Kate's Notes

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ashley Olsen

Ashley Fuller Olsen

Ashley Fuller Olsen (both born June 13, 1986) is the other half of the Olson Twin empire that began with the role of Michelle Tanner on the sitcom, "Full House." Her fraternal twin sister, Mary-Kate, was also used as the two tots playing the minor character. After their young break out role, they produced a series of straight to video kids series called The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley. Since then, they have attained international fame through numerous television programs, films, interviews, as well as commercial endorsements. Until their late teens, they appeared together in order to substantiate their public persona. However, since they turned 18, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have made an effort to not be intrinsically linked together. Ashley Olsen has emerged with a clean-cut image, being the more stable of the two, and is often left out of the gossip columns, unlike her sister, Mary-Kate.

Early Life and Career

Mary-Kate and Ashley Fuller Olsen were born in Sherman Oaks, California to David Olsen (b. 1953) and Jarnette (Jarnie) Fuller (b. 1954). They began their acting careers on the television series “Full House” in 1987. They were hired at the tender age of six months, and began filming when they were only nine months old. They starred along side Bob Saget, John Stamos, Candace Cameron, Dave Coulier, and many others. The show was widely popular during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and both sisters played the same character, Michelle Tanner. They both took turns playing the young character in order to comply with strict child labor laws regarding child actors. For the first year, Ashley would cry every time she was brought on set to do a scene, so Mary-Kate ha d more screen time in the first season. Because the producers did not want viewers to know that Michelle was played by twins, the sisters were originally credited as "Mary Kate Ashley Olsen", but in the last season and most of season one, they were credited as separate people. During the eight year run, Mary-Kate and Ashley made several straight-to-video movies in the The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley series, in addition to "Full House," such as To Grandmother's House We Go (1992).

Mary-Kate and Ashley have an older brother, Trent, and younger sister, Elizabeth, as well as two half-siblings, Taylor (b. 1996), and Jake (b. 1997). The twins' parents divorced in 1995, and Taylor and Jake are the children from their father's second marriage to Martha Mackenzie-Olsen.

Later Career

Ashley has said of Mary-Kate, "She's always there for me when I need her; She's my best friend; she's just my everything." Shortly after the end of Full House, they returned to the entertainment industry, riding the momentum of their role on "Full House" by heavily merchandising their image. They established a company called Dualstar in 1993 and their brand is sold in more than 3,000 stores in America and over 5,300 stores worldwide. Their likeness can be seen in clothes, fragrances, magazines, movies and posters marketed toward the preteen American. There were also Mary-Kate and Ashley fashion dolls made by Mattel from 2000-2005.

Mary-Kate and Ashley were popular figures in the preteen market during the late 1990s and early 2000s, and were compared to other such Hollywood teen stars as Judy Garland, Shirley Temple and Mickey Rooney among others. They were ranked at number three on the VH1 program 100 Greatest Child Stars.

They also starred in the ABC show "Two of a Kind", as well as ABC Family's "So Little Time." "So Little Time" was panned by critics and disappointed fans, because of the shows single camera videotaping and laugh track.

In 2004, Mary-Kate and Ashley announced that they would be attending college after graduating high school. Most child and teenage actors usually choose to pursue acting full time after graduating from high school, with few (such as Brooke Shields, Jodie Foster, Julia Stiles, and Natalie Portman) choosing to further their education. They both studied at New York University at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study; however, Mary-Kate took a break from life at New York University, where she majored in photography. Though Mary-Kate moved to Los Angeles in 2004, Ashley, still in New York, remained in close contact with her sister.

They have also been on the Forbes’ "The Celebrity 100 list" since 2002, and they became the youngest self-made millionaires in American history before they were 10 years old.

Other Work

In 1990, the Mary-Kate and Ashley books were launched, and are still a huge success today, often listed as bestsellers in USA Today. In 1995, the companion book series to their Adventures videos.

Mary-Kate and Ashley have a clothing line in Wal-Mart stores across America for little girls ages 4-14 as well as a beauty line called "Mary-Kate and Ashley: Real Fashion for Real Girls;” though when they were initially approached with the idea of a clothing line, they thought they wanted to go more upscale. However, talks with their board of directors changed their minds, and they decided to make clothes relatable with a more general buying public.

In 2004 they made news by signing a pledge to allow all the workers that sew their line of clothing in Bangladesh full maternity leave. The National Labor Committee, which organized the pledge, later praised the twins for their commitment to worker rights. The director of the organization, Charles Kernaghan is quoted as saying, "The Olsen twins have done the right thing. Now it is up to Wal-Mart to either support Mary-Kate and Ashley’s commitment to women’s rights, or tragically to shut them down."

Both Mary-Kate and Ashley have been tapped as the faces of upscale fashion line Badgley Mischka. They have also been working on a new couture label 'The Row' named after the famous Savile Row of London.

Their most recent theatrical venture was in the light-hearted romantic comedy, New York Minute, also starring Eugene Levy. The film was expected to launch the girls into more serious mature roles, but was a box office flop, and only served to hinder their adult acting careers.

Personal Life

As the sisters grow older and mature in their style, there has been greater interest in their fashion choices. Their fashion choices, however, haven't been without controversy. Ashley Olsen was included on PETA's 2006 Worst Dressed list for wearing fur.

Ashley filed a $40 million lawsuit against tabloid magazine National Enquirer for printing a headline reading "Ashley Olsen Caught In Drug Scandal," with a story accompanied by an unflattering photo of Ashley with her eyes half-closed. The lawsuit stated that the photo was clearly used to create a misimpression that Olsen was drugged. Ashley completely denies the accusations and said that she has not and does not use or sell illegal drugs. The suit consisted of $20 million in libel damages and $20 million in false light invasion of privacy damages. Per her suit, Ashley Olsen and her lawyers believe that "freedom of the press is a valuable right, but it is not a license for gossipy tabloids to tar and feather innocent celebrities and destroy their reputations and businesses for the rag's profits."

Ashley Olsen, who was then 18, was dating a Manhattan entrepreneur, Scott Sartiano who was at the time 30 years old in 2004. In July of 2005, she was rumored to be dating eligible Hollywood bachelor Jared Leto. The were spotted together in New York - where Olsen was a student at New York University.

Charity Work

Ashley Olsen supports the Toy Mountain Campaign which helps the Salvation Army distribute toys to Ottawa's less fortunate children.


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