Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (2024)

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Kelly McLaughlin

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Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (1)

  • Two years ago, Lori Loughlin's youngest daughter, Olivia Jade, was starting her freshman year at the University of Southern California and pursuing a lucrative YouTube career, partnering with Amazon for a dorm tour and giving makeup tutorials for Sephora.
  • In March 2019, her parents — Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli — were indicted in the college admissions scandal, and have since pleaded guilty to paying $500,000 to guarantee their daughters' admissions to USC.
  • In the months that followed, Olivia Jade dropped out of SC, and her sponsorships were dwindling.
  • Her parents were sentenced in the college admissions scandal on Friday — and Olivia Jade is slowly making a comeback.

Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (2)

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Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (3)

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After months of silence amid scrutiny over the college admissions scandal, Olivia Jade Giannulli is back on social media as her parents prepare for their prison sentences in the scheme.

Olivia Jade is posting regularly on Instagram — about one photo a month as well as sharing photos and videos on her story. In December, she had announced she wanted to make comeback in a YouTube video titled "hi again."

In the video, Olivia Jade told her followers she was "legally not allowed" to speak about the scandal. While saying she missed the platform, she said she was "terrified to make this video and to come back."

Olivia Jade's parents, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, were among dozens of parents accused of paying the scheme's ringleader, William "Rick" Singer, to have their children's college entrance exams falsified or their admissions into elite universities guaranteed.

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Loughlin and Giannulli have since pleaded guilty to paying $500,000 to guarantee their daughters' admissions to the University of Southern California.

The scandal hit while Olivia Jade was a freshman at USC. At the time, she was pursuing a lucrative YouTube career on the side, partnering with Amazon for a dorm tour, giving makeup tutorialsfor Sephora, and picking up additional sponsorships with Marc Jacobs Beauty and Estée Lauder Companies. In the weeks that followed her parents' indictments, she was dropped by several sponsors, and she posted a now-deleted Instagram featuring her giving two middle fingers to the press.

Loughlin and Giannulli were sentenced in the college admissions scandal on Friday — Loughlin will spend two months behind bars while Giannulli will spend five.

And while Olivia Jade has faced scrutiny at every turn in the aftermath of the college admissions scandal, it appears that she might finally be making a comeback.

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In the lead up to the scandal, Olivia Jade's influencer presence was thriving

Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (5)

While still in high school, Olivia Jade amassed a massive YouTube and Instagram following. Now she has 1.2 million followers on Instagram and nearly 2 million on YouTube.

In a September 2018 Instagram post, which has now been deleted, Olivia Jade shared a paid partnership post sponsored by Amazon Prime Student, showing her preparation for her freshman year of college. In the photo, Giannulli sat on a bed, apparently in a USC dorm room.

The caption said: "Officially a college student! It's been a few weeks since I moved into my dorm and I absolutely love it. I got everything I needed from Amazon with @primestudent and had it all shipped to me in just two days. #ad #primestudent#allonamazon."

She also shared a tour of her dorm on YouTube, and posted videos about her "college night routine," her college diet, and "college style."

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Loughlin and Giannulli were indicted in the college admissions scandal in March 2019 and sentenced to prison in August 2020.

Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (6)

Loughlin and Giannulli were among dozens of parents who were indicted in March 2019 as part of the college admissions scandal dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by federal prosecutors. Parents have been accused of paying up to $6 million to guarantee their children spots at elite universities.

Olivia Jade, meanwhile, was vacationing in the Bahamas when news of the scandal broke. At the time, she was staying with a friend on a USC trustee's yacht. Olivia Jade and Bella were not charged in the scandal — but both swiftly left USC.

In the indictment, prosecutors said parents would pay Singer to bribe college coaches to have their children recruited as Division I athletes, regardless of their athletic ability. In other instances, Singer arranged for the students' SAT and ACT exam answers to be corrected or falsified, prosecutors said.

Loughlin and Giannulli paid Singer $250,000 to facilitate their older daughter Bella's admission to USC by having her pose as a recruited crew coxswain, though she had never participated in the sport. As part of the scheme, Giannulli sent Singer a photo of Bella on a rowing machine, the court document said.

Read more:Here's the full list of people charged in the college admissions cheating scandal, and who has pleaded guilty so far

Giannulli and Loughlin repeated the scheme for Olivia Jade, the court document said.

For months leading up to their May 2020 guilty pleas, the couple had argued in court that they were not guilty, while also participating in a concerted push for the charges to be dropped, arguing that she and Giannullithought their $500,000 payment was a legitimate donation to USC,and saying FBI agents tried tocoerce Singer into lyingand concealing evidence that would bolster parents' claims of innocence.

Loughlin and Giannulli appeared in court on Friday in a Zoom conference calls to be sentenced. While Loughlin will spend two months behind bars, Giannulli was sentenced to five months in prison.

US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton accepted Loughlin's plea deal and ordered her to pay a $150,000 fine, do 100 hours of community service, and spend two years on supervised release after serving his prison sentence.

Giannulli was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine, do 250 hours of community service, and spend two years on supervised release.

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In the weeks that followed the indictment, videos emerged of Olivia Jade saying she hated school

Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (7)

In the days following her parents' indictment, YouTube videos featuring Olivia Jade admitting she didn't even like school resurfaced.

"I don't want to wake up. I don't want to go to school. I hate school," she said in aYouTube video published on February 6, 2018, of her high school, Marymount High School. "That's not fair to say — my school is super chill and cool and nice to me about working. And they're super supportive with my job and stuff. I like my school, I just don't like school in general."

In another video, posted by YouTuber Brandon Calvillo after Olivia had started her freshman year at USC, Loughlin's daughter said when she first enrolled, she wanted to quit school and focus on being a vlogger.

She said: "I told my mom I wanted to quit school and she was like, 'That's not happening,' so she made me stick it out. And then my dad made me go to college which sounds so annoying because I know I'm very lucky to have an education. I'm really, really glad they made me stick out high school because I think it sounds kind of sad that I couldn't even finish in my last year."

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Companies then started to drop Olivia Jade's partnerships

Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (8)

In the wake of the college admissions scandal, Sephora and other companies dropped their partnerships with Olivia Jade.

"After careful review of recent developments, we have made the decision to end the Sephora Collection partnership with Olivia Jade, effective immediately," a Sephora representative said in a statement to Business Insider in March.

Amazon and TRESemmé announced they were cutting ties with Olivia Jade in the aftermath of the scandal, SF Gate reported in June, and Estée Lauder Companies also announced it was ending a partnership.

Read more: Lori Loughlin's Instagram-famous daughter tried to trademark her beauty brand, but was rejected over poor punctuation

Clothing brand Lulus, which once held a partnership with the influencer, told The Hollywood Reporter: "Lulus has not worked with Olivia Jade since August 2018 and we have no plans to do so in the future."

Olivia Jade had partnerships with Dolce & Gabbana, Lulus, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Smile Direct Club, and Boohoo, according to Variety, though the statuses of each are unclear.

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USC put accounts connected to students with links to the college admissions scandal, including Olivia Jade, on hold

Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (9)

USC announced in Marchthat accounts for all students with ties to thecollege admissions scandalwere put on hold, meaning they couldn'tregister for classes, withdraw from the university, or acquire transcripts.

The review put the academic status of studentsincluding Olivia Jade and her sisterin limbo as their parents faced charges in the scandal.

The college admissions scandal broke while USC was on its spring break in March, and she held off returning to school when classes resumed.

While Us Weekly reported that Olivia Jade was "begging" to return to the school, she opted not to return to classes during her freshman year and did not enroll for her sophom*ore year.

Her eagerness to return to school conflicted with what she said in a now-deleted YouTube video recorded before she started at USC.

"I don't know how much of school I'm going to attend, but I'm going to go in and talk to my deans and everyone and hope that I can try to balance it all," she said. "But I do want the experience of game days, partying — I don't really care about school, as you guys all know."

Months later, in a vlog about "me at college," Olivia Jade filmed herself vlogging in a lecture, but walked back her earlier comments.

"Before I went to college I was super naive and ignorant and dumb. I was like 'I'm not going to college because I want an education. I'm going to meet people and be social and party. That's literally the dumbest thing you could say, especially when I have the opportunity to have such a good education."

"It's not that I don't show the education part because I don't care, because now that I'm here it's actually really interesting and I love it. And that's why I'm still here."

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Olivia Jade's social media accounts went quiet for months, but she returned to YouTube in December 2019

Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (10)

Olivia Jade posted her last pre-college-admissions-scandal YouTube video on March 10, two days before unsealed court documents revealed her parents were indicted in the college admissions scandal.

Her YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter were then quiet for months.

But in July, she made her return to Instagram in honor of her mother's birthday. She posted a throwback photo with the caption "one day late. happy birthday. I love you so much ❤️."

Her sister, Bella, also posted a photoand has continued to post numerous pictures and Instagram stories since.

In August, Olivia Jade posted another photo, which shows her giving her middle fingers to the camera, in what appeared to be a criticism of media coverage surrounding her family.

The caption of the photo, which has since been deleted, said: "@dailymail @starmagazine @people @perezhilton @everyothermediaoutlet #close #source #says."

On December 1, 2019, Olivia Jade posted her first YouTube video since the scandal broke. The video was called "hi again," and she told her followers she was unable to talk about "it," referring to the college admissions scandal.

"Obviously I've been gone for a really long time and as much as I wish I could talk about all of this, it's really hard for me to say this just because I know that it's something that needs to be addressed," Giannulli said in her video. "It's just [unfortunate], which is also why I didn't know exactly when I should come back to YouTube, but the reason for that is just 'cause I'm legally not allowed to speak on anything going on right now."

She said that she genuinely missed filming videos for her channel and debated for months whether or not she should return to the platform.

"This is the best I can do and I want to move on with my life — not trying to be in a selfish way," she said in the video. "It's so hard because I'm not trying to make this about me or, like, how I've been because that's not the point of this, although I'm terrified to make this video and to come back."

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Now she's regularly posting on Instagram, and is even using affiliate-marketing links in her stories

Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (11)

Instagram

Earlier this year, Business Insider Dan Whateley reporter wrote that Olivia Jade had posted links to two Amazon pages in her Instagram Story using affiliate-marketing links, suggesting she was making a commission from sales. She also shared a photo of herself that had been shared by Kim Kardashian West's shapewear brand, Skims.

Her Instagram feed, however, primarily features selfies, birthday and Mother's Day celebration posts for Loughlin, and photos with her boyfriend, Jackson Guthy.

Since returning to YouTube she shared one follow-up video, about her "everyday routine," and has occasionally posted a dance video on TikTok.

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College Admissions Scandal

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Olivia Jade dropped out of USC and left her thriving YouTube career amid the college admissions scandal. Now she's back on Instagram. (2024)
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