Tyra Banks defends Olivia Jade and calls her ‘brave’ ahead of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ debut

Tyra Banks and Olivia Jade Giannulli
Tyra Banks is defending Olivia Jade Giannulli as ‘so brave.’ Amy Sussman/Getty Images for ABA; Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
  • Tyra Banks said Olivia Jade is “so brave” ahead of the “Dancing with the Stars” premiere.
  • She added that people “don’t know” Giannulli, they “know what happened to her.”
  • Giannulli made headlines in 2019 when her parents were charged in the college admissions scandal.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tyra Banks is defending Olivia Jade Giannulli ahead of the YouTuber’s debut on season 30 of “Dancing with the Stars.”

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight published on Wednesday, the supermodel said that while Giannulli might not be a “celebrity” in the traditional sense of the term, she is famous because everyone is talking about her.

“I think Olivia is so brave. I think people don’t know her, they know what happened to her,” Banks said.

She continued that she trusts Giannulli when the “DWTS” contestant says that she didn’t know “about what was going on,” referring to the college admissions scandal.

Banks added: “She has said that she did not know about what was going on and it’s really sad, and it’s very hurtful when something publicly happens but you had nothing to do with it.”

Giannulli is one of 15 contestants set to take to the “DWTS” ballroom floor on September 20 to show off their dancing skills. Banks, who is hosting the show, said that by choosing to join the cast, Giannulli is going to “tell her story and show her vulnerability.”

Olivia jade lori
Loughlin and Giannulli in 2017. Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Giannulli attracted widespread controversy in 2019 when her parents, actress Lori Loughlin and designer Massimo Giannulli, were charged in connection with paying Rick Singer $US500,000 ($AU681,105) to get Giannulli and her older sister, Isabella, into the University of Southern California.

As a result, Massimo served a five-month sentence in prison starting November 2020, while Loughlin was released from prison in December 2020 after serving a two-month sentence.

Prior to the college admissions scandal, Giannulli had a partnership with Sephora and was best known for her popular YouTube channel where she shared beauty and fashion tips.