Olivia Jade Giannulli, the daughter of Hauppauge-raised actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, says her parents' arrests in last year's college-admissions scandal opened her eyes to how sheltered and privileged she was growing up, and that she needed to change.
"When all this first happened and it became public, I remember thinking — my thoughts are completely different now — 'How are people mad about this?' " Giannulli, 21, said Tuesday on Facebook Watch's Red Table Talk, hosted by actress Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith and her mother Adrienne Banfield Norris."I know that sounds so silly but in the bubble that I grew up in, I didn't know so much outside of it. … I didn't realize at the time, that's privilege."
Saying that she was "oblivious," the style and beauty influencer, who was dropped by many brands in the wake of the scandal, marveled, "I walked around my whole 20 years of life not realizing, 'You have insane privilege. You're like the poster child of white privilege, and you had no idea.' " The realization left her, she said, "ashamed and embarrassed."
Ultimately, "What was important was for me to come here and say, 'I'm sorry. I acknowledge what was wrong.' … I took my privilege and all my blessings for granted. I never thought anything of it, and that's what really rocked me. I was, like, 'This is wrong, you need to talk about this, you need to do it publicly because this situation was public, and then you need to move forward and do better.' "
Former "Full House" star Loughlin and her husband were among more than two dozen parents found guilty of bribing colleges to guarantee their children's admission. Loughlin is currently serving 2 months in prison, and Giannulli 5 months. Olivia Jade and her sister, Isabella Rose Giannulli, 22, both dropped out of the University of Southern California.
Olivia Jade Giannulli did confront her parents, she said. "They didn't really have much to say except, 'I'm so sorry. I really messed up in trying to give the best to you and your sister.' … I'm not going to judge them for a mistake they made, although it's a big one. They're going to pay the price for it. … Neither of them went to college, so I think it was important for them, like, 'We didn't get to have that, I want to give it to you.' But they wanted to give it to us a little too much."
She added, "It's been hard. I think for anybody, no matter what the situation is, you don't want to see your parents go to prison."