Elizabeth Olsen says she always knew she didn’t want to ride the coattails of her famous older sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, even from a very young age.
The actress revealed in a new cover story for Glamour UK‘s April digital issue that when she was first starting off her career she considered using her middle name, Chase, so as not to benefit from her siblings’ name recognition. “I was 10 and I was curious about auditioning…and I realized very quickly it wasn’t for me because I was missing my sports teams, my dance class and all the extracurricular activities at school,” she explained. “But during that time, I thought, ‘I don’t want to be associated with [Mary-Kate and Ashley],’ for some reason. I guess I understood what nepotism was like inherently as a 10-year-old. I don’t know if I knew the word, but there is some sort of association of not earning something that I think bothered me at a very young age.” She added that she eventually realized that desire to change her last name “had to do with my own insecurities,” but that she remembered thinking as a child, “’I’m going to be Elizabeth Chase when I become an actress.’”
But while she may have once viewed her sisters’ fame as a potential hinderance to her own success, Elizabeth said they also passed down the best piece of advice from all their professional experiences: “’No’ is a full sentence.” She continued, “The word ‘No’ specifically was something that I remember my sisters isolating and it becoming really empowering. For women, it’s a really empowering word. People say ‘Just say no to drugs,’ but truly, you can just say no whenever the hell you want! It’s really a powerful thing.” And because they instilled that in her, Elizabeth said, “I always felt like I could say ‘No’ in any work situation—if someone was making me feel uncomfortable—and I just feel like that’s what we need. We don’t have to follow suit if it doesn’t feel right. We need to be listening to our gut. There was a time where women were competing with one another and now we’re at a time where women are holding each other up.”
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