­beth is pol­ished and pre­cise. Of­fer­ing con­sid­ered replies, her re­serve comes from a life­time of ex­pe­ri­ence watch­ing her mogul twin sis­ters, Mary-kate and Ash­ley, nav­i­gate the choppy wa­ters of su­per­star­dom. Said sib­lings are pretty much off-topic to­day – a stan­dard re­quest when talk­ing to the star – who, by now, has prob­a­bly over­shad­owed their no­to­ri­ety any­way.

Here, she tells us what it’s re­ally like to have grown up in the spot­light…

Hi Eliz­a­beth, you re­cently played an FBI agent, what was that like? I like the fact that the char­ac­ter was writ­ten with­out any stereo­types. She’s there to do her job. She’s the kind of self­con­fi­dent woman that doesn’t care what other peo­ple think. As a woman work­ing in a pretty male-dom­i­nated pro­fes­sion, she’s learnt to han­dle her­self and deal with the usual boys’ club men­tal­ity that a lot of women face in the work­place. Wind River must have felt like a re­turn to your in­die-film roots, af­ter work­ing on block­busters like Cap­tain Amer­ica… Sev­eral years ago, I saw that even if you’re part of good films, you still won’t find a lot of work un­less you have the recog­ni­tion that comes from do­ing big­ger movies. Now that I’ve done some big stu­dio films, it’s given me the kind of vis­i­bil­ity that will help me do films like Wind River and In­grid Goes West, which is a black com­edy. I’ve seen what a big dif­fer­ence it makes when you’re go­ing to au­di­tions or meet­ing with di­rec­tors. A lot of doors are open­ing up, and I’m look­ing for­ward to be­ing able to do the big movies and the smaller, pas­sion projects. Your ap­proach to fame is very dif­fer­ent to your older sis­ters’… I would rather live as pri­vately and qui­etly as pos­si­ble. That’s why I’m not big on so­cial me­dia, be­cause I’d rather save my thoughts and opin­ions for my friends over din­ner. I like be­ing able to have a ca­reer where I’m seen as an ac­tor, rather than a celebrity. I was never the kind of girl who wanted to dress up, and I’m still a bit shy of go­ing out on the red car­pet. My sis­ters are amaz­ing – they are in­cred­i­bly tal­ented fash­ion de­sign­ers and great at busi­ness. But I wouldn’t want to live with all the at­ten­tion that they’ve had to en­dure. My life is much eas­ier. Did you al­ways want to act? I started tak­ing act­ing classes when I was eight, but my par­ents al­ways told me that I should only pur­sue act­ing if I re­ally wanted it. They en­cour­aged all of us to fol­low our in­spi­ra­tions and dreams, but I never felt pres­sured in any way. The thing that they in­sisted on was that if we did choose to do some­thing, then it was im­por­tant to work hard at it. If you want to suc­ceed at some­thing, you need to have that kind of am­bi­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion. It won’t just fall into your lap. Were you a nat­u­ral per­former? I was al­ways per­form­ing, putting on lit­tle mu­si­cals, singing and danc­ing. I went to mu­si­cal the­atre camp, made short movies with my friends. But I didn’t want to be an ac­tress – es­pe­cially be­cause I grew up in LA. Very cliché! Plus, I liked chem­istry and the pe­ri­odic ta­ble. I liked learn­ing, and act­ing, to me, didn’t fol­low that path of learn­ing. Most of young Hol­ly­wood seems to be in a squad, but not you – why? Most of my friends are the same friends I’ve had for­ever. I don’t know how fa­mous re­la­tion­ships de­velop, be­cause the na­ture of the busi­ness [means you are] al­ways in tran­sit from one place to the other. I don’t get it. Ev­ery­body has weird sched­ules. Maybe it’s me. [Laughs.] You’ve played a lot of strong women – is that what you look for? I’m not look­ing for roles that are just badass women. That term is thrown around way too much. I look for the emo­tion­ally pow­er­ful in­di­vid­u­als strug­gling with ad­ver­sity, with in­ter­nal con­flicts, who have to prove them­selves. I like dam­aged char­ac­ters – I think I seek out dam­aged char­ac­ters the most. Or, at least, that’s what I’m sent the most. [Laughs.] In­grid Goes West is a very dif­fer­ent role for you. You men­tioned your dis­like for so­cial me­dia, and now you’re on In­sta­gram. Did you sign up just for the film? It’s a big step for me. [Laughs.] I set up a fake In­sta­gram ac­count for the char­ac­ter, Tay­lor Sloane. Be­fore, I found the whole thing re­ally strange. You know, I also don’t know how these pho­tos al­ways look so beau­ti­ful. Mine do not look like that at all! My at­tempts at self­ies are al­ways tragic. [Laughs.] But I also think I over­thought In­sta­gram in­tensely, be­cause that’s me, I’m a to­tal over­thinker. I like be­ing able to con­trol the mes­sage I put out there, which is the first time I’ve ever had that.

In­grid Goes West is in cin­e­mas from 7 Oc­to­ber

I didn’t want to be an ac­tress when I was younger – it’s very cliché when you grew up in LA

With her older (smaller) sis­ters, Mary-kate and Ash­ley

In Wind River with co-star Jeremy Ren­ner

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