Whether she likes it or not, Olivia Jade Giannulli’s involvement in the high profile celebrity college admissions scandal has made her a fixture of modern pop culture, so much so that the writer’s room of Gossip Girl snuck in a shady reference to Operation Varsity Blues in the premiere episode of the reboot. But Olivia Jade isn’t taking the shade sitting down.
The Gen-Z remake of cult teen series Gossip Girl is finally upon us, and the drama swirling in the halls of Constance Billard is turning out to be quite a different vibe than the story we grew up with years ago. In addition to the fact that we already know the identity of Gossip Girl, there are a whole new slew of cultural references to keep up with, one of them being Olivia Jade and Operation Varsity Blues.
In the first episode of the HBO Max original series, main character Julien (Jordan Alexander) is struggling to maintain her queen status amidst the sudden rise of Gossip Girl. Her friends are concerned about the decline of her popularity because it’s “bad for business,” but they believe that Julien can overcome her circumstances and win over her social media following again — after all, even Olivia Jade was able to make a comeback.
“Everything will be fine so long as you win,” says the clique's resident fashionista Luna La (Zión Moreno) confidently. “Olivia Jade gained followers when her mom went to jail."
Having seen the reference, Olivia Jade has officially entered the chat with a slight correction. On Saturday July 10, the influencer uploaded a TikTok showing the specific scene from Gossip Girl, shaking her head when the line was delivered.
“No I didn’t,” she says in the video.
Immediately following the scandal, Jade started losing major brand deals, and her over 2 million pre-scandal YouTube followers started to fall off. (Currently, she still only boasts 1.8 million followers on YouTube.) As more news about Operation Varsity Blues was revealed to the public, the comments section of her YouTube vlogs and Instagram posts were full of discourse (good and bad) about her involvement in the federal investigation. She ended up taking a near yearlong hiatus from social media, and once she did return, TikTok took her to task, teaching her the difference between accountability and public shaming.
Things are a lot better for the influencer now — both of her parents have been released from prison, she's posting regularly on social media again, and has millions of followers across platforms — but for Joshua Safran's information, they haven't always been that way. Let Olivia Jade tell it, she had to go through the fire to get back her sense of normalcy.