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Olivia Jade says she faces constant ‘guilt and stress’ in the wake of college admissions scandal

It might not look like it as she sashays across the dance floor on Dancing With the Stars, but Olivia Jade Giannulli continues to struggle with fallout from the college admissions scandal.

Both of Olivia Jade’s parents, actress Lori Loughlin and clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, served time in prison for paying $500,000 for their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, to be admitted to the University of Southern California under the guise that they were crew athletes, although neither of them played the sport. While it’s not clear who knew what and when, the daughters, at the very least, appear to have posed for photos on rowing machines that were used in the application process.

On the debut episode of her new podcast, Conversations With Olivia Jade, the 22-year-old influencer spoke with a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based psychologist, Hillary Goldsher, about how someone can forgive themselves after a misstep.

Olivia Jade hosts the new podcast
Olivia Jade Giannulli hosts the new podcast Conversations With Olivia Jade. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Goldsher responded that making mistakes is part of being human, so what’s important is how we react to those mistakes. The problem often comes in, she said, when people become frozen in fear after they’ve messed up, and they don’t make amends for what they’ve done. 

“I think also that’s just so, for my certain situation, like, that’s so hard for me to get to that point of like, ‘It’s OK, Olivia, you didn’t know back then and then you obviously have so many people online being like, ‘You should have known. You should have done better. This shouldn’t have happened in the first place'” said Olivia Jade, who left USC in 2019. “And then you have people telling you, like, ‘Well, clearly you haven’t learned anything still.'”

Olivia Jade finds the latter statement especially frustrating.

“A, you don’t know me. How do you know that? And B, I would be crazy to not have learned anything from this situation of just constant, like, guilt and stress that I have given to myself. And waking up every day for almost two years straight and seeing something written about you…,” Olivia Jade said. “And I’m not saying this to throw myself a little pity party. … Obviously, we really messed up.”

Olivia Jade said it’s really challenging for her to “let go of so much guilt.”

She noted, too, that she struggles with speaking out about the scandal.

“I feel like I walk on eggshells when I talk just because I don’t want to say the wrong thing — and I want to make it clear to people listening that I’m not trying to victimize myself — but I also am trying just from … having this personal experience, like, I really do understand how different of a person I’ve become because of it, and not entirely in a good way,” Olivia Jade said. “Sometimes, like, I really do feel like I have way harder days or like I’m way harder on myself. And I’m so scared, like, looking at my name that something bad is happening, and I’m the face of it. And it’s gonna be, like, this big thing that blows up in my face again. … You live your life a little bit differently, in my opinion.”

Olivia Jade said therapy has helped her cope with a difficult time, and she sought advice for people — famous or not — who might be struggling with a similar situation. Goldsher advised them to avoid negative self-talk and instead speak to themselves the same way they would talk to their own daughters or little sisters.

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