Olivia Jade Giannulli didn’t become a household name until she was associated with scandal.
The 22-year-old YouTube and Instagram influencer had a small following, plus the vague fame that comes from being the product of two famous parents. But Olivia Jade didn’t really explode into public consciousness until her parents were forced to serve prison time for bribing her into college.
She and her sister Bella Giannulli were caught in the middle of the 2019 admissions scandal. Their parents were convicted of paying $500,000 in bribes to the University of Southern California to get their daughters in, misrepresenting them as being worthy of rowing scholarships. Many other parents were part of the scandal but Giannulli’s parents,“Full House” alum Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were two of the most famous criminals.
Loughlin and Mossimo each spent months in prison and were forced to pay a hefty fine. Now followers are wondering how is Olivia Jade moving on and what does she think of everything that happened?
The influencer shared some of her thoughts during an episode of Red Table Talk in December 2020. To hear her tell it, part of the blame can be chalked up to pure privilege.
“I feel like a huge part of having privilege is not knowing you have privilege, and so when it was happening, it didn’t feel wrong,” Giannulli explained during the interview.
“I also felt very misunderstood. The picture that has been painted of me, I feel like, is not who I am. I’m not this bratty girl that doesn’t want to change anything. Also, I understand why people are angry and understand why people say hurtful things and I would too if I wasn’t in my boat. … When you read it, you realize that there’s, like, some truth. I understood that people were upset and angry, and maybe it took me a little bit longer to understand what for, but man, am I glad I did realize.”
Giannulli also said she took “privilege and all my blessings for granted” and didn’t stop to consider them during the course of her life.
The YouTuber noted that she understands–to an extent–why her parents did what they did.
“On paper, it’s bad — it’s really bad,” she said during the Red Table Talk episode. “But I think what a lot of people don’t know is my parents came from a place of just, ‘I love my kids I just want to help my kids — whatever is best for them — I worked my whole life to provide for my family.’ I think they thought it was normal.”
She continued, “There is no justifying or excusing what happened because what happened was wrong, and I think every single person in my family can be, like, ‘That was messed up. That was a big mistake.’”
Because of it, the former USC student never returned to college. She explained why during the conversation, saying she was “too embarrassed” to go back after the scandal went public. “I shouldn’t have been there in the first place, clearly,” Olivia Jade said.
The famous daughter also had some thoughts on shame and how it has affected her.
“We were talking about being in the public and being publicly shamed, and I was like, ‘Well, my situation doesn’t even compare, I’m not even going to start to compare it to yours,’” she further explained during a TikTok video before revealing what a “very inspirational” woman said to her.
“And she looked at me, and she said, ‘Olivia, it doesn’t matter if I’m drowning in 60 feet of water and you’re drowning in 30, we’re both still drowning.’ I think about that quote every day because I think it’s so true and it’s such a bigger message to our world right now. I think we’re all very quick to judge. I think we’re all very quick to put people down.”
“I just want people to remember, like, if your feelings are hurting, if they’re valid to you, they’re valid,” she continued. “It doesn’t matter if someone is going through worse. You’re allowed to have a hard time in this world. That doesn’t take away from somebody else, and that shouldn’t take away from you. We’re all human beings.”
Olivia Jade’s mom Loughlin is relaunching her career by joining GAC, a new network to rival Hallmark. The influencer also made her return to the public spotlight when she joined the cast of “Dancing With the Stars” for the fall season in 2021. She said she did it in part to prove her willingness to work hard for what she has.
“For the past few years, I guess you can say I’ve been wrapped up in a scandal. After everything happened, I did step back from social media and just soak in what everybody was saying,” she explained during the show’s premiere.
“I’m not trying to pull a pity card, but I just need to move forward and do better. … I just want to show people that I have a different side to me, I have a strong work ethic.”
Olivia Jade further discussed her feelings on the admissions scandal and moving on from it during an episode of the “Conversations with Olivia Jade” podcast.
“You live your life a little bit differently in my opinion. You kind of start to believe what people are telling you, like, you don’t deserve a second chance, and there is no room for growth and you feel like, not to sound super dark, but how do you bounce back? I want to be alive, I still want to grow up,” she said.
“I’m not trying to victimize myself, but I also am trying just by being and having this personal experience, I really do understand how different of a persona I’ve become because of it — and not entirely in a good way sometimes,” Giannulli continued.
“I would be crazy to not have learned anything from this situation of constant guilt and stress that I’ve given to myself and waken up every day for almost two years straight seeing something written about you,” she continued.
“I’m not saying this to throw myself a little pity party. It’s circumstantial and obviously, we really messed up. I don’t want that to be taken out of context. Speaking as a human, with my own mental [health], it’s so much harder for me to be forgiving of myself because I feel so unforgiven by what feels like the entire world to me. It’s just like everybody hates me.”