It has been weeks now since the infamous college bribery scandal broke, in which actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were criminally charged for committing fraudulent acts to get their daughters into top schools. Within just days of the story surfacing, the fallout was immediate with Loughlin getting fired from her reprised role as “Aunt Becky” on “Fuller House,” as well as getting axed by the Hallmark Channel where she enjoyed significant success as one of their leading original series stars.
Lori Loughlin was arrested along with her famous fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli on fraud charges so severe, that their collective bail was set at nearly 2 million dollars and reportedly, to pay it; they used their 35 million dollar mansion in Bel Air, CA, as collateral.
With this true drama playing out in real time, Hollywood sources claim the once celebrated Tinseltown couple has now become reclusive, barely leaving their house and for the most part, shunned by the A-List circle in which they used to thrive. Such fallout is likely no surprise considering the high profile nature of the matter, but now there is a new dynamic at play that Lori and Mossimo probably never anticipated – the very daughter, Olivia Jade, whose education they tried to commander through power and influence has now publicly turned against them. She has cut off all communication with her parents, blaming them for the decimation of her reputation and career as one of America’s leading social media stars.
Olivia was emerging as a star in her own right as a highly sought after brand influencer. A near spitting image of her mother, her beauty and girl next door charm, combined with a massive social media following made her a dream come true for young adult brands. She had used her skills and online audience to build a mini-empire while in her teens. Along the way, on more than one occasion in her social media posts, she made it clear she had no interest in college – but her parents continued to force the issue.
The ironic thing was that Olivia was so successful as a social media presence that she had already become a brand by 18, securing major deals with Sephora, Tresseme, and even a development deal for her own, patent-pending cosmetics line called “Olivia Jade Beauty.” Still, with all that success, her parents pushed for college despite Olivia expressing no interest and flatly rejecting the idea altogether.
To appease them, Oliva ultimately took the entrance tests, and according to court documents, Loughlin, and Giannulli, emailed William Rick Singer, the mastermind behind the college bribery scandal, about Olivia and Isabella’s college prospects in 2016.
They revealed that Olivia had scored at the low end or beneath acceptance scores for USC (University of Southern Cali.), which was the dream school they wanted her to attend. Unsatisfied with their daughter’s results, Mossimo decided to conspire with Singer to defraud the university, falsifying that Olivia was a seasoned athlete on the rowing team. The scam would allow her to secure an athletic scholarship despite her poor test scores.
It is unclear as to how much Olivia Jade knew of her parent’s dishonest efforts to get her into USC. Shortly after her acceptance into the school, she found herself in a social media firestorm for a flippant post in which she mocked college and said, “I’m only here for game days and the parties, I really don’t care about school.” With her millions of fans at the high school and college age, this post was seen as irresponsible by her brand partners. She faced a backlash that led to a prompt apology.
Today, Olivia Jade has lost all of her social media influencer deals; her brand integrity ruined irreparably. Her cosmetics line patent was also rejected –for now. As it stands, a brand she built in her teens that generated a substantial income, that was on par to becoming a huge success, was derailed because of the actions of extremely overzealous parents who forced their dreams onto their child. That dream is also to be unrealized as Olivia and her sister Bella withdrew from USC amid fears of extreme bullying from classmates.
There is a lesson to be learned, one that transcends tax brackets, power and influence. Parents, please note if your kid scores below the standard of a college entrance exam, then maybe he or she isn’t ready to enter. There are countless other opportunities in education like community colleges where one can build upon academic skills, in addition to numerous vocational studies programs.
When a parent’s desire for Ivy League bragging rights leads them to photoshop their kid’s faces onto athlete’s bodies, they might want to reassess their priorities in life.
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.