Could Lori Loughlin's Influencer Daughter Actually Benefit from the College Admissions Scandal?
Despite the hate online, the 19-year-old has gained more than 100,000 new followers.
Olivia Jade Giannulli is having a rough week — the revelation that her famous parents (actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli) paid $500,000 to have her and her older sister Isabella accepted to USC as crew team recruits (though neither rows) has put a serious cramp in the 19-year-old’s influencer style.
The scandal (which, to make matters more ridiculous, broke while Giannulli was allegedly partying on a yacht owned by the USC Board of Trustees chair), has created a mess of epic proportions in Olivia’s Instagram comments section. Though she turned off comments in the first three photos on her feed, the rest of her posts are open season, boasting feedback that ranges from typical troll fare (“LIAR, CHEAT, NO HUMAN SOUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”) to more, er, on the nose (“Entitled kid and criminal parents”).
At this time, several of Olivia's key sponsors and collaborators have dropped her, including Sephora, Tresemme, and Lulus. But Giannulli has several other big name partners that have yet to publicly distance themselves from the vlogger, including Smile Direct Club, Amazon Prime Student, Dolce & Gabbana Beauty, Conair, Boohoo, Philosophy, Smashbox, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Calvin Klein, Amazon Fashion, and Neutrogena.
Despite the social media comments frenzy, Jade appears to be benefiting from the scandal in terms of exposure — she went from 1.3 to 1.4 million Instagram followers this week, while her YouTube subscriber count (nearing 2 million) appears to be climbing as well. Not to mention, the two-name moniker "Olivia Jade" boasts recognition that it certainly did not on Monday. So, in terms of her influencer empire, could Olivia be on the rise?
According to Hollywood Branded CEO Stacy Jones, the follower gain is likely "driven by many people who are just now hearing her name for the first time" and are curious as to how she'll proceed. "However, these aren’t people who are likely to stick around for the long run, nor be influenced to buy the products she posts about," Jones told InStyle.
As for the vitriol in the comments section, Jones thinks it may be a top factor in brand's decisions to drop Giannulli. "She is dealing with potentially a very hostile tween and teen following right now, who are very quick to be socially outspoken and judgmental based on a perceived group outlook, versus their own true thoughts. This is why so many brands are breaking contracts and putting space between Olivia Jade and themselves right now — they want to avoid collateral damage with tweens, teens and millennials," she told us.
"Olivia Jade’s immediate short term future as a social influencer is not one where she is likely to see a lot of success," Jones said, noting that her parents' actions "have consequences that are going to last for quite some time."
As more information comes to light regarding her complicity in her parents' scheme (it is alleged that she posed for photos that were used to pass her off as a rower) the dropped partnerships are perfectly understandable, if not commendable from the point of view of the consumer. That being said, Jones says that not all hope is lost for the 19-year-old's future as an influencer.
"There is a big ‘but’ here," Jones tells us. "Olivia Jade has been extremely successful at establishing herself as a leading social influencer. Much like other celebrity children, she has been gifted opportunities that have opened doors to her. Yet the fact is, not every celebrity child becomes successful in their own right, as Olivia Jade has done. [She] has shown that she has drive, a good business sense, and an innate or learned ability to know how to not only create content that gets engagement, but also how to interact with her own followers to make them want to keep following her, and purchasing that which she endorses."
"Right now the overall impression of Olivia Jade is that she is a rich, entitled, daughter of a celebrity who has cheated her way into college," Jones continued, reading the minds of a vocal subsection of the world wide web. "The most important thing Olivia Jade can do is find a way to normalize herself so she can become more relatable. And that could even include finding a charity alignment of some sort — or starting one, to use her own platform to help others."
The harsh truth, according to Jones? "She is going to need to grow up very quickly, find her voice, and rebuild."