Ashley Olsen: The Coolest Girl in the World
By Lucy Kaylin
Photo Credit: Ruven Afanador
Of course, the twin factor is at the heart of the fascination — Ashley confirms that there is something almost otherworldly about it. "Our bond is really beyond words," she says, inscrutable behind the Tom Fords. "I know when she's hurting, I know when she's going through something. I know when she's happy — whether I'm with her or not, I know. We both carry the weight of each other. When she's doing really well, maybe I'm not doing so well. It's weird that we're never at the same place — we just kind of balance each other out."
And yet, a subtle uncoupling might be underway. For the most part, they don't appear together on magazine covers anymore, and they're actively pursuing their own film projects. (Currently, Mary-Kate has a role on Showtime's Weeds.) They're also sharing what they've learned: The sisters currently have a licensing deal with the very Olsen-like twins, Dylan and Cole Sprouse, stars of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, to whom they've passed along some advice — develop individual identities sooner rather than later. "The more the public can view you separately," Ashley notes, "the easier it will be for your future."
Despite the bisque-perfect features, at times like this she can seem oddly world-weary. "Listen," Ashley muses, "I know what my life will be when I'm dead. I want to make sure my family's taken care of. I have my will; I know where everything's going."
Yes, it's uniquely warping, being a child star, carrying that almost existential burden of knowing the public doesn't particularly want you to grow up. It's no wonder, then, that when Ashley and Mary-Kate made it to the watershed age of 21 last June, they really celebrated — with their near-and-dears at L.A.'s Chateau Marmont. Ashley, who hates public speaking, even gave an emotional speech. "I mean, I used to cry every year on my birthday," she says, "like, Oh my God, I'm getting older! But this was the first year I had the best time. I was excited."
She's reached a very cool place, I suggest — doing work she's rather brilliant at, ready to give the world a glimpse of the real her, poised to shrug off the ill-fitting tween-queen mantle for good. It's going to be great, I say — I can picture it.
"Don't tell me," Ashley says and laughs, equal parts imp and old soul. "Let me be surprised."