“He was forced parents? Was it fame? Fashion? Was it the take-out coffees, oversized sunglasses and cigarettes? Or is it nostalgia? What makes the Olsen sisters so mysterious? What attracts us? And them? Are you a Mary-Kate or an Ashley? asks a voice in stopped female at the start of the documentary essay Twins (Twin) on a series of images from the Olsen sisters from childhood to adulthood. The voice belongs to British-Indian documentary filmmaker Sara Meerza, who attempts to understand and explain the collective obsession of millennial women with the Olsen twins, as well as their cultural impact and legacy.
Everyone knows the Olsen: child stars at nine months, when they were barely crawling, thanks to the success of the series forced parents (1989) and, later, children’s film Two for the price of one (Year one thousand nine hundred and ninety-five). As they got older, they managed to grow with their audiences, starring in youth films of entanglements and chaste crushes where the sisters already showed their two distinct and marked personalities: Ashley was the good one, Mary-Kate was the bad one. . In 2004, when they starred in the comedy new york minute, They were already 18 years old and had a fortune estimated at 137 million dollars. Once of age, they became fashion icons, carrying the style of the moment as their flag: the bohemian chic. At that age, as the world continued to watch them, the harassment of paparazzi and the press, as well as the extreme sexualization of the two sisters (on the internet there was a countdown to determine when it would be legal to sleep with them). In 2010, in one of her rare interviews, Mary-Kate told the magazine Marie Claire that she didn’t wish “anyone” the childhood she had lived, that she didn’t recognize herself in those old photographs: “We were like two blond monkeys”. Today, they have chosen the shadow and not the light of the spotlight, converted into entrepreneurs in the fashion industry with their signature Linewith which they won in 2012 the US Fashion Council award for the best women’s fashion designers of the year, something like the Oscar for fashion. Currently, his fortune is estimated to be $500 million.
To this day, his fame cannot be compared to that of today’s stars. This was stated by Meerza herself in a interview with content platform We presentbelonging to WeTransfer, where the documentary can already be seen: “Due to the rise of social networks, there is no longer any mystique for anyone. Our relationship with the Olsen twins is a form of fandom at the old that no longer exists.”
Meerza was a fan of the sisters. Born and raised in London, she recounts how her father and relatives brought her collectibles from the twins that could only be found in the United States. Meerza, like many of her friends and women she met throughout her life, was fascinated by them. In the documentary, she tells how much she admired this indestructible bond, this brotherhood that does not have to be between sisters, this courage, this funny way of solving and overcoming problems, and also her style. But, above all, she admired this world of girls in which you could be whoever you wanted without being judged and feeling accompanied at all times: “There is something really powerful in being two pure individuals, but still so close. ” Perhaps the key to everything lies in that last question at the start of the documentary: “Are you a Mary-Kate or are you an Ashley?”
In an episode of the animated series Bojack Rider -a finely-tuned satire on the Hollywood industry through a protagonist turned former TV glory whose moment of splendor was featured in a sitcom family in the 1990s- several actors, writers and journalists do analysis during a dinner between two characters from a TV show that included twins, a reflection of the Olsens themselves. One was called Zoe and the other, Zelda. Zöe, like Mary-Kate, always played the rebellious character, the masculine girl who loved sports and always had her mouth covered in spaghetti sauce, introverted, ironic and sarcastic, the sick. Zelda, like Ashley, was the good, polished girl, the one with good grades, sweet, outgoing, and optimistic. According to this series, the Zoë/Zelda paradigm can define anyone in the world (from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, from Britney Spears to Christina Aguilera), just as it happened to those teenage girls, now millennials, who tried to discover their identity through Olsen’s films, full of archetypes, yes, but also of possibilities.
The fascination with the Olsen twins goes beyond forced parents, celebrity, fashion or images of the two smoking in the streets of New York: it’s about identity and transformation. Having grown up in their footsteps, Meerze recognizes herself as the girl who bought the magazines they appeared in, as well as the sophisticated adult who longs to be able to buy an outfit from The Row. Identity and transformation, given the fact that they are twins, is one of Meerze’s lines of work: in the paradigm of Ashley and Mary-Kate, women could see themselves reflected in both, so similar and at the same time so different. Or at least knowing that, in an ideal of sisterhood, even if you were a Mary-Kate, you would still have an Ashley by your side.