Tyra Banks Says Olivia Jade Is ‘Very Brave’ For Deciding To Join DWTS

Tyra Banks is “actually proud” to see Olivia Jade Giannulli in the celebrity cast lineup on the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars.

Banks, 47, admitted she’s looking forward to seeing gthe 21-year-old influencer returning to the spotlight since the college admissions scandal that involved Olivia’s parents, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, two years ago.

“I’m actually proud of her. It is hard to go through what she went through,” Banks divulged to PEOPLE (the TV Show!)‘s correspondent Sandra Vergara in an interview yesterday.

“She’s a human being and people have to remember that first, that she’s a human being with emotions and so much,” Banks continues. “So for her to say, ‘I’m going to come on here, I’m going to show the world my vulnerability. I’m going to be able to tell my story like I have never told it before,’ is very brave, but also very smart.”

Just last week, Olivia was revealed to be one of the celebrity contenders on the 30th season of DWTS. She informed reporters at a press event that she was hoping it would be an opportunity to “grow” as a person.

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“I hope people just really genuinely know how excited and grateful I am,” Olivia said. “I think about a few weeks ago, and knowing that this was very far-fetched and not really in the cards. I’m super thankful for a second chance.” 

“I’m ready to put myself back out there and try new things,” she added. “I’m really excited to challenge myself and put myself out of my comfort zone, which I don’t do often.”

In a recent interview with PEOPLE (the TV Show!), she shared how she is “not proud of the past,” and hopes to forge a new path.

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“I want to keep evolving as a person, and I think sometimes it takes kind of difficult situations and mistakes and stuff that we’re really not proud of to do that,” she continues. “Obviously I wish I could go back in time and kind of do a lot of stuff, but I think it’s kind of important to me now to just keep learning and see where the world takes me.”

Olivia spoke on the scandal for the first time in December, revealing on an episode of Facebook Watch’s Red Table Talk, “I’m not trying to victimize myself. I don’t want pity — I don’t deserve pity. We messed up. I just want a second chance to be like, ‘I recognize I messed up.’ “

“I never got to say, ‘I’m really sorry that this happened,’ or ‘I really own that this was a big mess-up on everybody’s part,’ but I think everybody feels that way in my family right now,” she said at the time.

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