- Studio Photoshoots > 2019 > Session 006
WHAT WHEN WEAR: A loose linen blouse. An untouched plate of madeleines. An empty French bistro in the Valley on a Tuesday at 4 p.m. These are the poised circumstances under which I spend an afternoon attempting to better understand one of Hollywood’s most discreet young celebrities: Elizabeth Olsen.
The 30-year-old actress’s identity doesn’t seem like it would lend itself to much mystery. Since 2014, Olsen has starred as the Scarlet Witch in Marvel’s superhero movie franchise—one of the most-watched film series in entertainment history. (This summer’s Avengers: Endgame quickly became the second-highest-grossing movie of all time.) It’s a role she’ll reprise later with WandaVision, a Disney+ spin-off series about her superhero character coming spring 2021. In the meantime, Olsen executive produces and stars in Sorry for Your Loss, a drama series following Olsen as Leigh, a young widow struggling to deal with the sudden loss of her husband. (The show airs on Facebook Watch, and its second season premieres October 1.) By any objective measure, business is booming for Olsen, the younger sibling of Ashley and Mary-Kate, who long ago reached a level of fame so behemoth they no longer need a last name. The Olsens are as much American royalty as the Kennedys or the Rockefellers. I should know everything about Elizabeth Olsen.
And yet, as soon as she walks through the door of Petit Trois (the setting she chose for our interview) and introduces herself to me, it sinks in how little I do know. “I’m Lizzie,” she says with a jumpy half-hug, half-handshake—though the awkwardness is entirely my fault. I’m caught off guard that the young starlet lives just outside of L.A., around the corner from where she grew up (I would have pegged her for more of a hip Eastside girl), and I never knew she went by the cozy nickname. “Thanks for coming to the Valley,” she says, smiling.
Following behind two heavy-hitting child stars turned esoteric fashion moguls, Olsen, who decided at a young age to pursue a career in acting (and obtained a degree in it from NYU), had prodigious shoes to fill. Her on-screen breakout, a critically lauded lead in the 2011 Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene, suggested that Olsen would be taking a cleverly divergent route from her older sisters—one of a risk-taking indie cinema darling. Some of her filmography still reflects that identity—roles in quirky small-budget dramedies like 2012’s Liberal Arts and 2017’s Ingrid Goes West.