At the center of the college admissions scandal that implicated coaches, parents, and exam administrators at schools like Georgetown University is 19-year-old student Olivia Jade Giannulli, an Internet influencer who used her platform to tell followers she doesn’t really care about school. Or, as we know now, she doesn’t really care about the school her mother, Full House star Lori Loughlin, allegedly got her into by breaking the law.
The University of Southern California student has 1.4 million followers on Instagram and almost 2 million subscribers on YouTube. She posts videos of her doing her hair and makeup and glamorous #sponsoredcontent thanks to partnerships with big-name brands like Amazon and Sephora (the makeup brand announced they were severing ties with the influencer on Thursday).
Given the attention Giannulli’s social media star status has garnered in the wake of the indictments, we set out to find Olivia Jade-style influencers at local colleges. Would we find thousands of likes on photos of students donning Ivanka Trump Collection cardigans in front of the Lincoln Memorial, a Gregory’s latte in hand? Would they, rather than show off their latest Caribbean vacation, post photographic evidence of tackling Capitol Hill intern work in sensible $400 flats? Is the next big Instagram name currently sitting in Psych 101 across town?
Not really. It turns out DC’s colleges don’t have anyone of Olivia Jade status on the ‘Gram, but there is a small batch of micro influencers with followings of 1,000 to 100,000. Sadly, none of them are related to anyone who was in Full House.
Pippa Leigh, @pippaofficiel
While Giannulli poses for brands like Amazon Prime, Smile Direct Club, and Sephora, Georgetown University student Pippa Leigh (@pippaofficiel) poses with a Melitta pour-over coffee maker. The economics student posts Instagrams and vlogs chronicling her sartorial choices and cappuccino art to her 2,492 followers.
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g i v e a w a y (now closed) ☕ I partnered with @melittausa to give one of you an amazing at-home coffee experience with their signature pour over coffee maker! To enter: follow me and tag a coffee-loving friend in the comments. More friends count for extra entries! (must be US based to be elligable) ♥️ Also be sure to check out my stories to see how easy this maker is to use! #melittacoffee #giveaway #ad
Sahara Mokhtari, @this_is_sahara
It’s not Hollywood, but aspiring pop star and University of Maryland pre-med student Sahara Mokhtari (@this_is_sahara) did host the premiere of local film Five Feet Apart, which, she, of course, posted about on Instagram. Due to her success in the music industry, Mokhtari has over 71,000 followers.
Sophia Umansky, @sophiakylieee
The most parallel social media presence to Olivia Jade is the daughter of Real Housewife of Beverly Hills star Kyle Richards. A student at GW, Sophia Umanksy (@sophiakylieee) as 117,000 followers. Although posts of her DC dorm room and a snap from the Kardashian’s Christmas party gather up to 10,000 likes, Umansky has yet to emerge as a spokesperson for sponsored content.
For now, it seems there is plenty of space in the District for novice Instagrammers looking to achieve influencer status. Our first tip for the next campus social media superstar? Make sure your parents haven’t bribed any coaches before signing that sponsorship contract.