Back in the ’90s, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were the It girls. After starring in Full House for eight seasons, they built an empire of straight-to-VHS movies, video games, and toys. Heck, they even had an animated series, Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action! But, as with all good things, the twins’ reign over pop culture came to an end. And, unfortunately, it seems unlikely that these two will ever grace the small screen again. Read on to learn all about why the entertainment biz may have given up on casting the former child stars–and why they may have given up on the entertainment biz right back.
Audiences grew tired of their twin antics
For the better part of two decades, Mary-Kate and Ashley were a package deal. Together, the twins led shows like Two of a Kind, playing archetypal characters like the girly, outgoing pre-teen and her tomboy sister. And their TV takeover worked—for a while. But soon, the girls grew up and so did their audience. And Mary-Kate and Ashley knew it.
As Mary-Kate told Entertainment Weekly in 2007, their career wasn’t about acting but rather "about entertaining a specific audience." And with their viewers having become adults, their twin-based projects apparently just weren’t going to cut it.
Their last film tanked
The final big-screen project Mary-Kate and Ashley worked on together, the 2004 movie New York Minute, did little to impress the media. "The story is supposed to be about the twins’ adventures in Manhattan," Newark Star-Ledger‘s Stephen Whitty wrote (via Rotten Tomatoes). "Mostly it’s an excuse for the two to visit different neighborhoods and the script to drag in every stereotype the writers can think of."
But what made the movie even worse was it’s apparent attempt to sexualize the twins, who turned 18 years old only one month after its release (via the Today show). Gross.
Mary-Kate traded in wholesome roles for more mature gigs
Following her years portraying squeaky-clean, family-friendly characters, Mary-Kate started to explore her darker side, playing pot-loving 20-somethings in Weeds and The Wackness—the latter of which featured a scene where she makes out with Oscar-winning actor Ben Kingsley. But the move didn’t please everybody. Entertainment Weekly praised her attempt to "play it cool" in Weeds but described her performance as "a bit stiff." Furthermore, the magazine’s critic also found it slightly off-putting to see Mary-Kate getting sexy with another character on the small screen. Apparently, nobody was ready to see Michelle Tanner get naughty.
Ashley lost her passion for acting
While Mary-Kate tried to navigate Hollywood solo, sister Ashley was ready to call it quits on her former career. So, when an offer came a-knockin’ in the form of Full House spin-off Fuller House, the blonde beauty turned it down. Regarding the twins’ absence from the series, executive producer Bob Boyett told People, "Ashley said, ‘I have not been in front of a camera since I was 17, and I don’t feel comfortable acting.’"
He added, "Mary-Kate said, It would have to be me because Ash doesn’t want to do it."
Their focus is on fashion
After the fraternal twins said goodbye to acting, they set their sights on an entirely different industry: fashion. Running both The Row and Elizabeth and James, Mary-Kate and Ashley have made names for themselves as fashionistas to follow. The two were even honored with the award for Accessories Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards in 2014, cementing their place in fashion history (via Us Weekly).
Given the demands of the sisters’ fashion careers, it’s doubtful that Mary-Kate and Ashley have any time to spare for Tinseltown.
Mary-Kate prioritizes family life
When she’s not running her clothing lines, Mary-Kate spends her free time with her husband, banker Olivier Sarkozy, whom she married in 2015. And her new family certainly keeps her occupied when she’s not working on new designs. Reflecting on how hectic her and her sister’s professional lives have become, Mary-Kate told Net-a-Porter, "We don’t need so much time to sit and think and ponder," adding, "But then I have a husband, two step-kids and a life; I have to go home and cook dinner."
With loved ones to care for, it’s no surprise Mary-Kate’s all but disappeared from the limelight.
They both have super busy schedules
To secure one’s legacy, a person needs a strong work ethic. Luckily for them, Mary-Kate and Ashley don’t appear to have a shortage of ambition or determination, but, as for most people, that can make their lives super stressful. "I’ve always been a worker," Ashley told Net-a-Porter in a March 2017 interview. "It has taken me a lot to figure out how to take a vacation."
While they have a way to balance their stressful professions—Mary-Kate rides horses, for example—the sisters are clearly in no position to add any acting gigs to their plates.
They have zero social media presence
To make it in Hollywood these days, an actor needs to have a social media following. The Olsen twins, however, don’t boast a single public platform. And while fans are likely still interested in the goings-on of the It Takes Two stars, it’s pretty darn difficult to learn anything about their lives today, save for the occasional interview. In fact, Mary-Kate and Ashley had never even shared a selfie before their April 2016 takeover of Sephora’s Instagram account.
Not being able to promote any potential acting projects with the simple click of a button? Yeah, that’s probably a major con for Hollywood’s casting agents.
Their sister stole the spotlight
Years after Mary-Kate and Ashley took a bow from the entertainment industry, their younger sister Elizabeth emerged on the scene as a promising new star. Rather than adopt her sisters’ previous G-rated image, Elizabeth, who studied acting at the Tisch School of the Arts, launched her career with dramas like Silent House and Martha Marcy May Marlene. But she truly made her mark in Hollywood when she took on the role of superhero Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
With her prominence in the biz rising, Elizabeth became the Olsen sister to watch (via Business Insider).
Will they make a comeback?
Though the Olsen twins have largely avoided acting since the early 2000s, there are surely plenty of fans out there just waiting for the iconic pair to reclaim their place among Hollywood’s elite. And since their library of work was acquired by Nickelodeon in 2015, there’s always a chance that Mary-Kate and Ashley will boost their fan base with showings of old movies and TV series—which could easily pave the way for their return. Fingers crossed these two aren’t completely finished with their days in front of the camera!