Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen show off their spooky twin-brain in Vogue


It’s always interesting to think that Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen are now two of the most prominent and respected American fashion designers working today. Their luxury line, The Row, is worn by everyone from A-listers to average boutique-shoppers. In addition to The Row (the luxury line), they also do Elizabeth and James as the more middle-ground line, and Olsenboye, their teen/juniors line for JC Penney. The Row is featured in all of the fashion magazines too - Vogue was an early supporter of the line, and in the April issue, MK and Ashley sat down for a lengthy profile. The full piece is here – it’s a surprisingly good read, if you enjoy people talking about fashion (which I do). Here are the highlights:

Mary-Kate on being so close: “Some of our memories are shared. We don’t know what actually happened to whom. One of us was stung by a bee, but we can’t remember who, because we both felt it.”

Ashley on leaving acting: “I am so proud of what we did. We made kids smile every day. But we had done the most we could do.” MK: “There was a fear, but also, an exhale.”

Ashley on their lack of formal design education: “Fair question,” replies Ashley, “but Dualstar started when we were six. And we had a collection with Walmart at twelve, which was the upper tier of the tween market. It was before celebrity designers.” “And we were really designing it,” adds Mary-Kate. “It would be jeans, a bit bohemian, or with a little blazer. It was really fashion-forward.”

Ashley is more business-oriented: The twins had been brought in on all business and production decision-making since childhood, vouches Collage. Ashley thrived on absorbing business knowledge. “I loved being in those meetings!” she declares. “We were working with the smartest people, learning from them.” Ashley is often considered the financial brain, Mary-Kate the creative—though it’s more complex than that.

On the press: “The press here in New York respect you more,” Ashley notes. “It was the worst in Los Angeles when we got our license. They would follow us. They knew where we lived. And you don’t know who these people are. People just out of jail.” Being young and stalked has taken its toll. “We are paranoid,” Mary-Kate states, glancing out the window. But isn’t that not paranoia, because what you’re imagining is what’s happening? “Well,” she responds, “we have no way to tell the difference.”

MK on being exposed to fashion through TV and movie wardrobes: “It was so fun because it was all about clothing and hairstyles. We had to change twelve times every episode. There would be five or six racks of clothes there, and they cut them down to fit us—even Chanel.” Ashley: “We were involved 100 percent in the fittings. And at that age when you become so crazy about how you look sometimes there were three or four fittings. All our memories are of shooting.”

Ashley on sharing clothes: “There’s hers, there’s mine. And a huge ‘maybe’ pile.”

Ashley on the future: “I want to run a studio. I’d probably like to manage other people on their brands. It could be an artist. A young designer. It could be an existing brand.” MK: “The thing about us is we think big. Huge.”

Carey Mulligan on MK and Ashley: “I couldn’t believe what they did when I texted in a panic about having nothing to wear for my audition for Gatsby. I was hoping they’d send me some things from The Row, but then these huge boxes arrived—Ashley’s entire collection of thirties vintage dresses.”

[From Vogue]

The article also has all of these kind of spooky asides about how their twin-brain works. Like, Mary-Kate says something about how a fabric might make a good coat and Ashley immediately turns around and MK just starts fashioning a coat, with neither of them saying another word. I actually like MK and Ashley, and I’m really glad that they’re somewhat well-adjusted and that their lines do so well… but I’m just saying, they sometimes freak me out a little.


Photos courtesy of Vogue.

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44 Responses to “Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen show off their spooky twin-brain in Vogue”

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  1. lucy2 says:

    They look way younger in those photos than they usually do.
    Both probably have issues, growing up the way they did, but I give them credit for building a solid business and focusing on that instead of just blowing their millions.

  2. Genevieve says:

    They are talented and not annoying. A rarity in a celeb

  3. Delta Juliet says:

    Can you imagine trying to have a relationship with one of them? It’s got to be freaky…

  4. Jennifer says:

    I love them. I’m really glad they’ve seemingly managed to stay somewhat normal throughout all of the craziness.

  5. Kaye1 says:

    It’s confusing to me because they can look so god-awful on the red carpet, but they clearly have good heads on their shoulders.

  6. Amy says:

    It’s probably a good thing they left acting. They were cute when they were little (I loved their mystery movies and I totally watched Two of a Kind) but as they got older, doing the cute twin thing was obviously not going to last forever and they both realized that. It took them awhile to find something else to do but it’s really obvious they know fashion. They may not be the world’s best dressers but they definitely know how to sell their own products.

  7. the original bellaluna says:

    Forget their spooky twin-brain, what’s up with their spooky twin-hair?

    Honestly, I don’t think the twin-brain thing is spooky – I think it’s fascinating. And kinda cool. And they seem pretty well-adjusted for former child stars.

  8. Amanda says:

    They are so identical its freeeaky!

  9. Praise St. Angie! says:

    The Row is overpriced and overrated.

    you can get the same look at the Gap, Target, Macy’s, etc…I will never understand why it’s hailed the way it is.

  10. serena says:

    I like them a lot, and I’m glad they’re doing fine with work. Of course, after.. what 20 years?.. in show business they are a little paranoid, freak control etcetera.

  11. Rita says:

    A very “unlike Vogue” photo-shoot. These two are smart with good people around them and they seem like generally nice people. More success to them.

  12. mln76 says:

    On the twin-brain thing I don’t have a twin but me and my younger sister have a spooky connection. We have had weird experiences where we’ve had the same dream are able to finish eachother’s sentence. Been far apart and ‘known’ something was going on with the other etc. The funny part is we fight like cats and dogs.

  13. RHONYC says:

    i like the picture with the stilts. it shows they have a good sense of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously.

    kudos to them. the are sharp as tacks and are super successful young women in control of their intertwined destinies.

    cool ass chick power ambassadors 4 sho! ;-)

  14. Franny says:

    How do they have twin brain when they are fraternal twins? They are no more related than regular siblings…they just happened to be conceived at the same time. Twin brain happens to identical twins due to having split from the same egg, or so the theory goes. They most likely have a strong sisterly bond, created by shared experiences and an unusual childhood.

    I like them…they are very interesting young women.

  15. Isa says:

    I think the twin brain is cool! I’ve always wished I had a twin. I had a connection like that with my best friend since kindergarden. Not such a strong on but we could finish each others sentences and we knew each other like the back of our hand. Even now with my husband I just know things and he’ll ask me how. I can’t explain I just KNOW him. I can’t even imagine how amazing it must be to have a twin because that is truly a special life long connection.

    I hate the photos though.

  16. EdithP says:

    One got stung by a bee, but they don’t remember who because they both felt it?! Baloney, bee stings HURT, you would remember.

    And that’s what I took from that article. : )

  17. brin says:

    They may make good clothes but they always look like bag ladies.

  18. Jen says:

    “They are so identical its freeeaky!”

    No, what’s freaky is that they’re not identical twins. They’re fraternal.

  19. TQB says:

    Great to hear any of any child stars who are happy and successful. Even better to see how well MK has recovered from her eating disorder. Two very strong-willed and inspirational women.

  20. Sam says:

    @Isa – I have had similar experiences with a few friends and my husband over the years. I find when I spend a lot of time with someone I really get a feeling of what they are thinking. It is a little weird, and can spook people sometimes. My husband often says “how did you know what I was thinking??”. I think it is nice to be that close to someone, but it doesn’t always work both ways.

  21. heb says:

    at least they look clean in those photos

  22. Ruby Red Lips says:

    I know they are fraternal twins but why can’t I ever tell who is who????

    When you see one of them you think ok I know thats A/MK but then put them together and I’m who????


  23. maggiegrace says:

    But they are not identical twins, believe it or not. They share as much genetic material as a regular sibling pair.

  24. OtherChris says:

    As a mom of twins, I’m not buying the twin brain thing. Sorry. My kids are closer than regular siblings, but it’s mainly because they’ve spent about 12 hours apart in their 4 years together.

  25. tina says:

    My boyfriend has a twin brother, they’re fraternal but look more like identical twins, but genetically they’re fraternal. They definitely have a weird and very strong connection to each other. There are times when I have no idea what they’re talking about because they have this twin language thing. Fraternal or identical, sharing a womb and similar life experiences definitely causes there to be a different type of bond then just regular siblings.

  26. Trillion says:

    I respect them for leaving the acting to actual actors and quitting Hollywood.

  27. ! says:


  28. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    I’m not a twin, but my two older sisters have been for as long as I’ve known them. I’ve seen no evidence of a ‘twin brain’, there. In fact, I’m two-thirds certain that they’re different people– however, as they’re a full decade older than me, I’d be lying if I said they haven’t convinced me of pretty wack crap. They quit with that shizz when it was discovered that after hearing their fool’s gold wisdom I would prance around primary school making bold and sanity-negating pronouncements that pre-dated my own sense of craftiness. They’re both still half a bloody foot taller than me, though, so I guess someone took a pee in my gene pool and I lost again. Genetics are a troll bitch from Hell.

  29. luls says:

    R those 2 really FRATERNAL twins!!??

    How is it humanly possible that theyre so identical then? OMG, this is like 1 of those freak of nature type things…. :O

  30. Shannon says:

    My brother and I can communicate about a lot of things nonverbally, and we are not even twins. We have a 3 year age difference between us. But we discovered we could do this in an acting class when we were kids, playing a game that required you to make an agreement with someone without speaking, then switch places. It worked for us with one glance every time, far better than for the other kids there, who were our friends but not siblings. Once we started paying attention to this, we got even better at it.

    I can totally see how Mary Kate and Ashley would have a close enough bond that it appears to outsiders that they share a brain. In addition to being twins, they have had to go through the same crazy experiences together, that most people in the world can’t relate to at all. The uniqueness of their lives probably made them draw even closer together. I would imagine it’s far more about that than about them being twins.

  31. Kloops says:

    Unless they’ve had genetic testing I’m not convinced they are fraternal. Yes, I know they believe they are, but separate sacs, separate placentas do not guarantee fraternal twins. Their resemblance to one another seems far greater than your average sibling pair even taking similar environments into account.

  32. blouson says:

    I’m a twin. I have seen these two interviewed and I see a lot of my (our) behaviour in them. My sister and I learnt to tone down the twin around the outside world…but it is an incredibly intense and intimate bond. Its not psychic, its just knowing someone THAT well. I can see from 20 metres away what my twin is feeling, thinking and so on. We have the same mannerisms and sound the same. Both our husbands feel a bit strange about it because when you marry someone you expect to be the closest confidant…and in some ways thats not the case. Both used to be a bit competitive with the alternate twin ie “shes mine”, “I know her better” type vibe. On the up side now years into our marriages they are SO GRATEFUL if something truly awful happens they can just speed dial the twin and make sure their wife gets the type of support and wisdom and female intuition they just cannot provide. I don’t think the Olsens are weird, just different. Personally I think people without twins are a bit strange…I just can’t imagine what THAT would be like.

  33. burby says:

    My boyfriend is a twin. They look nearly identical so most people think they are. Strangely they even shared a placenta. However, they are definitely fraternal. Sometimes he says things that others have already mentioned, like being able to tell exactly what his brother is thinking and feeling. I really don’t agree with the statement that “they are no more related than regular siblings…they just happened to be conceived at the same time”… that might be true of some fraternal twins, but not all!

  34. bitca says:

    The Twin-deal can be bumpy. My bros are identical twins. The link is amazing, but they also share… uh, identical problems. One’s far more functional, but that flies out the window when they join forces. Some twins *need* to be apart for a while.

    Bet the Olsen-sœur college-era split was followed by a few more breakups that led to healthy, liberating steps toward maturity.

    If dressing *themselves* like bag-ladies floats their boat, whatever ;-) . Their partnership sounds sweet—& best of all, seems like MK decided to drop out of the death pool.

  35. Crash2GO2 says:

    They are so much cuter without all that black smudged eyeliner.

    Holy crap, I just took a look at The Row clothing line – talk about ridiculously expensive! It’s criminal to charge or pay that much for clothing. Good Lord.

  36. Solveig says:

    What is creepy is not that they are so identical, but that they haven’t changed a bit since childhood, apart from their identical nose jobs.
    I like them though, they seem down to earth and intelligent enough to be believable in what they do.

  37. Newbie says:

    They’re fraternal? Yikes. I would have bet my life savings (not very much at this point, I guess…damn.) that they’re identical.

  38. jemshoes says:

    I’m also fascinated by twins, and know a pair who literally do life together – and by this I mean they even live next door to one another! They’re identical twins and share this very close, unique bond. One of them is married with 3 girls, the other’s single. The twin’s wife seems to understand her husband’s bond with his brother, which is great because my mind sometimes boggles with the issues she must have had to deal with in the beginning. :)

    I like that the Olsen twins are sensible and smart when it comes to celebrity. It’s also a relief that for every Disney child star gone wrong, the Olsen twins are there getting it right most of the time.

  39. helen says:

    But didn’t MK kill Heath Ledger? Ah, how soon we forget….. ;-)

  40. Micki says:

    I’m impressed by their achievements so far. Weird ot not they are smart enough to make their money quietly and to keep their relationships more or less private. And to think that they are only 3 years older than Taylor Swift…probably there is hope for her after all. LOL

  41. Allison says:

    They’re amazing. They were my idols growing up and it’s wonderful to see how great they still are today.

  42. jenna says:

    You know, I saw them on Oprah once and found them to be quite horrible. Uppity, snooty, just totally full of themselves. Especially Mary Kate. And if you watch footage of them designing, you begin to wonder who is doing the designing: them, or their assistants?
    They do have great style though.

  43. The Bobster says:

    Pssst, they are fraternal twins. There shouldn’t be that twin connection thing going on.