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A year ago, Olivia Jade was a freshman at USC and a thriving YouTube star. Now, she’s dropped out of school and her influencer future is uncertain

A year ago, Olivia Jade was a freshman at USC and a thriving YouTube star. Now, she’s dropped out of school and her influencer future is uncertain

One year ago, Lori Loughlin’s daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli and Bella Giannulli were starting their freshman and sophomore years, respectively, at the University of Southern California.

By mid-September, USC had won its first two football games of the year, classes were in full swing, and Olivia Jade was pursuing a lucrative YouTube career on the side, partnering with Amazon for a dorm tour, giving makeup tutorials for Sephora, and picking up additional sponsorships with Marc Jacobs Beauty and Estée Lauder Companies.

Now, a year later, Olivia Jade’s YouTube channel is quiet. She’s no longer attending USC, her sponsorships are dwindling, and her last Instagram post features her giving two middle fingers to the press.

She’s now living in the aftermath of the college admissions scandal, where Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have been accused of paying the scheme’s ringleader, William “Rick” Singer, $500,000 to guarantee their daughters’ admissions to USC.

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

Olivia Jade’s YouTube channel.

While still in high school, Olivia Jade amassed a massive YouTube and Instagram following. Now she has 1.4 million followers on Instagram and nearly 2 million on YouTube.

In a September 2018 Instagram post, that 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.

Read more: Inside the fabulous life of Lori Loughlin’s Instagram-famous daughter Olivia Jade, whose parents were charged in an explosive college-admissions scandal

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.”

Loughlin and Giannulli were indicted in the college admissions scandal in March

Actor Lori Loughlin, and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, leave the federal courthouse after facing charges in a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme, in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 3.
REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Loughlin and Giannulli are among 33 parents who were indicted in March as part of the college admissions scandal dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by federal prosecutors. Parents are accused of paying up to $6 million to guarantee their children spots at elite universities.

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.

An affidavit claimed Loughlin and Giannulli paid Singer $250,000 fo 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.

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.

Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud, and they were among several parents later charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. Olivia Jade and Bella were not charged in the scandal — but both swiftly left USC.

Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded not guilty in May and now face up to 20 years in prison for each charge, for a maximum sentence of 40 years.

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

Isabella Rose Giannulli, Lori Loughlin and Olivia Jade Giannulli arrive at the 2017 Summer TCA Tour – Hallmark Channel And Hallmark Movies And Mysteries at a private residence on July 27, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
WireImage/Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images

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

“I don’t want to wake up. I don’t want to go to school. I hate school,” she said in a YouTube 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.”

Companies then started to drop Olivia Jade’s partnerships

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.

USC put accounts connected to students with links to the college admissions scandal on hold

This March 12, 2019 file photo shows the University Village area of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

USC announced in March that accounts for all students with ties to the college admissions scandal were put on hold, meaning they couldn’t register for classes, withdraw from the university, or acquire transcripts.

The review put the academic status of students including Olivia Jade and her sister in 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 insiders told Us Weekly that Olivia Jade was “begging” to return to the school, she opted not to return to classes during her freshman 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.”

Olivia Jade’s social media accounts went quiet. But she may be slowly making a comeback

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

She also stopped posting on Instagram and Twitter.

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 photo.

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

The caption reads: “@dailymail @starmagazine @people @perezhilton @everyothermediaoutlet #close #source #says.”

For an influencer whose success is determined by the number of Instagram followers and YouTube subscribers she has, the scandal has been something of a mixed bag. When news of her parent’s alleged involvement broke in March, Olivia Jade saw a net gain of around 40,000 YouTube followers. But over the last 12 months, she’s had a net loss of around 120,000 subscribers (though video views have increased by more than 10 million in the last year.)

On the other hand, Olivia Jade’s Instagram account has gained nearly 600,000 followers since April of 2018, even though she’s only posted two images since February of this year.

It’s unclear what’s next for Olivia Jade — whether she’ll attempt to revive her fumbling beauty influencer career or try to return to school. Her mother’s publicist, Elizabeth March, told Insider she had no information on the subject. In the meantime, she seems to be taking her parent’s impending trial in stride. Just two days ago, she was spotted making out with her on-again-off-again boyfriend Jackson Guthy at Disneyland.

Sources said she “seemed to be in good spirits.”

Insider has contacted Olivia Jade’s talent representative at United Talent Agency, and privately DM’d her on Instagram.


Olivia Jade
Lori Loughlin
College Admissions Scandal

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‘The Lion King’: Disney Targets Nostalgic Adults With High-End Merchandise

‘The Lion King’: Disney Targets Nostalgic Adults With High-End Merchandise

Does Nala wear lipstick? Probably not, but “The Lion King” fans can celebrate the release of the live-action remake with a new line of makeup that’s themed to Disney’s latest redo. For about $40, the Can’t Wait to Be Queen eyeshadow palette by Luminess Cosmetics includes shades named after the Nala, Mufasa and the film’s setting (“Pride Rock”).

Merchandising is a key component of any Disney release, though the studio saw a decrease in consumer products sales in 2018 following a lack of overall interest in movie merchandise for 2017 films “Star Wars” and “Cars.” But Karina Masolova, executive editor of the Licensing Letter, thinks revenue from merchandising is likely to bounce back in 2019 due to recent box-office titans such as “Toy Story 4,” “Aladdin” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

And then there is “The Lion King,” which rules the licensing world in addition to the jungle. The 1994 Disney animated film, which made an estimated $1 billion worldwide from retail sales, dominated toy stores in the ’90s with Simba (and his friends) plushies, lunch boxes and video games. “For a single movie that didn’t become a franchise, by most measures, it was the biggest ever” for consumer sales, said Marty Brochstein, the senior VP of Industry Relations & Information for the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association. “It was historic in many respects.”

The Lion King” also spawned one of the most successful Broadway adaptations in history, with more than $8 billion in ticket sales, raising several generations of kids to the tune of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.”

As a result of universal nostalgia for the original film, merchandise tied to the reboot of “The Lion King” runs the gamut from the usual toys to high-end items including expensive artwork, pricey diaper bags and collaborations from handbags by Danielle Nicole to headbands by Gigi Burris. Actress Florence Kasumba guest curated a collaboration between Disney and Bloomingdale’s stores in Manhattan, Century City and San Francisco, hosting pop-up shops in select locations until Sept. 2 that include themed home decor, clothing and African-sourced goods.

“Product for the film has strong retailer support and we’re seeing great excitement and momentum, with mass and specialty stores supporting items across a variety of categories including plush, collectibles, apparel, accessories, publishing and beauty,” said Josh Silverman, executive VP of global product commercialization for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

The latest crop of “Lion King” gear is also targeted to adults who grew up on the original film, not just children.

CREDIT: Disney

“I think you’re gonna have ‘Lion King’ parents bringing their kids to the movie,” says Richard Gottlieb, CEO and founder of Global Toy Experts. “And what I mean by ‘Lion King’ parents, it’s been 25 years, so if you were anywhere from five to 10 years old when that movie came out, you’re 30 to 35 years old and you’ve got kids. And so, I think the driver for this movie isn’t going to be kids, it’s going to be parents bringing kids, which is probably another reason why they’re focusing on adult branding.”

In addition to wearing the new “Lion King” paraphernalia, you can also hang it on your walls. Die-hard fans can splurge on a mosaic portrait of “Scar” by artist Tom Matousak retailing for nearly $300, or the “Father and Son” piece with Mufasa and Simba by artist Michelle St. Laurent for $750, both available on Disney’s website.

“The original 1994 animated feature film has consistently remained one of our top-requested Disney themes,” says Allison Fillmore, the national sales director of Barker Animation Art Galleries, which specializes in collector’s portraits from other popular Disney films ranging from “Frozen” to “Maleficent.” She credits the “Lion King’s” themes of family, love and loyalty for driving demand for art associated with the film.

“Signature characters [like Disney princesses and ‘Winnie the Pooh’] will always remain our most popular,” Fillmore says. “However, the original 1994 release of ‘The Lion King’ set the bar quite high. And no other Walt Disney Animation Studio release had since reached this level of icon status until ‘Frozen’ debuted in 2013.”

Over on Amazon, one of the best-selling “Lion King” products for kids wins points for realism. Forget about Tickle Me Elmo. Little children can cuddle with a Pumbaa the warthog toy that eats bugs, burps and farts at the press of a button. The Simba and Nala editions are better behaved. When you push their heads together, they snuggle, feeling the love tonight.

Twenty five years ago, as “The Lion King” soared at the box office, its merchandising crushed a live-action remake of “The Flintstones” and a re-release of “The Jungle Book.” This year, some experts are already predicting that the live-action “Lion King” will sell as many products as the first film by year-end. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it breaks $1 billion in licensed retail sales,” Masolova says. “It might be more.”

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