How The Olsen Twins Helped Shape Elizabeth's Acting Career

Long before Elizabeth Olsen was a shining star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she was only known as the younger sister of two of the biggest names in Hollywood: Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. The Olsen twins dominated popular culture in the 1980s and 1990s, first as the youngest actors on the set of the sitcom Full House and then through an empire that consisted of hit movies, videos, and merchandise. Their acting careers slowed down in the 2000s as the Olsen twins pivoted to becoming fashion moguls, even naming one of their lines, Elizabeth and James, in honor of their siblings (via Biography).

Growing up in the shadow of such overwhelming fame wasn't always easy for Elizabeth. As a child, she was always on the periphery of her sisters' fame, but she wasn't part of their world. "It was insanity," she told The Sun. "There were times when my sisters would always be spotted and I would be in the car with them and it would really freak me out."

Elizabeth Olsen wanted to make it on her own

Elizabeth struggled for years to establish an identity for herself outside of her siblings. In a way, though, this proved to be a good thing. "It has helped me navigate how I want to approach my career," she revealed. "I always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard. I couldn't walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion."

For a while, Elizabeth toyed with the idea of distancing herself from the twins. "The thing about nepotism is the fear that you don't earn or deserve the work," she said. "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."

Elizabeth eventually decided against using a stage name and has since proven to the world that she is a star in her own right. The actress has made it clear throughout her career that she's achieved everything she has on her own and not by using her connection. "I decided that as long as I felt confident and worked hard for it, instead of having it handed to me, no one could take that away from me," she told The Guardian in 2012. "I don't have any insecurity about it. I never got any job because of my sisters. I could have pulled a few strings through them, but I never needed to."

This is why Elizabeth Olsen decided not to be a child star

Seeing how her sisters grew up, though, did make Elizabeth decide to wait a few years to pursue her acting career instead of going the child star route. Elizabeth wanted to act but realized that she'd have to give up a lot to follow that path as a kid.

"What I saw my sisters do was work, not play, and I really enjoyed ballet, and I really enjoyed playing sports," the WandaVision star told Parade. "It took away from that experience. 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."