Tyra Banks Thinks Olivia Jade Is 'Very Brave' for Joining 'DWTS' : 'I'm Actually Proud of Her'

Olivia Jade Giannulli will compete as a celebrity cast member in the upcoming 30th season of Dancing with the Stars

Tyra Banks is glad to see Olivia Jade Giannulli as part of the celebrity cast on the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars.

The DWTS host and executive producer, 47, tells PEOPLE (the TV Show!) that she's "proud" to see the 21-year-old influencer returning to the spotlight more than two years after the college admissions scandal that involved Olivia's parents, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli.

"I'm actually proud of her. It is hard to go through what she went through," Banks tells PEOPLE (the TV Show!)'s correspondent Sandra Vergara in an interview airing on Friday.

"She's a human being and people have to remember that first, that she's a human being with emotions and so much," Banks continues. "So for her to say, 'I'm going to come on here, I'm going to show the world my vulnerability. I'm going to be able to tell my story like I have never told it before,' is very brave, but also very smart."

People's "Ones To Watch" - Arrivals
Jerritt Clark/WireImage

Last week, Olivia was announced as one of the celebrity contenders on the 30th season the hit ABC dance competition. At the time, she told reporters at a press event that she was taking the gig as an opportunity to "grow" as a person.

"I hope people just really genuinely know how excited and grateful I am," Olivia 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."

Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty; Maarten de Boer/ABC via Getty

"I'm ready to put myself back out there and try new things," she added. "I'm really excited to challenge myself and put myself out of my comfort zone, which I don't do often."

The YouTuber echoed the same sentiments in a recent interview with PEOPLE (the TV Show!), saying that while she's "not proud of the past," she hopes to turn over a new leaf.

"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 continues. "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."

Lori Loughlin, Olivia Jade Giannulli
Lori Loughlin and Olivia Jade Giannulli. Steve Granitz/WireImage

Loughlin, 57, and Giannulli, 58, were both sentenced to prison last year after pleading guilty to the charges against them related to the scandal.

According to the criminal complaint against them, the couple paid $500,000 to Rick Singer and Key Worldwide Foundation to falsely designate their daughters, Olivia and her sister Isabella Rose Giannulli, as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, even though neither ever participated in the sport.

On Aug. 21, 2020, a judge approved the couple's plea deal, sentencing Loughlin to two months in jail, a $150,000 fine, and 150 hours of community service. Giannulli received five months in jail, a $250,000 fine, and 250 hours of community service.

Loughlin started her prison sentence in October 2020 and served nearly two months before she was released from the federal correctional facility in December. Giannulli, meanwhile, was booked into federal prison on Nov. 19 and was released from home confinement in April of this year, marking the end of his five-month sentence.

RELATED VIDEO: Olivia Jade Giannulli Says She's 'Not Proud' of Her Past: 'I Wish I Could Go Back in Time'

Olivia broke her silence on the scandal for the first time in December, sharing on an episode of Facebook Watch's Red Table Talk, "I'm not trying to victimize myself. I don't want pity — I don't deserve pity. We messed up. I just want a second chance to be like, 'I recognize I messed up.' "

"I never got to say, 'I'm really sorry that this happened,' or 'I really own that this was a big mess-up on everybody's part,' but I think everybody feels that way in my family right now," she said at the time.

This month, news of her casting on DWTS casting sparked backlash among some on social media given her family's past, with one Twitter user decrying the decision as the "textbook definition of white privilege."

Other celebrities set to star on the upcoming season of the show include The Talk co-host Amanda Kloots, Beverly Hills, 90210's Brian Austin Green, Bling Empire's Christine Chiu, Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby, former NBA player Iman Shumpert, country star Jimmie Allen, YouTube superstar JoJo Siwa, Real Housewives of Atlanta's Kenya Moore, Cobra Kai's Martin Kove, The Bachelor's Matt James, Spice Girls' Melanie C., The Office's Melora Hardin, WWE's Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, and Olympic gymnast Suni Lee.

Tune in to see more of Tyra Banks' interview on PEOPLE (the TV Show!) on Friday streaming on PeopleTV.com, or download the @PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

Related Articles