Olivia Jade Giannulli got emotional reflecting on what “Dancing With the Stars” has meant to her after dealing with public scrutiny the last few years as a result of her parents’ involvement in the college admissions scandal.
The YouTube influencer, 22, who has spent the better part of the last two years steeped in the scandal, advanced for the second time on Season 30 of the hit competition show alongside her professional dancing partner, Val Chmerkovskiy. The move comes after a two-night Disney-themed event that she notes helped boost her confidence.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Giannulli got emotional while reflecting on what the positive reinforcement and admiration means for her after spending so much time feeling “shame” over her part in the college admissions scandal.
“I feel like it kind of makes me emotional in a weird way just because… I’m not gonna cry,” she said while visibly fighting back tears. “I think it’s like a sense of, like, I walk outside in the world the last few years, and I have a lot of, like, an overwhelming amount of guilt and shame.”
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The star then had to take a moment to compose herself with the help of Chmerkovskiy. When she returned, she apologized for getting emotional and finished her thoughts.
“Thank you, thank you, sorry, guys, I don’t know why I just cried. I’m fine, but I think what I was trying to get out was that I have the last few years just been, like, feeling a little bit shameful, so it’s really like having a new sense of confidence, obviously comes a lot from Val and being in the show, and I’m just really grateful,” she concluded.
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Giannulli previously addressed the scandal on the first episode of the show, noting that she was happy to be doing something other than talking about the crimes of her family.
“The last few years I’ve been wrapping up in a scandal,” she said during the premiere. “I did step back from social media and just soak in what everybody was saying. I’m not trying to pull a pity card, I just need to step forward and do better.”
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The scandal kicked off in 2019 when it came to light that her parents, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli paid $500,000 to scam mastermind William “Rick” Singer to get her and her sister, Isabella, recruited to the University of Southern California’s crew team despite neither girl previously participating in the sport.
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In December, Loughlin finished serving two months behind bars for her role in the scandal. Loughlin agreed to serve two months and pay a $150,000 fine along with two years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service. Her husband, Mossimo , meanwhile, was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine with two years of supervised release and 250 hours of community service in addition to a five-month prison sentence. He got out of prison in April.