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Table of contents
Mary-Kate and Ashley’s way to fame
The today’s rising showstar Amanda Bynes
Healthy teen role models?
The history behind today’s mary-kateandashley brand phenomenon
The mary-kateandashley brand phenomenon began when, at nine months old, Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen were given the shared role of Michelle Tanner in the hit U.S. television series Full House. Starting at $2,400 an episode, they quickly became the stars of that sitcom, eventually commanding $80,000 a show each! All because of Robert Thorne, an attorney specialized in showbiz, who became their manager, who soon started making out his big plans for the three year old twins. At age four, they were the youngest producers in Hollywood history, and by age six, they were worth $10 million each. And that was just the beginning. Thorne created Dualstar Entertainment Group Inc and made the twins, 7, executive producers.
After running a success for 8 years, Full House ended in 1995 when Mary-Kate and Ashley were nine years old. Everybody thought their careers were over, but the twins sure proved them wrong. The year after Mary-Kate and Ashley filmed their first and so far only feature film “It Takes Two”. It was a big hit and gave them 11 million dollars at the American box-office. But Robert Thorne had other plans for Mary-Kate and Ashley. In 1997 he produced three new videos of Mary-Kate and Ashley’s on-going series of videos "Your invited to Mary-Kate and Ashley's" and cast them in their own video adventures - and struck gold. Their series went on till the year 2000 when they released their very last video in the series "You’re invited to Mary-Kate and Ashley's School Dance Party". Until this the very busy girls released many straight-to-video movies and a sitcom.
Also this year came a big-hit movie "Our Lips Are Sealed”. The movie made Amazon.com’s bestsellers list! Soon after, in 2001, they started to make movies attached to a more grown-up audience and woke up many lost fans (among others me – BIG TIME!). The older role they played shocked some and made some people mad, but it was a way of saying “Hey, we’re growing up now and we'd like to gain a larger audience”.
After receiving many a question as to where they get their clothes from, the Mary-Kate and Ashley clothing line was released in Wal*Mart stores. The line has been a hit and has more recently come to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. A couple of Mary-Kate and Ashley entertainment stores have been opened in the states, these stores sport pretty much everything 'mary-kate and ashley' you can get!
In 2001, the girls returned to Television in the TV series “So Little Time”. It was a major hit and got the twins some recognition, Mary-Kate was nominated for a daytime Emmy. “So Little Time” however was sadly cancelled after two seasons, as the girls wanted to pursue a career on the big screen. So later in 2001 and 2002, they released their own home videos.
Today, the mary-kateandashley brand is everywhere. The brand is targeted to kids, tweens (the in betweener’s) and teens. It has sold more than 30 million videos and 40 million books. Mary-Kate and Ashley have starred in three hit television series since Full House, and have just produced and starred in their first big-screen feature film, New York Minute. It only managed to get $14 million at the U.S box office, and was a big disappointment. On the other hand they’ve been offered a 20 million dollar record deal. But the choices lay as open as they can be as they’re now worth over 600 million dollars combined and are expected to become dollar billionaires at age 21.
The youngest self made millionaires in history have hands on their money and attend to College and are expected to change and start a new chapter in their life. They’re becoming more and more individual. They have now decided to live apart to become more independent of each other and find their own identities. Despite their decision, sources say they're likely to be living together again once construction on their $7.3 million apartment in the West Village's Morton Square is completed later this year. The feternal twins are developing and becoming young women and older role models.
The today’s rising showstar Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes started early as a comedian, at age 7 she performed as a stand up comedian at home all the time. She continued this passion in a comedy camp, where her career started. As she continued to work on her craft, it was at the showcase performance in Los Angeles, “Laugh factory”, that producers Brian Robbins and Dan Schneider discovered her in 1996 and added Bynes to the cast of Nickelodeon’s "All That." After just one season, she was nominated for a 1997 CableAce Award, putting her in the company of established actresses. Known for her unique style of bold, no-holds-barred physical comedy, Bynes has risen to the top of the Nickelodeon series and remained on "All That" for four seasons.
Her talent for physical comedy came in handy when she hosted her own variety sketch show, "The Amanda Show," at the age of 12, the youngest performer to do so. The show earned her the Favourite Television Actress honor three years in a row from Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards.
Bynes has also hosted "Nickelennium," Nickelodeon's millennium celebration, "The Big Help," and the "Kids' Choice Awards”. She has been nominated for The Hollywood Reporter's Young Star Award for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Television Series.
After lending her voice to the long-running cartoon Rugrats, Bynes made the big switch from Nickelodeon to Warner Bros. with a part on the short-lived series The Nightmare Room. She had now risen from the preteen starlet on Nickelodeon to a popular, conventionally attractive young actress on Warner Bros.
In 2002 she made her feature film debut in the comedy “Big Fat Liar”. The same year she launched the Warner Bros. sitcom “What I Like About You”, playing a comedic younger sister who moves into the trendy Upper West Side apartment of her straight-laced older sister. Widely released one day after her 17th birthday, the romantic comedy “What a Girl Wants” marked her first major starring role.
After that, her career has just been very successful. She’s given voice to some computer games for children and the voice of Piper Pinwheeler in the now premiering animated movie “Robots”. We will be seeing much more to this growing star in another upcoming movie, “Lovewrecked” later this year.
Healthy teen role models?
“I am the top fan of Mary-Kate and I love Ashley to bits. I am the biggest fan in the world!”
-Megan, 13, England
“Everybody” wants to be the Olsen twins or at least get a piece of them. I’ve dug out all the information on their way to stardom and what made them so big. But “everybody” also knows that they just can’t act. They’ve been acting since they were babies, so it’s kind of ironic.
“You know, it’s funny to crack jokes (about them), but my little girl wears their clothes and looks up to them”
Already in 1991, when they were 5, Mary-Kate and Ashley were often rated number one in the girls popularity. In fact, they had become so popular that a talking Michelle Doll was modelled after them that year. After that there have been many other versions of them. Only the Barbie doll has managed to outsell the twins’ Mattel range. So they’ve been looked upon as role models since an early age.
In spite of they’re fame; neither wants to be known as a teen "role-model".
“She (Mary-Kate) is constantly scrutinized by the media, and there is a lot of pressure for her (and Ashley) to be good role models for young girls.”
They’ve grown into young women, and media has always been there following each step on the way. Sure it’s not always that great being analyzed every second. The question of them being healthy role models for all the young girls out there looking up to them, has been debated for a long time and in June 2004 many got to see a more human side of their perfect lives; Mary Kate entered a clinic for treatment of an eating disorder that she had been battling for some time.
“Mary Kate is nothing if not a great role model for young girls, and this event will not hinder that. There is no shame in falling victim to an Eating Disorder. The shame is in the society that encourages and supports them.”
-Karen Smith, Philadelphia, specialist in Eating Disorders
Ashley Olsen cancelled a trip to Australia to promote "New York Minute" to be with her sister.
"It's private," she said. "I'm here for her whenever she needs me, and, you know, that's how it works."
- Ashley Olsen
The scandal of Mary-Kate’s eating disorder hit them hard. As she rested and recovered at a hospital for three months, she met chaos when she came out. Everybody questioned her treatment – was it really an eating disorder or was it drugs? Was Ashley anorexic too? On top of that they had to promote their new movie, “New York minute”. They denied having anything to do with the “Save Mary-Kate” – t-shirts and even lost their “Got Milk” advertisement.
“I am sorry she is sick. But role model? Please! I don't think anyone in the entertainment, sports, or music industry should be considered role models for any young person. […]Just because someone has a public profile occupation doesn't make them a role model. It is those who seek them as role models that make them richer.”
“Olsen fans are more optimistic. In their posts online, they support Mary-Kate. And, yet, their "poor MK" and "MK is beautiful and always will be" comments are still surrounded by dozens titled "Am I Fat?" and one thread called "12 ways to look like MK" which reminds girls that boys love Paris Hilton and Mary-Kate, "So they'll love you, if you're ready to drop some pounds."”
Another girl that’s been questioned by the media is Amanda Bynes. While most people may see Bynes as a more passable heroine/role model for some kids, she’s in the same box as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. They’re all expected to follow the Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera way to stay famous by showing off and show they’re adults that way.
“Is it genes, anorexia or cocaine? I’m sure she (Amanda Bynes)’s hot and all, but for God’s sake, get a burger & a bag of Cheetos, man!”
But one of the Olsen twins has been proved to suffer from anorexia and when the question about them being role models comes up, they just answer it shortly with “We don’t think we’re role models”. Amanda Bynes meets the question and realise that she faces a dilemma as a performer who’s known to countless children and teens worldwide. She knows she has a duty to act responsibly for all of those who look at her as a role model.
“I think you have to embrace being a role model because you are in the public eye, and whether you like it or not, people are going to be affected by you positively or negatively. Public-wise, I really wouldn't do anything that would be detrimental to anybody else or to myself. And to a certain extent, I try to watch out and try not to do anything that would be bad for kids to see.”
- Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes became famous for her acting and loved as the comedian she is. The Olsen twins play they’re roles with a lack of personality and that’s what you really get from Bynes. She’s really giving the characters personality and she’s showing all she’s got on the screen. Over all, Amanda handles shows with maturity and grace, and for this reason she could be seen as a role model.