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By Bill Brioux of the Toronto Sun
February 5, 2002

The Hollywood Reporter calls them "The Most Powerful Young Women in Hollywood." They're the anti-Britneys: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Now 15, the twins who starred in Full House (1987-1995) arrived in Toronto yesterday for a whirlwind promotional push for their flowery new line of clothing, bedding, and other accessories at Wal-Mart Canada. The trendy, affordable duds were an instant hit last year in the U.S.

The Olsens are more popular than ever.

They have a couple of TV series going: The animated Mary-Kate And Ashley: In Action and the live-action sitcom So Little Time, both airing on YTV in Canada.

The latter is the No. 1 show on the ABC Family cable channel in the States. But there'll be no second season. The Olsens have opted instead to make movies for Warner Bros.

The wholesome duo also have the most popular girls video games in the U.S. and Canada, and the No. 2-selling fashion doll, next to Barbie.

And, yes, there is a difference between the Mary-Kate and Ashley dolls, insists long-time manager Robert Thorne, their partner at Dualstar Entertainment Group. More than 100 Mary-Kate and Ashley heads were sculpted in an effort to get their look just right. "Not like the Britney doll (which) doesn't even look like her," Thorne sniped.

The teeny Olsens are dolls themselves, barely five feet tall in their Jimmy Choo heels.

Both wore pastel coloured "Hippie" jackets and jeans to yesterday's press conference.

While someone else designed the clothes (Wal-Mart's Judy Swartz), Ashley insisted that they both got a say in anything with their name on it.

The girls might be moguls, but they're still teens. Their T.O. stop came on the heels of Grade 10 mid-term exams. They're tutored three hours a day in L.A., where they attend a private school. "Our parents are very strict," Mary-Kate said.

Why? The Olsens split more than $500 million US last year, according to Thorne. Who's gonna tell them to bear down in algebra? "We want to go to college someday," Ashley said. Hopefully an East Coast college, preferably together.

For fun they take dancing, yoga, and horseback riding. Both have boyfriends. "We like to hang out with friends, just like other people," Ashley said. But both kids don't get matching Range Rovers on their 16th birthday, as they will in June.

And don't ask about the Olsens' Full House dads, John Stamos and Bob Saget. Thorne says those older stars are jealous of the twins' continuing success. "Saget used to joke that the tooth fairy left them $10 grand per tooth, that kind of thing," Thorne said. "We even invited them to a premiere and none of them came. They didn't even bother to R.S.V.P. The kids practically cried the whole night."

All the way to the bank.