Fall 2012

The Charmed Life of Elizabeth Olsen

Fall 2012

The Charmed Life of Elizabeth Olsen

Balmain Dress, Miriam Haskell Necklace, Dior Fine Jewelry Ring.
Marchesa Dress.
The Row Top, Jennifer Behr Hairpiece, Carolina Amato Gloves.
Christian Siriano Jacket, Chanel Dress, Dior Fine Jewelry Bracelet and ring, Nicholas Kirkwood Shoes.
Dior Dress, David Yurman Necklace (worn as bracelet), Giuseppe Zanotti Shoes.
Alexander McQueen Dress and belt, Giuseppe Zanotti Shoes.
Chanel Dress, Dior Fine Jewelry Bracelet and ring. Hair: Ted Gibson at TedGibsonBeauty.com Makeup: Genevieve at Sally Harlor Hair Colorist: Aura Friedman for Wella Professionals Manicurist: Gina Viviano using Chanel Photographer's Assistant: Christopher White
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Olsen, who hasn’t been in a serious relationship for two years, says that being single is an integral part of learning to love oneself. “It’s made me appreciate the things that I need to feel fulfilled,” she says. “Sometimes, when I’m in a relationship, I get so excited to be around the other person that I forget to indulge the things that I need to be happy on a day-to-day basis. Or at least I did—I’m such a different person now than I was two years ago.”

It’s been roughly a week since our initial meeting, and production is now underway on Very Good Girls. “It’s been busy but I’m having such a great time,” she says from the New York set of the film, for which she’s been styled in black pants and a white button-up shirt covered with tiny black polka dots. A PA walks over to hand Olsen the computer charger she’d requested. A few minutes later, a different PA approaches with another computer charger. Laughing, she says, “I’ve now got, like, 100 computer chargers. That’s the best thing about being on a movie set—you ask for a cookie and they give you a whole box.”

Even though she’s not yet accustomed to being treated like a movie star, Olsen has known the snide scrutiny of Hollywood’s glare since as long as she can remember. Her older twin sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley, were jointly cast, at all of 9 months old, as Michelle Tanner on ABC’s hit sitcom Full House. Olsen, who was little more than a toddler when the show ended its eight-season run, watched as her sisters grew into tween entertainment moguls, then teen style icons, and now adult CFDA Award–winning fashion designers, always amid a flurry of tabloid speculation and insinuation. Which makes it all that much more surprising when she describes her childhood as normal. “It was all really nice and easy,” she says. “My parents were always close, and I had great friends.”

She was raised in Los Angeles by her real estate agent father, David, and her homemaker mother, Jarnette, who divorced when she was 5. The youngest of four children (brother Trent is an L.A.– based screenwriter), she enrolled in theater camp at the age of 8, but acting seemed less exciting than kid-friendly endeavors like dance class and singing lessons and, later, volleyball practice. “My dad’s greatest pleasure is watching his kids do what they want to do,” she says, insistent that he and her mom were always proud parents rather than stage parents. “Nowadays, he loves going to my sisters’ fashion shows or coming to visit me on set.”

At 10, Olsen, who’d appeared in some of her sisters’ videos and gone out for a few small acting gigs—she even landed a TV spot about Internet parental controls that aired, “like, only in Detroit”—decided to quit auditioning when her ballet teacher  told her she’d missed too many lessons to perform at a recital with the rest of the company. “My dad literally made me write down the pros and cons of my decision,” she says. “The pro was that I loved acting. The con was that I wanted to do ballet, and acting could wait.”