The Olsen Twins Were ‘Freaks on Display’ for ‘the First 18 Years of Their Life,’ a Fan Explains

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were huge celebrities in the 1990s and 2000s. The Olsen twins had many admiring fans all over the world, and they were living life unlike most other kids their age.

However, while this experience looked glamorous on the outside, a fan explains that it was probably anything but. The fan described how one instance of meeting the Olsen twin got them to see that Mary-Kate and Ashley were often treated as “freaks on display.”

Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen
Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen | Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

The Olsen twins became famous when they were babies

The Olsen twins became Hollywood stars when they were less than 1 year old. In 1987, they both appeared on Full House to play Michelle Tanner. Mary-Kate and Ashley stayed on the show until it ended in 1995.

Afterwards, the two sisters continued to acting. They appeared in their own movies like “Passport to Paris” (1999), “Our Lips Are Sealed” (2000), and “Holiday in the Sun” (2001).

Additionally, Mary-Kate and Ashley’s popularity allowed them to build a huge brand. Aside from movies, fans of the Olsen twins could also enjoy books, magazines, video games, dolls, makeup items, clothes, and much more under their name.

A fan describes how the Olsen twins were ‘freaks on display’ for much of their childhood

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In order to promote themselves, Mary-Kate and Ashley spent a lot of time in front of other people, whether in person or through a camera lens.

According to a gallerist named Viviana Rosales Olen, who was an Olsen twins fan when she was younger, the way the sisters were often presented to the world did not leave a good taste in her mouth, as she learned during one encounter with them.

Olen met Mary-Kate and Ashley when she was 8 years old at a meet-and-greet even in Las Vegas. She shares with Town & Country, “You would go to the theme park, and then you wait in line for three hours, and then you get to the end of the line, and they’re just sitting there and they’re really tired and sad and bored. And I immediately felt like this wave of shame.”

The experience made Olen realized that these celebrities she admired were “just baking in the hot sun, like freaks on display. And that’s what they did for the first 18 years of their life, nonstop.”

The Olsen twins became a lot more private as adults

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In the mid-2000s, when the Olsen twins became adults, they started transitioning away from acting and into a behind-the-scenes career in fashion.

Mary-Kate and Ashley launched their luxury clothing line The Row, which became highly-praised in the industry and won awards from the Council of Fashion Designers in America. The Olsen twins also established a more affordable brand, Elizabeth and James, which is now sold at Kohl’s.

Today, they are much more private than they were as kids. The sisters live under the radar and rarely give interviews. After a childhood spent in front of the camera, it seems Mary-Kate and Ashley are satisfied with their new private existence.