Britney Spears’ younger sister Jamie Lynn Spears may have seemingly broken out of her sister’s shadow when she starred on her own Nickelodeon show, but Jamie Lynn admits she never felt like her "own person."
"Growing up, my sister became famous, worldwide famous, when I was very young. I'm so proud of her, love her to death, and I don't know, I just feel like sometimes I don't really have anything for myself," Jamie Lynn said, adding, "I can be extremely proud for my sister, but also have my own identity and be expected to seen as my own person."
Elizabeth Olsen was just a toddler when her older sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, rose to fame. While it definitely wasn’t an average childhood, she says she knew as a kid that she didn’t want to be affiliated with her sisters and be stuck in their shadow while trying to make a name for herself.
“Their fame made me more determined to study. I knew I wanted to be an actor, but I also didn't want to start working when I was under 18,” she told The Guardian, later adding, “I decided that as long as I felt confident and worked hard for it, instead of having it handed to me, no one could take that away from me. I don’t have any insecurity about it. I never got any job because of my sisters. I could have pulled a few strings through them, but I never needed to."
Noah Cyrus grew up in the shadows of her older sister Miley Cyrus and admits that it wasn’t always easy. Noah ended up penning her song “Young and Sad” about living up to Miley, writing that online criticism made her feel worthless compared to her sister.
“I think just the message of the second verse, being born in the family I was in, everybody gave me such a hard time for having a hard time being Miley's little sister. But I always felt like I was that person that no one gave a s**t about due to what people said to me online. It was absolutely unbearable,” she said. “Because that's what everybody always said to me: that no matter what, I was always gonna be in that shadow. And I always believed that. And that's so hard for me to overcome.”
As the youngest member of the Jonas family, Frankie Jonas watched his older brothers rise to fame. Although he was affectionately called the “Bonus Jonas” as a kid, Frankie wanted nothing to do with that nickname and said that it made him feel like a “mascot” instead of an individual. When he got social media as a tween, he admits the online hate got to him.
"A lot of it was like, 'If you ever feel forgotten, remember this guy.' Or, 'Frankie Jonas is a talentless sack of s**t.' ...It became a form of self-harm to look at these things...It really became a serious issue for me. A lot of that perpetuated the idea that I was just this meme. I was this joke, and my entire identity to people was 'adjacent,' which really affected myself and the way that I thought about the world and the way I felt about myself,” Frankie shared with Bustle.
When Ashlee Simpson followed in her sister Jessica Simpson’s footsteps as a singer, many fans compared the duo. Ashlee even released a song called “Shadow” that many assumed was directed at her older sister. At the time, Ashlee said the song wasn’t about breaking out of her sister’s spotlight and insisted there was no competition between them.
“We’re sisters. For us it’s not about competition. If she succeeds, then I’m happy, and if I succeed, then our family wins no matter what,” she told Today, adding, "I’m not going to not do music just because my sister sings. The Jacksons did it. It runs in your genes. Our personalities are so different it reflects in our music."
When Bella Hadid was new to the modeling world, she says she constantly found herself in the shadow of her older sister Gigi Hadid. In fact, Bella says that even before she pursued modeling, she had struggled with comparisons to Gigi for the majority of her life.
"I was the uglier sister. I was the brunette. I wasn’t as cool as Gigi, not as outgoing. That’s really what people said about me. And unfortunately when you get told things so many times, you do just believe it,” she told Vogue. “I always ask myself, how did a girl with incredible insecurities, anxiety, depression, body-image issues, eating issues, who hates to be touched, who has intense social anxiety — what was I doing getting into this business? But over the years I became a good actress. I put on a very smiley face, or a very strong face. I always felt like I had something to prove."
Beyoncé's little sister Solange Knowles has paved her own way in the music industry and says she wanted to separate herself from her sister as soon as possible. While many people recognize her from Beyoncé's success, Solange says she tries not to let others' opinions affect her.
"Don’t try to live up to your siblings’ expectations. Don’t try to live up to what other people are going to expect of you. You basically have to enter the game knowing that you have to be confident, you have to be yourself and you can’t rely on anyone else to create a success story for you, otherwise it’s all a gimmick and it’s not real," she told Faze.
As Kylie Minogue's younger sibling, Dannii Minogue says she was frequently compared to her sister. While she found it annoying, she admits it particularly bothered her while she was going through her divorce.
"I was struggling with the stark realization that nobody wanted me -- not my record company, not my husband and definitely not the public. I tried not to get too 'woe is me' about it, but as the weeks went on the only time I saw my name in print or heard it mentioned on TV or radio was as the less successful Minogue sister," Dannii wrote in her memoir My Story.
She added, "I can tell you, it's not easy to be publicly pitted against someone you love and admire. It hurts. The truth of the matter is I never felt like I was competing with my sister. The truth is I am and always have been so very proud of Kylie, and she is of me."
Early in his career, Dave Franco says he did whatever he could to separate himself from his older brother James. While he spent time trying to avoid living in James' shadow, Dave eventually realized it was better to just support one another.
"When I first started acting I did make a conscious choice to distance myself from him work-wise just because I wanted to paint my own path, not be referred to as James Franco’s little brother for the rest of my life. After a while it just got to the point where I was like 'he’s my brother and I love him and I respect him,'" he told Business Insider.