Mary-Kate Olsen Breaks Her Silence

In the new issue of Marie Claire, the star opens up about how she finally found her voice ... in fashion.Plus: See more exclusive photos from her Marie Claire cover shoot and check out her best outfits in this style retrospective!

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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."

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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!

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