With her tal­ent and film ca­reer firmly es­tab­lished, El­iz­a­beth Olsen’s fo­cus shifts to forg­ing her path and mak­ing her own rules.

Austin Way - - CONTENTS FEATURES - By Carita Rizzo / Pho­tographed by John Russo Styled by Jacque­line Zenere / Art di­rec­tion by James Aguiar

With a film ca­reer firmly es­tab­lished, El­iz­a­beth Olsen sets about forg­ing her own path.

atthe Cannes Film Fes­ti­val pre­miere of Wind River, the di­rec­to­rial de­but of Cen­tral Texas na­tive Tay­lor Sheridan, El­iz­a­beth Olsen climbs on­stage in­side the iconic Palais des Fes­ti­vals et des Con­grès de Cannes. Look­ing old-school glam in a plung­ing blush­col­ored Miu Miu gown, she takes in the scene, smil­ing as the au­di­ence de­liv­ers its en­thu­si­as­tic ap­plause and Sheridan in­tro­duces the film. It is not Olsen’s first time at Cannes, but from her per­spec­tive, it might as well be. “The first time I was here, I didn’t soak it in,” says the ac­tress dur­ing our beach­side stroll the next day. “I was over­whelmed, and I don’t have very many mem­o­ries of be­ing present.” This time would be dif­fer­ent, she de­ter­mined, start­ing with the de­ci­sion to clutch her pink heels in her hand while on­stage. “Dur­ing Sun­dance, I had a bit of a panic at­tack when we were on­stage. You have all the lights on you, and there’s re­ally no point of fo­cus. I hate it. It freaks me out. So, I thought, ‘I’m go­ing to take my shoes off.’ And I re­mem­ber ev­ery mo­ment,” she says. As not even a 2am post-pre­miere photo call man­ages to rat­tle the ac­tress, you get the sense Olsen knows not only how to nav­i­gate the chaos that is the world’s most renowned film fes­ti­val, but is also com­pe­tently steer­ing a ca­reer that, in the past seven years, has launched her to fame far be­yond what maybe even she ex­pected. “Now that I feel a bit more solid about what I’m mak­ing and I have a very clear in­ten­tion for my­self, I’m a hap­pier per­son,” ex­plains the 28-year-old. “I’ve started to fig­ure out how I want to func­tion as a hu­man be­ing in the world and bal­ance it with work.” She may feel like she is only now com­ing into her­self, but from the out­side, it seems like Olsen has al­ways had a strong sense of di­rec­tion. While the ac­tress has, in the past seven years, made an im­pres­sive 18 films—rang­ing from well­re­ceived indies like Martha Marcy May Mar­lene to ma­jor block­busters like Godzilla and The Avengers films—her love of act­ing and per­form­ing was es­tab­lished long be­fore her 21st birth­day. The youngest sis­ter of twins Mary-Kate and Ash­ley made her on-screen de­but at age 4 in her sib­lings’ films, be­fore de­cid­ing at age 7 she would not pur­sue the same path as her fa­mous sis­ters. “I did try and au­di­tion when I was younger. I thought, ‘Well that sounds fun. I see what my sis­ters do.’ I went on a few au­di­tions, Spy Kids be­ing the first one, and they asked me to read the script. It looked big­ger than the Bi­ble to me,” Olsen re­calls. “I didn’t un­der­stand why I would ever read some­thing that big. I realized I would miss out on af­ter-school sports and for­feit things I en­joyed do­ing at a young age. My dad had me write a list of pros and cons, and the cons side was big­ger. I de­cided to stick to my af­ter-school ac­tiv­i­ties.” De­spite the 15-year hole in her ré­sumé, Olsen never gave up act­ing. “The [ac­tiv­i­ties] my fam­ily [came out to sup­port] me in were prob­a­bly pain­ful to watch,” she laughs. “From bal­let recitals to plays to some ex­per­i­men­tal things—it was con­stant. But [these] were hob­bies, not a job.” They were, how­ever, the things she cared about the most. Af­ter high school, Olsen en­rolled at New York Univer­sity’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she learned the dis­ci­pline of the craft, even spend­ing a se­mes­ter at the Moscow Art The­atre in Rus­sia. “All these teach­ers [were] try­ing to scare [us], let­ting [us] know that [act­ing] is hard and you’re go­ing to be re­jected 99 per­cent of the time. Ev­ery time some­one said it to me, it was a chal­lenge, like, ‘I’ll show you.’” That, she did. Olsen’s breakout role came as the tit­u­lar char­ac­ter in Martha Marcy May

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