Tyra Banks Defends Olivia Jade After 'DWTS' Casting Backlash

By Emily Lee

September 16, 2021

Olivia Jade has Tyra Banks in her corner.

Earlier this year, Dancing With The Stars announced Olivia Jade would be one of the contestants in the upcoming thirtieth season of the dance competition. Not long after the 20-year-old influencer's involvement became known, the show faced backlash for casting her.

For those who may not know, Olivia Jade is the daughter of Full House actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli. While once known for their respective careers, the couple's involvement in the college admissions scandal has overshadowed their professional lives that past few years.

While chatting with Entertainment Tonight, DWTS host Banks defended Olivia Jade from criticism over her casting. “I think Olivia is so brave. I think people don’t know her, they know what happened to her,” she said. “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. So I trust that she says she didn’t know.”

Banks also addressed the criticism that Olivia Jade isn't enough of a celebrity to participate in the competition. "Is she a celebrity? Not traditionally, but what is a celebrity today? If that's the case then there's no Instagram influencer that is a celebrity. We are in a whole different world and celebrity has taken a turn and a change," the former model said.

"If people are talking about you, you're famous," Banks continued. "And you can be on Dancing With the Stars."

Olivia Jade has previously condemned her parents' involvement in the bribery scam, saying she's "ashamed" of what happened. “It really can’t be excused,” she said during an appearance on Red Table Talk. “This has been a really eye-opening experience for me … and although there’s a lot of negative around it and there’s a lot of mistakes and wrongdoings, it’s led me to have a completely different outlook on a lot of situations."

The YouTube star went on to say that she deserved "a second chance to redeem myself, to show I've grown," which she hopes to do during her DWTS stint.

"I just want to make it very clear that it is important to learn from the past and I am a big believer in second chances," she told ET. "I am still young and I am still trying to figure it out and I hope that I just continue to grow every day. And I think because this process is so challenging, you learn so much about yourself, which I am excited for. [I'm] putting myself outside of my comfort zone."

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