What Does Ashley Olsen’s Secret Pregnancy Say About Celebrity Culture?
As an arbiter of subtle coolness and stealth wealth, the star's decidedly low-key move feels like an extension of "quiet" living.
No one does elusive chicness quite like the Olsen twins. From their impressive commitment to wearing sunglasses indoors to their sleek tonal outerwear seen only in blurry paparazzi snaps, the designer-sister duo reside in the centre of the fashion zeitgeist while remaining cautiously on the periphery of celebrity gossip. They are, quite literally, the blueprint of quiet luxury. Case in point: Ashley Olsen is a mom now — and she has been for months. Talk about moving in silence.
According to TMZ, the 37-year-old and her husband Louis Eisner welcomed a son named Otto with sometime within the past few months. The mystery-shrouded affair is pretty on par with Olsen’s public-facing persona (or lack thereof). She and Eisner’s 2022 wedding was kept confidential. The couple doesn’t publicly comment on their relationship. And, in true Olsen fashion, there are no images or confirmations concerning her pregnancy or their firstborn child’s arrival — no matter how intrigued fans are. Ashley Olsen is a pro at starving the world for details. And you know what? Good for her.
Ashley Olsen has given birth to her first child, a baby boy named Otto. pic.twitter.com/0FafV0RC8Q
— Pop Base (@PopBase) August 14, 2023
The thing is, in recent pop culture history, powerful pregnancy declarations have become a staple of celebrity-fan relationships. In the aughts, it was standard for tabloids to speculate on who was expecting, and A-list stars would regularly reveal baby bumps via magazine cover shoots. Over the years, there’s been unfair pressure put on famous people to disclose when they’re expecting — leading to moments like Ellen DeGeneres emphatically offering Mariah Carey Champagne in an effort to reveal whether she was pregnant in 2008. (She was, and she later miscarried. See the problem?) More recently, celebrities have taken some of the power back through carefully crafted viral social media moments. Enter: Rihanna.
Last year, the Fenty Beauty mogul dominated fashion news cycles with boundary-breaking ensembles that pushed back on the traditional notions of maternity wear. Since then, loud pregnancy announcements and out-there-everywhere bumps have reigned supreme. Keke Palmer gave the world a stylish reveal while hosting SNL. Lindsay Lohan has been embracing a bump-accentuating style since breaking the internet with a “baby on the way” post. Then there’s Rihanna, who announced her second pregnancy through an unforgettable 2023 Super Bowl Halftime performance and has been turning heads with every subsequent street-style outing.
Needless to say, it’s the age of boldly broadcasted pregnancies, where daring maternity dressing is rightly celebrated and announcements are met with floods of comment-section support. But it’s important not to make this into a mainstream expectation. Cut to Ashley Olsen’s ultra-private move, which not only subverts this norm — but perhaps even hints at a new one.
Of course, hiding a high-profile pregnancy is not a novel concept. (Who can forget when Kylie Jenner retreated entirely from public view before giving birth in 2018?) But there’s something particularly striking about Ashley Olsen keeping her mom-to-be-status under wraps. We’re in an era when parasocial relationships are at the forefront of stardom culture. And in fashion spaces, the Olsens have arguably never been more popular, with their brand The Row being the framework for this year’s leading trends of quiet luxury and stealth wealth. These days, a sartorial hush blankets the style landscape, via minimal accessorizing and muted colour palettes. Ultimately, that makes her purposely private milestone all the more relevant.
2023 marks a time when we’re retreating to minimalism, subtle sensibilities, and generally looking more low-key. It seems only fitting that this could extend to the personal lives of celebrities, which have long been publicized online. It begs the question: In the seismic shift to decidedly discreet dressing, could “quiet” personal lives be next? It wouldn’t be the first trend the Olsens set.