Tyra Banks is defending this year's most controversial "Dancing With the Stars" casting choice: Olivia Jade.
Jade, the daughter of "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, is set to make her "DWTS" debut in Monday night's season 30 premiere. Fans, however, criticized her involvement because of her parents' participation in the college admissions cheating scandal.
Banks, who is set to return as host, spoke with "Entertainment Tonight" about Jade's casting and encouraged fans to give the 21-year-old YouTuber the benefit of the doubt.
"I think Olivia is so brave," the former "America's Next Top Model" host, 47, said. "I think people don't know her, they know what happened to her."
As previously reported, Loughlin and Giannulli both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison last year for paying $500,000 to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits when neither child participated in the sport.
"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. So I trust that she says she didn't know," Banks continued.
The supermodel added, "[Olivia] 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? 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."
As for whether or not Jade deserves to be on the show, Banks said, "If people are talking about you, you're famous and you can be on 'Dancing With the Stars.'"
"Dancing With the Stars" season 30 premieres Monday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Tyra Banks defends Olivia Jade's 'Dancing With the Stars' casting originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com