Fashion, beauty and lifestyle influencer 19-year-old Olivia Jade Giannulli has been in the news for being embroiled in an elite university bribery and fraud syndicate scandal.
For those who haven’t engaged with the topic yet, the U.S. elite are faced with a university fraud scandal dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues” by the country’s federal prosecutors for allegedly conspiring to bribe elite universities’ sports coaches and test proctors. Universities that have staff and students implicated include Ivy League university Harvard, Georgetown and University of Southern California (USC), among other institutions.
According to Time, about 50 people have been indicted so far in connection with this scandal, one of which is Olivia Jade’s mother – Hollywood actress Lori Loughlin.
As reported by People magazine, Lori and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly paid $500 000 (over R7 000 000) to make it appear that Olivia Jade and her sister had been rowers so they could be admitted into USC on an athletic scholarship.
So could Olivia Jade’s YouTube career, with her being directly linked to this scandal, be in jeopardy? It can go one of two ways, right? She could have her YouTube career ruined amid brands pulling endorsements and loss of trust from her followers or she could be even more popular.
It is hasn’t looked good so far for Olivia Jade, and of course her family – which she occasionally features on her YouTube channel. Multiple brands have reportedly ended partnerships and distanced themselves from Olivia Jade and her family.
On 14 March, Sephora announced that it would discontinue its partnership with her by pulling the Olivia Jade x Sephora Collection Bronze & Illuminate Palette from its website. “After a careful review of recent developments, we have made the decision to end the Sephora Collection partnership with Olivia Jade, effective immediately,” the beauty brand told The Hollywood Reporter.
The following day, The Estee Lauder Companies Inc., an umbrella brand for Too Faced and Smashbox that have partnered with Olivia Jade in the past, told The Hollywood Reporter that they have no plans to work with her in the future. And online fashion retailer Lulus also distanced themselves with the influencer.
However, on the other side of the coin we see multiple brands who’ve reportedly had relationships with Olivia Jade have not released statements about cutting ties. This includes Dolce & Gabbana Beauty, Smashbox, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Calvin Klein, Amazon Fashion and Neutrogena, among other brands.
Also, In Style reported that Olivia Jade’s followers actually increased during this time, from 1.3 million followers to 1.4 million on Instagram, while her YouTube the number of subscribers is climbing and nearing 2 million, with of course the exposure the Olivia Jade name has now.
Hollywood Branded CEO Stacy Jones argues that at the moment, Olivia Jade is faced with angry followers, and because of that, loss of brand partnerships – but this has portrayed promising traits before for others.
“[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," Stacy tells In Style.
This means there could be a possibility for her to be able to rebrand herself in future, maybe with a few tips from Jordyn Woods.
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