They Say Never Meet Your Heroes, but I Spent 20 Minutes With Ashley & Mary-Kate

by Hallie Gould

There I was, a mere two feet away from Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen—women who have been immeasurably influential in my own coming-of-age story. Though, I’m not going to wax on about the Got Milk? ads I clutched between my teenage fingers or the time I had bangs cut for the sole purpose of growing them out at the same time they did. Because while Ashley and Mary-Kate have been in the public eye their entire lives, they now stand, individually, as 31-year-old luxury designers who don’t partake in the usual media fodder. It’s their penchant for fine fragrance that brings me here today, ahead of the launch of their newest Nirvana eau de parfum duo.

I was led into the brand’s showroom in the West Village—a space with minimal furniture and modern design but that still felt comfortable and warm. Their aesthetic is famously precise yet somehow difficult to pin down, a duality that lends well when creating a pair of fragrances that can be layered together or stand on their own. They greeted me, their impossibly big eyes fixated on mine. “It’s so nice to meet you,” I said, and really meant it. I shook their ring-clad hands and sat down. They sipped tea, and we talked about summer—why August is always touted as “slow” but almost always yields a slow-burning excitement before the inevitable season change. I pressed play on my voice recorder and began my approved line of questioning.

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