MARY-KATE OLSEN RETURNS TO EARTH
italics adapted from Marie Claire, September 2010
What the world needs now is Mary-Kate. Without
her, there’s no sun. No crops, no picnics, no Spring
collection from her fashion house, The Row. So long
ago, websites counted down the minutes to the twins’
eighteenth birthday. “Gentlemen, start your engines
and get out your best booze” when the “Olsen Meter”
struck midnight. So long ago, her already small frame
appeared alarmingly thin, her eye makeup got darker.
We almost lost her, back when chunky rings dwarfed
her tiny fingers, when her suitors were Hermes, Ares,
Apollo, Hephaestus, Heath Ledger. Now she’s tied to
Hades for six long months each year. Now the internet
counts down the days to her return. When snow gives way
to slush and mud, when the earth’s green flush comes
slowly back, Mary-Kate is coming, bringing warmth
and flowers and soft, stretch-leather leggings.
In photographs, Mary-Kate wears her Archaic smile:
part flirt, part imp. Exaggerated. Waif-like. She drifts
around her old home in ethereal robes of intentionally
crumpled white cotton or gray, weathered-looking silk.
She’s come to dread the poke of grass spears on her naked
arches. Hanging out with her is walking through an old
Italian villa: exquisite and fragile and slightly haunted.
You can see it in photographs: wry, world-weary beauty.
Unbrushed surfer curls. She hides from the dazzling
weather she brings with her, tends to curl around herself
and drag deeply off her cigarette. Everyone aghast at her
bag-lady-chic aesthetic, her dramatic, ghostly air. After all,
her little heart-shaped face brings life and parties. Once,
Mary-Kate and Ashley watching was a national pastime.
But who was watching when she was taken? Zeus didn’t care,
Demeter turned ice queen. No one reached out until
they got tired of the cold. She fills the air around her
with smoke and uncombed hair, fills the world with
rain, wheat, and infant laughter in Full House reruns. “I look
at old photos of me, and I don’t feel connected to them.”
Her power extends over life, death, seasons, beauty magazines.
One of the world’s youngest millionaires. “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”
Iron Queen of Hell. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
MOLLY McGUIRE lives in Boston, MA, where she makes a living copy editing, selling art books at a museum, and doing other odd jobs.
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