Mary-Kate Olsen Breaks Her Silence

In the new issue of "Marie Claire," the star opens up about how she found her voice in fashion.

mary kate olsen fashion shoot
mary kate olsen fashion shoot
(Image credit: Tesh)

Mary-Kate Olsen is not the same girl you watched grow up on Full House alongside twin sister Ashley. She's now a fashion powerhouse who has forged an identity all her own. Marie Claire's Kimberly Cutter gets an up-close look at the intensely private star, goes inside the studio of her label, The Row, and looks back at her anything-but-ordinary upbringing in our latest issue, on sale at newsstands now.

Often seen yet rarely heard, Mary-Kate's cover shoot at The Inn in Quogue, New York, sets the sartorial tone — she wears a mash-up of designers, from her own leather jacket to mainstays like Valentino and Catherine Malandrino to newcomer Christopher Kane — and a humorous one, with an antler headband.

Go behind the scenes of Mary-Kate's Marie Claire cover shoot in the Hamptons.

Outside of the spotlight, the 24-year-old bohemian star loves designing for her mix of labels — from The Row to her and Ashley's lower-priced Olsenboye line for JCPenney — because "it's kind of like a mask to hide behind." In fact, Mary-Kate likens her and her sister to "little monkey performers" when referencing her childhood in front of the cameras: "I look at old photos of me, and I don't feel connected to them at all… I would never wish my upbringing on anyone…"

See the exclusive photos from Mary-Kate's September issue spread.

And when the topics turn to her tabloid-plastered problems with an eating disorder (she entered treatment for one in 2004) and with a hard-partying lifestyle (including her time with the late Heath Ledger), she only says that she's learned to seek help when she needs it: "I think it's really important to be able to talk when something's wrong. I learned at a really young age that if you don't talk about it, it can drive you insane."

Her focus right now, as Cutter writes, is all to do with fashion. From the inception of The Row to their early successes — "It took us a year-and-a-half to make the first T-shirt," she says — Mary-Kate takes it more seriously than anything else: "I still read scripts, and if something great comes along, that's great … but this is my day job. The Row is where I go every day."

More Mary-Kate:

Tell Marie Claire: What do you think of Mary-Kate? Do you like her cover look? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!