A college admission scandal unfolded Tuesday as dozens of wealthy parents, including celebrities and business executives, have been accused of bribing their children’s way into America’s most prestigious universities. As the New York Times reports, one of the students at the center of the allegations, influencer and beauty blogger Olivia Jade Giannulli, quickly parlayed her attendance into profitable brand deals after being accepted at the University of Southern California last fall.
Giannulli’s mother, television actress Lori Loughlin, has been indicted alongside 33 other parents in the Justice Department’s largest college admissions prosecution to date. The indictment alleges the parents used methods like bribing test proctors to increase a student’s grades or university staff to designate their children as recruited athletes to all but guarantee admission. Many attempted to game the system without their children’s knowledge, prosecutors argue. Giannulli’s parents purportedly paid $500,000 to have their two daughters accepted into USC.
Before attending college, the 19-year-old vlogged and advertised beauty products from companies like Sephora and Two Faced to her 2 million YouTube followers and over 1 million Instagram followers. After getting accepted, she posted two paid advertisements on Instagram that emphasized her new student status in September. One showcased her dorm room decorations and shouted out Amazon’s Prime Student program, which Giannulli further advertised in a Teen Vogue piece.
A video posted on the beauty vlogger’s YouTube channel that same month showed her excitedly declaring Amazon had “hooked me up with, like, everything in my dorm.” A second Instagram post advertised the Smile Direct Club for the “back-to-school season.” She also published a YouTube video vlogging her adventures on campus.
View this post on Instagram
For back-to-school season, I’ve been using a doctor-directed, at-home invisible aligner treatment with @SmileDirectClub. I’m so happy with my results so far! Having a straighter smile definitely makes me feel more confident. Purchase your own at-home impression kit with my 50% off promo code OLIVIASMILES at https://smiledirect.co/OLIVIASMILES. #SmileU #WhatMakesMeSmile #ad
Giannulli did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment. USC released a statement detailing the school’s attempts to cooperate with the government’s investigation as well as its launch of an internal investigation.
Here is USC’s statement regarding the college admissions investigation: pic.twitter.com/IwZUuWfWA5
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) March 12, 2019
Whether or not the beauty vlogger was aware of her mother’s alleged actions, Twitter users wasted no time dunking on the influencer.
omg this headline: "Imagine Committing Fraud for a Kid and Then She Just Starts Vlogging" https://t.co/0WwlwrhlmZ
— Sarah Parvini (سارا) (@sarahparvini) March 12, 2019
olivia jade being in college is suspicious enough sffkasf
— steph (@hesinfloralsuit) March 12, 2019
olivia jade clearing out her dorm room at usc pic.twitter.com/FLC8ZgH7kw
— rosie (@bethecowboys) March 12, 2019
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