Everything Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen Accomplished After Hollywood

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were thrust into the spotlight as 9-month-olds. The twins reached adulthood in front of the camera, first as Michelle Tanner on Full House and then with a string of straight-to-video movies and TV shows. Though the twins achieved a wild level of success at a young age, they deviated from the child star mold when they hit adulthood.
The plot twist in the Olsen twins' story came in 2004. The twins were turning 18 and heading to NYU for college. They had just made their last movie. Instead of continuing their acting career, the sisters pivoted and delved into the fashion industry. And here's the thing: They're great at it.
Advertisement
Years later, the Olsen twins have once again achieved wild success, this time as designers. Unlike their former days as child actors, the Olsens have cloistered themselves from the public eye. Now, they come out of hibernation every few years for an interview or a gala.
On their journey from playing Michelle Tanner to becoming eccentric millionaires, the Olsen twins defied our expectations of what child stars do after stardom. For Mary-Kate and Ashley's 31st birthday, here's a look at what they did after quitting acting for good.
Read These Stories Next:
1 of 15
But first: What the Olsen twins didn't do.

They have not become president (yet), though they expressed desire to do so in this gem.

"No one tells the president what to do," they said. "No one tells the president how to speak." All passable reasons for becoming the president, as we now know too well.

While the Olsen are clearly political psychics, Mary-Kate and Ashley's career didn't continue in Washington.
2 of 15
Here's what they did do: Become millionaires.

In 2007, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were ranked as the 11th-richest women in entertainment by Forbes. At the time, their company, Dualstar Entertainment Group, was selling $1 billion in Mary-Kate and Ashley merchandise a year.

They were 21 at the time.
3 of 15
Peter Foley / EPA/REX/Shutterstock
Everything changed for the Olsen twins in 2004.

The year was 2004 and the sisters were heading to New York University. Their final-ever film, New York Minute, hit theaters — and was critically panned. Mary-Kate Olsen had quietly checked herself into a treatment center for an eating disorder.

And in the midst of this swarm of media attention, the Olsen twins gained legal control of Dualstar Entertainment Group, their production company, the day they turned 18.

While freshmen at NYU, the twins showed aptitude as business owners. The challenge was to ensure Dualstar, and all its Olsen-related merchandise, matured along with the Olsen twins' demographic. Saccharine videos, books, and clothes weren’t going to cut it for a teen audience. So, they steered the company toward furniture design and fragrance, too.
4 of 15
Out of NYU and into the school of life.

In 2005, Mary-Kate Olsen became the first of the twins to drop out of NYU. "I need to be able to go to yoga and work out and just read scripts and go on auditions, because that's what makes me happy. You know? Like, papers don't really make me happy," Olsen told W Magazine.

Instead of going to class, she spent her time at the Dualstar offices, discussing major decisions with the company's CEO, Diane Reichenberger.

Ashley dropped out soon after, and they embarked on a career in fashion together.
Advertisement
5 of 15
Courage/Dualstar Prods./Tapestry/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
From style icons to designers.

As girls, Mary-Kate and Ashley were aware of the effect their fashion statements had on what people actually wore.

In 2007, Mary-Kate told W Magazine of an instance in which she saw a girl wearing the same glasses she owned. "Ashley and I kind of giggled about it because they looked good," Olsen said. "It could have gone the other direction, and we'd be thinking, What have we done to these people?"

In 2013, Mary-Kate Olsen reflected to Net-a-Porter on their lifetime of trendsetting.

“When we were younger, being in the public eye was almost part of our role and responsibility – to set the trends at that time or be ahead of fashion,” Mary-Kate said.
6 of 15
Say goodbye to Hollywood, and hello to the runway.

In 2005, the twins began their own fashion line: the Row, named for Savile Row, a shopping street in London.

The Row began as a personal challenge. Ashley Olsen was determined to design the perfect T-shirt. The twins tested the T-shirt extensively by "just putting it on bodies, on anyone from 12 to 60, and different sizes," Mary-Kate told Interview.

In the year-and-a-half-long process, the Olsens got a first-hand education in design.

“It was learning about production and manufacturing, one piece at a time,” Ashley continued.

With the T-shirt came a seven-piece collection, including a cashmere wool tank dress and sateen leggings. Barney's New York bought the Row's first complete line.
7 of 15
Marion Curtis/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock
In 2006, the Olsens became the face of Badgley Mischka.

The twins spent a lifetime trendsetting, but their status as style icons was confirmed when they became the faces of Badgley Mischka.

"Ashley and Mary-Kate have grown up to become America's young style icons. They have an amazing sense of fashion and individuality that intrigued us,” wrote Mark Badgley and James Mischka in a statement announcing the news.

As part of Badgley Mischka's ad campaign, photographs of the twins appeared in Vogue, Elle, InStyle, and Vanity Fair.
8 of 15
Charles Sykes/Rex/REX/Shutterstock
The fashion lines continued.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's fashion career has evolved since the Row. They designed Olsenboye, a line for JCPenney. They headed StyleMint, a foray into customizable T-Shirts. And in 2007, they started Elizabeth and James, a line which seeks to fill the gap between luxury and affordability.

Mary-Kate Olsen described the Elizabeth and James' woman's look as being "effortless, confident, and eclectic."

“We just want to help women feel however they want to feel,” Mary-Kate told The Edit of their purpose with Elizabeth and James' clothing.
9 of 15
Chris Pizzello/AP/REX/Shutterstock
In 2008, they entered the book biz.

Their book, Influence, features interviews with leading names in fashion and style, like Karl Lagerfeld and Diane Von Furstenberg.
Advertisement
10 of 15
Kristen Somody Whalen/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock
In 2009, they entered the big leagues.

At the age of 23, the Olsen twins were invited to join the Council of Fashion Designers (CFDA). They were the youngest designers ever to do so.

“Welcome to the elite special High Order of Fashion. You are one of us now," CFDA president Diane Von Furstenberg told the new class of inductees, including Alexander Wang and Jason Wu.
11 of 15
Will Ragozzino/BFA/REX/Shutterstock
Spoiler alert: They're really good at what they do.

The awards keep rolling in.

In 2012 and 2015, the Row went home with the CFDA's highly prestigious accolade for the Womenswear Designer of the Year. In 2014, the Row also won the CDFA Award for Accessories Designer of the Year.

2015 was a big year for the sisters. In addition to the CFDA award, the Olsen twins were deemed the Fashion Innovators of the Year by WSJ Magazine. Take it from the WSJ Magazine experts themselves, who said "the twin designers display an eye for nearly monastic classicism that’s redefining American luxury."
12 of 15
Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock
As of 2011, they're the creative directors of Superga.

Their fashion career began with a search for the perfect T-shirt. Now heading the Italian shoe label Superga, the twins aim to create the perfect sneaker.

"I really don't think there's anything like this brand. It's a tennis-shoe brand with 100 years under its belt," Ashley Olsen told WWD.

For Superga's 100th birthday, the twins designed a line of cashmere sneakers.
13 of 15
Joe Schildhorn/BFA/REX/Shutterstock
They live private lives.

"We’ve stayed quite sheltered," Ashley Olsen told The Edit in the understatement of the century. Since leaving Hollywood, the twins have abstained from social media and any degree of making their personal lives public.

In 2011, Mary-Kate explained why to Style. "We’ve spent our whole lives trying to not let people have that accessibility," she said.

Still, we know some things. In 2015, Mary-Kate Olsen married Olivier Sarkozy, a French banker who happens to be the brother of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Now a wife and step-mother, Mary-Kate strikes a balance between work and personal life.

"We don’t need so much time to sit and think and ponder. But then I have a husband, two step-kids and a life; I have to go home and cook dinner," she told The Edit.
14 of 15
Lorimar/Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
They rarely dwell on their youth.

While we might be nostalgic for Mary-Kate and Ashley's youth, they certainly aren't.

“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,” Mary-Kate told Marie Claire.
15 of 15
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celebrity news, fun takes on pop culture, and trending stories on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
Advertisement