Tyra Banks Dancing With the Stars

Tyra Banks Defends Casting Olivia Jade On Dancing With The Stars Following College Admissions Scandal

Break out your sequins, sparkles, and confetti–Dancing with the Stars is back! The show has never been afraid to court controversy with its casting decisions. Host and executive producer of DWTS Tyra Banks also stirred up her own controversy. In October of 2020, sources told OK! Magazine that Tyra allegedly made it “clear behind the scenes that all of the Real Housewives cast members have been banned.” The insider added, “Tyra wants reality stars like Carole Baskin From Tiger King – not a decade-old franchise that no one talks about anymore.” Yikes!

Tyra’s publicist issued a statement refuting the casting claims. “This is 100 percent untrue. She’s a huge fan of the ‘Housewives’ and everyone knows Tyra is a businesswoman first,” the publicist said. “As a businesswoman, why would she say anything against the ‘Housewives’? She has nothing to do with casting.”

Now Tyra is discussing the casting of polarizing social media influencer Olivia Jade. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Tyra defended Olivia’s casting. Olivia is best known for her family’s involvement in the college admissions scandal.

Her mother, well-known actress Lori Loughlin, and her father, designer Mossimo Giannulli, paid out $500,000 to get Olivia and her sister, Isabella [Giannulli], accepted to the University of Southern California. Neither had ever rowed crew before, but they were admitted as recruits for the crew team. Both of Olivia’s parents served jail time last year because of the bribery scandal.

Some DWTS fans are understandably upset about Olivia getting her time in the limelight. Tyra stated, “I think Olivia is so brave. I think people don’t know her; they know what happened to her. She has said that she did not know about what was going on and it’s really sad, and it’s very hurtful when something publicly happens but you had nothing to do with it,” she explained. “So I trust that she says she didn’t know.”


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Tyra continued, “She is having to deal with that, and I think she’s coming to Dancing with the Stars to be able to tell her story and show her vulnerability. And is she a celebrity?” Tyra remarked.

“Not traditionally, but what is a celebrity today? If that’s the case, then there’s no Instagram influencer that is a celebrity. We are in a whole different world and celebrity has taken a turn and a change,” she added. “If people are talking about you, you’re famous. And you can be on Dancing with the Stars,” Tyra commented.

Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore is also putting herself out there and getting ready to Twirl around the ballroom, and Tyra is thrilled. Kenya is ready to tango and take that mirror ball trophy!

“One of my best friends from 20 years ago, Kenya Moore is on the show…Her being on the show has made us reconnect,” Tyra shared. “I love her so much. I think Dancing with the Stars brought us together again. And I had nothing to do with casting her because I don’t cast the show.” Will Tyra be able to stay objective about Kenya?

Tyra also promised that Season 30 will have “some nostalgia, but we still wanna stay fresh and relevant and constantly looking to the future, and doing that thing that makes people go, ‘Oh my gosh!'”


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[Photo Credit: ABC/Adrienne Raquel]