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Olivia Jade Giannulli’s “Dancing With the Stars” journey may have come to an end, but she says the experience is far more vital than a mirrorball trophy could ever be.
The beauty vlogger and her pro partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, were eliminated from the dance competition show Monday night after receiving the lowest combination of fan votes and scores from the judges.
“I am honestly shocked I even made it this far. It’s been such a journey and I’m just so grateful I did the show,” Giannulli, 22, told Page Six and other reporters in a post-show presser. “It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It gave me this newfound confidence that I don’t even really know if I could put that into words.”
She added, “I’m just very, very happy I said yes and that I got Val as my partner. I literally wouldn’t change a single thing.”
Competing on Season 30 of “DWTS” marked a major comeback for Giannulli amid her parents’ involvement in the college admissions scandal.
Lori Loughlin, 57, and Mossimo Giannulli, 58, were sent to prison after pleading guilty last May for bribing Olivia Jade and her older sister (23-year-old Isabella “Bella” Giannulli) into the University of Southern California as fake rowing recruits. They were released in December 2020 and April 2021, respectively.
When asked what she’s learned about herself by doing “DWTS,” Olivia Jade admitted that “hard work really does pay off.”
“I really found a drive and a work ethic that I think I’ve had since I was young, but maybe I haven’t been able to execute in the last few years. So it’s been really nice to find that again,” she explained. “Hard work really does pay off, and when you really give something your all, and that joy you genuinely feel from doing so, there’s nothing really like it; it’s so rewarding.”
She added, “I’m just going to continue to work my absolute hardest at anything that’s thrown at me in the next few years. That’s probably something that will stay with me forever.”
Olivia Jade said she did get a chance to speak to her parents briefly after the show ended, and that they “are so proud” of how far she made it.
“They both were like, ‘Hey, you did it, you tried your best, we’re proud of you for putting yourself out there and we love you,’” she shared. “They’re great, obviously very supportive.”
Chmerkovskiy, 35, spoke similar sentiments, saying, “I’m very proud of her, I’m proud of us and this season. It meant a lot to me to be in a position to help somebody.”
“I’m grateful for that opportunity, and grateful that it worked, too,” he explained. “We did win some folks over. We did get a chance to shed a different light on her and show her in a different spotlight, and then also show that she earned it.”
Chmerkovskiy reiterated that she “wasn’t just given” it: “She earned her stay here for eight weeks, and it’s been a blast.”
In addition to Olivia Jade and Chmerkovskiy, country star Jimmie Allen and his pro partner, Emma Slater, were also sent home at the end of Monday’s “Janet Jackson Night” in a double elimination.
The six remaining contestants will move into next week’s “Semi Finals,” taking them one step closer to the coveted Season 30 mirrorball trophy.
“Dancing With the Stars” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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