The former Full House actresses, 32, made a rare red carpet appearance together on Thursday night at the Youth America Grand Prix’s 20th Anniversary Gala in New York City.
The outing was particularly special as the twin sisters, who grew up in the spotlight, rarely ever attend events together nowadays and prefer to lead more private lives.
For the event, the sisters kept things simple and matched in black attire, with their blonde locks worn down in soft waves with middle parts.
Mary-Kate opted for an ankle-length, button-down, black coat with a slight bell sleeve, and paired the look with a matching black, snake-skin purse. She also added a pair of pointy-toed red heels and a gold anklet for a pop of color.
Meanwhile, Ashley rocked a long, black blazer with matching baggy dress pants. She also accessorized the look with a long, gold, beaded necklace and a black clutch.
While speaking to the outlet, the sisters explained that their focus is split between work — they head up lifestyle brand Elizabeth and James and high-end fashion line The Row — and personal commitments.
At the time, the Olsens’ former longtime publicist, Michael Pagnotta, told PEOPLE he remembered when they decided to leave a life in front of the camera and enter the fashion world.
“They came to New York and wanted to go to college,” recalled Pagnotta. “They’d been kind of hamster-wheeling their lives, and through the first year of college, when they got to NYU, they actually met people who had a different take on the world. They maybe got a different sense of what their future might be. And maybe it wouldn’t necessarily be in acting.”
Looking for more style content? Click here to subscribe to the PeopleStyle Newsletter for amazing shopping discounts, can’t-live-without beauty products and more.
He said at this time, the Olsens also realized working in fashion was what they most enjoyed. “They understood it and seemed to have a knack for it,” Pagnotta said.
Pagnotta said another possible reason they retreated from the spotlight was that everything got “a little too big,” citing their fame from Full House and the task of running their own brand of products at Walmart.
“I think that as it got bigger and bigger, when the Walmart thing happened, you could see it getting maybe a little too big and overwhelming even, and the ability to remain normal, in the light of that fame and wealth and responsibility,” he explained.
Despite growing up in the spotlight, Pagnotta noted that the twins have always had a good head on their shoulders, due in part to their strong upbringing.
“They were always part of a very loving family that was aware they were kids and needed to have a real life,” said Pagnotta “The most important thing people should know about them was they were allowed to be kids. They had the normal kind of concerns, the normal kinds of fears, and the same kind of fun.”
These days, Mary-Kate — who married French banker Olivier Sarkozy, 49, in 2015 — is focusing on her new family when she is not working. “I have a husband, two stepkids and a life. I have to go home and cook dinner,” she told The Edit.
Meanwhile, Ashley spends off-hours with her boyfriend, artist Louis Eisner, 30.