The Olsen twins branch out -- ''Full House'''s Mary-Kate and Ashley infiltrate the tween market

By Scott Brown
Updated November 24, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

The Olsen twins branch out

They’re steadily infiltrating every sector of the entertainment business: television, video, motion pictures, dolls, you name it. They’re even planning to launch their own magazine and Wal-Mart clothing label. And they’re more or less identical. No, we’re not talking about Martha Stewart and her clone, Martha 2.0. We’re talking about Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the Full House twins-turned-multimillion-dollar megabrand. EW recently sat down with the perky pair for a very confusing speakerphone chat about their new Oprah-esque glossy, their seventh video feature, Our Lips Are Sealed, and the difference between twins and ”tweens.”

Tell me about this magazine of yours. Will you be on every cover, like Oprah?
Ashley: I don’t think so.
Mary-Kate: No.
Ashley: It’ll start off with our faces, but then, once the Mary-Kate and Ashley magazine is known, that’s when we’ll put other people on the front.

Who just said that?
Ashley: Ashley.

O…kay. Anyway, your empire is vast, and fast expanding. If the Justice Department threatened to pull a Microsoft on you and divide you in two, how would you react?
Ashley: I don’t think we’ll separate right now —
Mary-Kate: [overlapping] — separate right now, maybe in the future we’ll do…
Ashley: …a movie or something.
Mary-Kate: Separately.
Ashley: One day when we’re a lot older, but we have no idea when that will be. But for right now, we’re… together.

Well, you’ve certainly been a successful team. How many videos have you made?
Ashley: Six? Five or six? [Our Lips Are Sealed] is the fourth or fifth one for long-form video.

What’s your next one?
Ashley: It’s called Winning London.
Mary-Kate: Wasn’t that the sixth or seventh one? Ashley: I really have no idea which one it is. Anyway, Winning London is about two girls who are in the Model U.N. program —
Mary-Kate: [overlapping] — the Model U.N. program…
Ashley: …and they go to London.

Your publicist kept using the word tweens to describe your target audience. Does she have a funny accent, or is that actually a word?
Ashley: It’s like teenagers… 12-year-olds… not quite 15 or 16…
Mary-Kate: …like ”in between”…
Ashley: …and you know what? The first time I heard them using that, I had no idea what they were talking about.

Is it hard being a twin tween?
[In unison] No.
Ashley: It’s fun.

How did I know you were going to say that? Speaking of which: Are you the psychic kind of twins?
Ashley: Sometimes when we look at each other, we know what the other’s thinking. But that’s basically it. We [can’t] talk to each other through our brains.

No special powers, then? Nothing where you touch rings and one of you becomes a liquid and the other an animal?
No. We know what the other’s thinking sometimes, when we look at each other.

Wait, who said that? Oh, forget it. Do you two date?
Ashley: We don’t date or anything. We have a lot of guys that are friends, and we usually just hang out with them. We don’t like…
Mary-Kate: …date.

When you do start dating, do you think you’ll go on double dates together?
[In unison] No.
Mary-Kate: That’s kind of, like…
Ashley: Weird.
Mary-Kate: Weird.
Ashley: Weird or creepy.

So characterize your twinship.
[In unison] Um.
Ashley: You mean, like, do we have a really close relationship?
Mary-Kate: We’re, like, basically, best friends. I mean, we don’t say anything at the same time…. We definitely have, like, different identities.