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Elizabeth Olsen Almost Did This to Distance Herself From Her Sisters

The "WandaVision" actor says she is "very aware" of nepotism and wanted to do things on her own.

cWith her sisters being Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, two of the biggest child stars of all time, it's no surprise that Elizabeth Olsen was hesitant about getting into acting herself. She knew she would inevitably be compared to them and that people would question her talent. Now, Olsen firmly has a career that's all her own, her sisters are no longer actors, and she's opening up about her apprehensions of joining the entertainment business, including what she almost did to distance herself from the Olsen name. Read on to learn more about her experience breaking out on her own, and for another famous family who's struggled in the spotlight, check out Jada Pinkett Smith Regrets Doing This One Thing With Her Kids.

In a new interview with Grazia USA, 32-year-old Olsen said she made a point to keep her career separate from that of her sisters. "Nepotism is a thing and I'm very aware of it," she told the magazine. "And of course, I've always wanted to do it alone."

This is not the first time Olsen has spoken about separating herself professionally from her famous siblings. In fact, she even thought about using a stage name at one point. Read on to see what else the WandaVision star has said about establishing herself as an actor while being the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley. And to read about some other famous kids who are all grown up, check out The Biggest '90s Child Actors, Then and Now.

Olsen has always felt a need to prove herself.

Elizabeth Olsen 2017
Denis Makarenko /

In a January interview with The Sun, Olsen said that having famous sisters made her feel that she had to show she wasn't just benefitting from their fame. "I always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard," she said. "I couldn't walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion. The thing about nepotism is the fear that you don't earn or deserve the work."

Read about another famous family member carving her own path with Madonna's Daughter Lourdes Looks Just Like Her in New Ads.

She thought she would change her name as a kid.

Elizabeth Olsen 2019
Featureflash Photo Agency /

Olsen went on to explain that when she was a kid and hoping to become an actor, she wanted to use a different last name professionally. "There was even a part of me when I was a little girl that thought, If I'm gonna be an actress I'm going to go by Elizabeth Chase, which is my middle name," she told The Sun. But, when the time came, she decided to stick with Olsen. "Once I started working, I was like, 'I love my family, I like my name, I love my sisters. Why would I be so ashamed of that?' It's fine now."

It's obvious just by looking at them that the Olsens are sisters, but check out these 13 Celebrities You Had No Idea Were Related.

Olsen said her sisters didn't like one particular aspect of acting that she loved.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
lev radin/Shutterstock

After working together on screen from the time they were babies through their teen years, Mary-Kate and Ashley made a career change as adults and became successful fashion designers with their lines The Row and Elizabeth and James, the latter of which is named after their siblings (their older brother is James Trent Olsen, but he goes by Trent).

According to Olsen, while her older sisters were in plenty of TV shows and movies, she was the one who was always more comfortable on stage. "[Growing up] I was a dancer and I loved musical theater. It started when I was seven, there was this musical theatre camp and a bunch of my friends would go every summer," she said in The Sun interview. "Oddly my sisters didn't love being in live theater. They didn't love live audiences. They were pretty shy and it made them nervous."

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Mary-Kate and Ashley helped shape Olsen's career, because she knew she didn't want what they had.

Mary-Kate And Ashley Olsen in black cardigans and blue and pink pencil skirts in 1999
Featureflash Photo Agency /

In an interview with Parade in January, Olsen said that she asked her parents if she could try out acting when she was a child, but eventually, she decided against it after seeing what Mary-Kate and Ashley had been through. "What I saw my sisters do was work, not play, and I really enjoyed ballet, and I really enjoyed playing sports," Olsen told Parade. "[Acting] took away from that experience."

She continued, "My dad quite literally asked me to write a pros and cons list so that I could make an informed decision at the age of—I think I was in fourth grade, so you're 9 I think. So I wrote a pros and cons list and I decided that it was more important for me to be able to do extracurriculars."

For more famous brothers and sisters you may not know about, check out 17 Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Siblings.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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