Elizabeth Olsen once considered dropping her last name and instead going by Elizabeth Chase, her middle name, as a way to distance herself from her two very famous sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
“I was 10 and I was curious about auditioning … and I realized very quickly it wasn’t for me because I was missing my sports teams, my dance class and all the extracurricular activities at school. But during that time, I thought, ‘I don’t want to be associated with (Mary-Kate and Ashley),’ for some reason," Olsen told Glamour UK.
From a very young age, the "WandaVision" star said she wanted to be sure she earned roles based on her talent and hard work, not because she's the younger sister of the twins who played Michelle Tanner on "Full House."
"I guess I understood what nepotism was like inherently as a 10-year-old," she said. "I don’t know if I knew the word, but there is some sort of association of not earning something that I think bothered me at a very young age. It had to do with my own insecurities, but I was 10."
Olsen, 32, also opened up about how she struggled with panic attacks when she was in her 20s and living alone in New York City and just getting started in her career. She ultimately learned "brain tricks," including focusing on items around her and being present in the moment to stop the spinning feeling she experienced.
While her sisters quit acting and established their fashion house, The Row, in 2006, Olsen said they gave her a piece of advice that has been vital throughout her career: No is a full sentence.
“The word ‘No’ specifically was something that I remember my sisters isolating and it becoming really empowering,” she said. “And for women, it’s a really empowering word. People say ‘Just say no to drugs,’ but truly, you can just say no whenever the hell you want! It’s really a powerful thing.
"I always felt like I could say ‘No’ in any work situation — if someone was making me feel uncomfortable — and I just feel like that’s what we need. We don’t have to follow suit if it doesn’t feel right," she said. "We need to be listening to our gut. There was a time where women were competing with one another and now we’re at a time where women are holding each other up."
That sense of empowerment has served Olsen well when she's had to navigate difficult moments on set
“I’ve always been very confident with the story I’m telling and how I’m telling it. Sometimes I’ll feel very vulnerable, but I know why I’m vulnerable, so I’ll get a little uncomfortable, but I don’t feel taken advantage of," she said. "I’ve had experiences where — and I was young — but there was a producer that I didn’t feel comfortable around on set when I had certain scenes to do. I asked the director not to have him there and they listened."