Olivia Jade Giannulli is continuing this year’s comeback.
Last month, the controversial social media star announced she was launching a podcast with iHeartRadio called “Conversations,” with the first episode dropping Oct. 24, available on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The venture marks Giannulli’s first foray into podcasting.
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On Monday, the network revealed a sneak peek of “Conversations.” The minute-long trailer featured Giannulli introducing herself, the purpose of the podcast and what listeners should expect.
“One of my favorite things in life is to meet new people and hear their stories and just converse, in general,” she stated. “I want to dive into a lot of different stories here from a bunch of different people. I think now more than ever, obviously, there are a lot of instances where we assume we know people’s stories or what’s happening and I think it’s so important… to really understand and hear somebody’s personal side of things.”
This year marks a big one for the YouTube star, who is one of the celebrity contestants competing on the 30th season of “Dancing With the Stars.” Additionally, she has resumed her regularly scheduled programming on YouTube again, frequently uploading video blogs, clothing hauls and makeup and hair tutorials monthly since January, following a hiatus after her parents, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, were embroiled in the college admissions scandal that made headlines in 2019.
Before being involved in Operation Varsity Blues — the official name for the bribing scandal — in 2019, in which Olivia Jade Giannulli’s parents paid half a million dollars in bribes to get herself and her older sister Bella admitted to the University of Southern California as crew recruits, Giannulli was best known for her beauty career and YouTube channel. Her parents were among 50 others involved in the scandal, including actress Felicity Huffman, who served 11 days in prison in October 2019.
Her mother and father ended up serving a two-month and five-month prison sentence, respectively, for their involvement.
After the scandal unfolded, Giannulli went mum on most of her social media channels for months until December 2019, when she uploaded two videos on YouTube called “hi again” and an everyday makeup routine. She stopped posting again afterward until this January, when she casually uploaded a “daily vlog” clip.
Last December, she appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk” in which she finally divulged on the details of her parents’ involvement in Operation Varsity Blues and reflected on the scandal. Smith was joined by her daughter Willow Smith and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris.
“I felt most moved by the fact that [my family] did all of this and we were so ignorant,” Giannulli said. “I feel like a huge part of having privilege is not knowing you have privilege, so when it was happening, it didn’t feel wrong. It didn’t feel like that’s not fair. I was in my own little bubble and I never had to look outside of that bubble.”
Giannulli then explained that in her “bubble,” it was considered normal for parents to make hefty donations to schools, so she was initially confused at what felt wrong about her parents’ actions. She said it was the immense backlash that she received that made her understand she has white privilege and that what her family did was wrong.
“I didn’t realize at the time that was privilege. I didn’t put those two together,” she continued. “I’m grateful for the situation to see that big change and difference in my own mind to know like, ‘OK, Olivia, the fact that you were on YouTube and you were saying stuff like, ‘I don’t want to go to school, I just want to party at school,’ the fact that you could even say those things shows you how fortunate you were that you didn’t have to worry about that.”
The YouTube video Giannulli referenced was from August 2018, well before the scandal broke. She faced backlash for her indifference toward getting an education, saying she doesn’t “really care about school” but still wanted to experience “game days” and “partying.” She later issued an apology and deleted the video.
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