Olivia Jade Giannulli Makes 'DWTS' Debut with Val Chmerkovskiy: 'I'm Not Trying to Pull a Pity Card'

Olivia Jade Giannulli told PEOPLE that learning choreography had been difficult days before her DWTS debut

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli's daughter has entered the Dancing with the Stars ballroom.

On Monday, during the season 30 premiere, Olivia Jade Giannulli performed her first dance, the salsa, with her pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy. The pair received a score of 25 out of 40.

Before their first official performance, the 21-year-old influencer practiced the routine with Chmerkovskiy, 35, and spoke about her decision to participate in the show. "For the past few years, I guess you can say I've been wrapped up in a scandal," she told the cameras. "After everything happened, I did step back from social media and just soak in what everybody was saying. I'm not trying to pull a pity card, but I just need to move forward and do better."

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Olivia Jade also told Chmerkovskiy, "I just want to show people that I have a different side to me, I have a strong work ethic," as he told her: "I got your back. I'm not really looking at your past. It's what you do here for me that's important."

The pro dancer later said, "Dancing with the Stars is a perfect opportunity for the world to see another side of Olivia."

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Cheering them on in the audience was her sister, Bella Giannulli.

Following the show, Olivia Jade shared her gratitude for her sister's support, calling Bella her "best friend in the world."

"It was great having my sister in the crowd," she told PEOPLE. "She's my best friend in the world. Her support is everything and it creates a level of comfort knowing my older sister is there watching me. The best advice she gave was to breathe. She texted me a long thing before, like 'Take a deep breath, I know you're nervous.' That's pretty much all she said, breathe."

"So proud of you. This is the start of a brand new chapter in your life. I'm so proud of the way you came out with such confidence. You're so sure of yourself," judge Carrie Ann Inaba said after the pair's first performance.

At the time her casting was announced, Olivia Jade told reporters that she was taking the gig as an opportunity to "grow" as a person and her "second chance" about two and half years after the college admissions scandal that implicated her parents unfolded.

"I hope people just really genuinely know how excited and grateful I am," she said. "I think about a few weeks ago, and knowing that this was very far-fetched and not really in the cards. I'm super thankful for a second chance."

The Conversations with Olivia Jade podcast host added, "I'm ready to put myself back out there and try new things. I'm really excited to challenge myself and put myself out of my comfort zone, which I don't do often."

Days before her DWTS debut, she told PEOPLE that learning choreography had been difficult. "I would not consider myself a dancer by any means, but it's so much more work than you really anticipate with the dedication and the patience you have to have with yourself," she said at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on Friday.

"The pros make it look so effortless and easy, but once you get in there and they're really teaching you the steps, it's way harder than I ever thought. But what I will say is the pros do such a good job," she explained.

Giannulli recently told PEOPLE (the TV Show!) that she "believes in second chances" and how she was "obviously not proud of the past."

"I want to keep evolving as a person, and I think sometimes it takes kind of difficult situations and mistakes and stuff that we're really not proud of to do that," she said. "Obviously I wish I could go back in time and kind of do a lot of stuff, but I think it's kind of important to me now to just keep learning and see where the world takes me."

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays on ABC.

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