Before the college admissions scandal broke, Lori Loughlin was offered a spot on “Dancing with the Stars.”
“She declined,” a “DWTS” production source told Page Six. But the “Full House” star told producers that she knew one other person who would love to be on the ABC show: her then-teenage daughter, YouTube beauty influencer Olivia Jade. “But at that point they didn’t cast her.”
It took a scandal for Olivia to be interesting enough for the show, which signed her up last fall for Season 30. Olivia, now 22, and her dance partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, finished 8th in the competition.
But, more importantly, the show relaunched her as an even bigger star than she was before: receiving high-profile party and fashion show invitations, not to mention being paid by a new group of brands who want her to promote their goods.
This past weekend, Olivia, who has been romantically linked to “Euphoria” actor Jacob Elordi, was seen partying with celebs like Lizzo and Cardi B at Drake’s Saturday night pre-Super Bowl bash at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. The night before, she was at Justin Bieber’s party at the same location, along with Leo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Kendall Jenner and Khloe Kardashian.
While her mom — who went to jail for two months after admitting to paying $500,000 to get Olivia into USC as a rowing recruit, even though the girl certainly was not — seems to still be in Hollywood purgatory, for Jade it looks like there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Even more ironic, it turns out Olivia, who left USC after the scandal, didn’t need to go to college to be a success.
“‘DWTS’ was a chance for people to really see who Olivia is: a hard worker, dedicated, and just a young adult trying to find her way in the world. It was a chance to reconnect the public to what made her so likable and relevant on her YouTube channel,” said a source close to Olivia.
“She’s been excited to get back to doing what she loves, which is all things beauty, fashion and connecting to followers. She’s attending more events, working with more brands — and she’s got some big deals in the works for 2022.”
Not only was Olivia — who has 1.82 million subscribers on her YouTube channel and 1.3 million followers on Instagram — seen all over Hollywood at the weekend at the hottest Super Bowl parties. She also received invitations for New York Fashion Week shows and parties, Page Six is told, but decided not to fly to the East Coast. (NYFW started Feb. 11 and ends Feb. 16). However, she did show up for the Jimmy Choo X Mugler event at Terminal 27 in West Hollywood last week.
Sephora and Amazon may have dropped her after Operation Varsity Blues, but her notoriety is not a hindrance for other brands. She’s been working with the denim line Garage, recently modeling its clothing on her Instagram account, alongside sneakers from Banana Bread Grails.
She has also shared links to products using affiliate links (meaning she gets paid if her followers click through and buy) from the platform RewardStyle, and has appeared in sponsored content for the brands Revice Denim and White Fox Boutique.
“Olivia Jade knows her way around clickbait — she has an uncanny knack of generating noise. There is always a way back and … [some brands see that] she has the instinct and will to reengage the supporters,” global branding and public-relations expert Mark Borkowski told The Post. “Many have turned far worse recriminations into a positive asset. Scandal is not the career-ending nerve gas it once was. Having illustrious criminal parents could even become a positive asset in today’s climate, where everyone is looking for the most complex and fascinating backstory.
“I have learned as a celebrity publicist to say ‘never say never’ when it comes to things you would assume would leave someone too toxic to touch.”
Borkowski also pointed out that it’s generational: “Gen Z kids are more tolerant and tend forget and move on.”
In the first episode of her iHeart podcast, “Conversations with Olivia Jade,” last October, Olivia spoke about being canceled. “I’m so scared of looking up my name and something bad is happening and I’m the face of it and it’s going to be this big thing that blows up in my face again,” she said.
“You kinda start to believe what people are telling you: You don’t deserve a second chance, there is no room for growth. Not to sound super dark, but how do you bounce back then? Because I wanna be alive, I still wanna grow up. … It’s like ‘Don’t exist anymore.’”
But she also made it clear that “I don’t deserve pity. We messed up,” Olivia said during an appearance on Facebook Watch’s Red Table Talk in December 2020. “I just want a second chance to be like, ‘I recognize I messed up.’”
That emotion goes a long way, Borkowski said.
“If Olivia Jade has what it takes to connect with her audience on a deeper level, exposing her vulnerability and the challenges faced since the famous scandal, her audience will be even more committed to her for it,” he explained. “It seems she is opening engaging with the issues in a full-hearted way which projects authenticity.”
And savvy brands that don’t have to appeal to as broad of an audience as, say, Amazon, can reap the benefits.
“Her resilience might connect her to brands who are willing to forget and plunder any renewed popularity,” Borkowski said.
Olivia’s popularity could even be a boost of redemption for Loughlin, who appeared on her daughter’s TikTok in December, doing the “You’re a Jerk” dance challenge.
The influencer remains as close as ever with her parents. On Valentine’s Day, she posted to social media a photo of a bouquet of roses, with the message: “For my mama I love you 4ever valentine.”
Loughlin, 57, was dropped by the Hallmark Channel, on which she had been a staple for years, after Varsity Blues, but appeared last year in projects on the lower-profile GAC Network.
“ABC and Olivia used each other — and Olivia got her moment to talk kindly about her mother and help put her back out there. And look now, Lori is back on a network, it’s like she’s never been away,” said a well-placed source.
The actress and her husband, multi-millionaire fashion mogul Mossimo Giannulli, pled guilty to wire and mail fraud charges in relation to paying admissions-fixing ring leader Rick Singer to help Olivia and her older sister, Isabella, falsely get into USC as competitive athletes.The girls were seen posing on rowing machines for their college applications.
Giannulli, 58, served five months in prison in November 2020 and five months more on home confinement.
The well-placed source noted that it was Loughlin and Giannulli, not necessarily Olivia, who were determined to get her into a good school.
“Olivia is a good kid, and she wasn’t quiet when she said that she didn’t want to go to college,” the source said, noting that Loughlin runs in extremely wealthy society circles. “There’s a lot of pressure to be perfect in that crowd,” the source mused.
Olivia, who launched her YouTube channel at age 14, has insisted that she has always been a hard worker, adding: “I don’t even think I’ve ever said this publicly but in high school, I had straight A’s. I worked really hard at school.”
The source close to Jade said that she’s working hard now to navigate her comeback and transcend her past success. “She is moving forward, really enjoying being back to work and in her element,” the source said. “There are also exciting things to come she cannot wait to share.”
The post Olivia Jade successful without college: ‘DWTS,’ YouTube channel, more appeared first on Page Six.