Saturday was Elizabeth Olsen’s birthday. Some may know her best as the younger sister of billionaire twin actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, but others may know her as a talented and successful actress in her own right. Mary-Kate and Ashley are now finding success in the fashion business with their lines The Row and Elizabeth & James, but all of the Olsen girls hold places in the limelight of the entertainment world. But do sisters compete as they become adults, even when they aren’t in the same industry? Do they appreciate the others’ successes? Elizabeth Olsen said she has worked extra hard in some ways to overcome people thinking she has only done well because of nepotism. In a recent interview with Glamour, the starlet explained, “‘My last name has always been my motivator to get proper acting training and be taken seriously. I didn’t get to where I am because of who I’m related to.”
Personally, my sister and I are completely different and have very different careers, but there is still that competitive nature in me to always be the best (and to pull her hair when she is annoying me).
“Sisters compete on a number of levels: parental attention, academic performance, beauty,” Lois Braverman, resident of the Ackerman Institute for the Family, told Teen Vogue. “Historically, sisters have always been set up in some ways by the culture to be in competition. In the 1950s it was about who had the better marriage. For young women today, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to be both attractive and accomplished.”
Sibling rivalry is considered to be quite healthy and very normal, even in adulthood. William Hansen, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, argues that it’s inevitable once a second child enters the family. “The oldest is suddenly shifted to the sidelines,” he explains. “It can be hard when the new one shows up and everyone is paying attention to her. That can set the stage for a lifetime of ill feelings.”
It is when the rivalry turns into envy that it brings out the absolute worst in people, says Karen Doherty, co-author of the new book Sibling Rivalry: Seven Simple Solutions. “Sibling envy is like a festering wound and it sours our relationships to the point where we can’t bear the idea of our siblings being successful, or even happy, and instead take pleasure in their failures.”
But we wonder, are these famous and extremely successful sibling pairs 100 percent supportive of one another, or do they still compete?
Denise Morrison and Maggie Wilderotter
Campbell’s Soup CEO Denise Morrison and her little sister Maggie Wilderotter, are both CEOs of huge publicly run companies, and two other sisters are executives, too. Wilderotter runs Frontier Communications, a multi-billion-dollar communications company. Imagine what that dinner table was like growing up.
Dakota and Elle Fanning
Both have been acting since they were little kids, but the two blond beauties bring dramatically different presences to the screen. Dakota is now a student at NYU and it seems like Elle may be more of the actress, but who knows? They are both still young.
Both young women are also considered style icons who take chances. ”She’s the go-to fashion person in the family,” Dakota said of her sister in an interview with Teen Vogue. “Elle knows every single model, every single collection, every single piece from every single collection. She has a real passion, and it’s not at all in a materialistic way. She genuinely appreciates the workmanship and creativity. It’s funny, ’cause when you’re an older sister, you try to be the leader and example, and I’ve recently had to accept that we’re equals. The day has come when I actually need her help. I’ve had to admit that to myself and break down and be like, ‘Little sister, does this look good?’”
Serena and Venus Williams
The Williams sisters may be the very definition of competitive siblings. Both are champion tennis players, millionaires, endorsement moguls, and fashion designers. They have played against each other as well as on the same side of the net, but they always support each other. “I wouldn’t be doing this without her. I mean, I feel like Serena was my role model. I couldn’t have done any of this without her because she showed me how to win,” Venus said in an interview in 2012.
Jessica and Ashlee Simpson
Both initially singers, the Simpson sisters have both tried their hands at acting , fashion, and reality TV. Jessica has turned out to be a powerhouse in the fashion world. According to WWD, the Jessica Simpson Collection has become one of the most successful celebrity fashion lines of all time. As a result, her estimated net worth from her designs totals about $100 million. But she isn’t afraid to share the wealth. Ashlee and Jessica launched a tween fashion line together in 2011.