This year was ripe with uncertainty, but through fleeting highs, tragic lows, and everything in between, one unwavering constant helped keep us entertained: the Olivias.
Who are the Olivias? The Olivias aren’t Chanel wannabes from Scream Queens, members of a pop punk group called Girls4eva, or the stars of another Mean Girls movie. They — Jade, Rodrigo, Wilde, and Munn — are *the* Olivias of the moment.
While there are other Olivias in Hollywood (from lesser-known Olivias like Holt and Cuplo to straight-up acting legends like Olivia Colman), in 2021, these four dominated headlines and regularly starred as main characters of Deux Moi Instagram Stories, home to celebrity gossip. Rodrigo went from passing her driver’s test to passing everyone on the Billboard charts. Munn and Wilde made new movies and found new romances. And Jade strapped on her dancing shoes and staged a comeback.
The Olivias made so many appearances in the news that people struggled to tell them apart, which led to the creation of some helpful, search-friendly Olivia guides and personality tests. Olivia was even declared the most popular baby name of 2021, according to Baby Center. Coincidence? Or homage?
As 2021 comes to a close and we each take stock of our own personal progress, let us also look back at our year in Olivias, shall we?
Olivia Jade tried to make a comeback on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Credit: MASHABLE COMPOSITE: JON KOPALOFF / STRINGER VIA GETTY IMAGES
Fresh off her December 2020 Red Table Talk appearance, Jade — also known as Jade Giannulli and the daughter of college admissions scandal participants Mossimo Giannulli and Lori Loughlin — started the year off with a bang. On Jan. 21, the 22-year-old returned to YouTube after more than a year-long hiatus (and just weeks after her mother was released from prison) to post a daily vlog. In it, she acknowledged and apologized for her family’s role in the scandal. (As a reminder, Giannulli and Loughlin pled guilty to paying $500,000 to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California.)
Netflix released a documentary on said scandal in March, and Jade’s father was released from his five-month prison sentence early in April. She lived a relatively low-key few months after that, but in September things really started to pick up. Jade announced plans to launch a podcast, her mom got another holiday TV gig, and she was also cast on Season 30 of Dancing With The Stars.
The reality show has a history of casting controversial figures, such as former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and it’s become a predictable next step for infamous celebrities seeking redemption in the public eye. From Jade’s casting announcement to her intro video — in which she claimed she was best known for being a social media influencer — her DWTS journey was criticized by folks who felt she didn’t deserve the airtime. New DWTS host Tyra Banks came to Jade’s defense, telling Entertainment Tonight, “If people are talking about you, you’re famous and you can be on Dancing With the Stars.”
Jade worked with partner Val Chmerkovskiy to learn the art of the quickstep, tango, samba, salsa, foxtrot, and more. The two were cut in a double elimination round on Nov. 8 (on the penultimate episode of the 10-week competition), but Jade says she’s grateful for the experience and excited to return to her YouTube roots. Though the majority of her post-scandal vlogs still receive hundreds of thousands of views, the counts are certainly lower than they are on videos posted before 2019 and it remains unclear if Jade will be able to find long-term success as an influencer again. She currently has 1.83 million YouTube subscribers (a minor drop from the 1.9 million she had pre-scandal), but after her family’s involvement in the college admissions scam became public she notably lost brand deals with Sephora, Tresemmé, and Estée Lauder.
Olivia Wilde can direct, act, and do a backbend.
Credit: MASHABLE COMPOSITE: AMY SUSSMAN / GETTY IMAGES
Speaking of a wild year, Olivia Wilde had a truly golden 2021. A mere four days into January, the now famous photos of her and boyfriend Harry Styles at his manager Jeffrey Azoff’s wedding dropped and set the internet ablaze. The two worked together on Wilde’s movie, Don’t Worry Darling, which wrapped filming this year, dropped a teaser in September, and set a release date for 2022.
Wilde’s new romance blossomed months after she and ex Jason Sudeikis — who’s had quite the year himself — ended things. Though she and Styles don’t frequently discuss their relationship in interviews, they inspired headlines throughout 2021 and Wilde faced the wrath of an unhappy Harry fandom on more than one occasion. The haters didn’t stop the couple from showing support on main or taking a gorgeous trip to Tuscany together. Wilde also sports Harry Styles merch on the regular and attends her fair share of his concerts. (Remember her recently viral “backbend?” Of course. Who could forget!)
Aside from Wilde’s work on Don’t Worry Darling, she was in the 2021 film, How It Ends, and also joined the stellar cast for Damien Chazelle’s 2022 film, Babylon. She was profiled for Vogue in October and ended the year with news that she’ll also be the magazine’s January 2022 cover star, with the headline, “Olivia Wilde Is Living Her Best Life.” Don’t we know it.
Olivia Munn is in the house.
Credit: MASHABLE COMPOSITE: EMMA MCINTYRE / GETTY IMAGES
If we were being picky, Olivia Munn might not have made the cut for the list. It turns out her real name is LISA Olivia Munn, but since her presence was so prominent in the Oliviaverse this year we let that slide.
Munn started 2021 off on a serious note by passionately advocating for the Asian American community in wake of hate crimes and publicly speaking about her fibromyalgia diagnosis. It wasn’t until May that things took a — shall we say unexpected — turn.
Rumors that Munn was dating newly-separated comedian John Mulaney started to spread, and the rumblings eventually proved to be true. Here’s but a taste of the chaos that unfolded next:
In July, Mulaney officially filed for divorce from Tendler.
During a September appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Mulaney confirmed that Munn was pregnant.
The couple maybe broke up several times in 2021 but also maybe didn’t. No one really knows. Nor should we! Let these two live.
Mulaney ended the year by announcing his 2022 “From Scratch” tour.
On Dec. 17, TMZ reported that Munn gave birth to a baby boy on Nov 24.
Munnlaney drama aside, Munn also had a solid year professionally. She starred in Justine Bateman’s film Violet and Michele Civetta’s The Gateway, did voice acting for Marvel’s Hit–Monkey, and was even in an Imagine Dragons music video. Such range.
Let’s hear it for Olivia Rodrigo.
Credit: MASHABLE COMPOSITE: KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES
If we were to name a reigning Olivia of 2021, it’d undoubtedly be Rodrigo, the 18-year-old musical sensation whose angsty tracks came into our lives when we needed them most.
It’s entirely possible that Rodrigo had one of the most eventful years in teen history. She skyrocketed from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series fame seemingly overnight after releasing her hit single “drivers license” on Jan. 8. She then made headlines alongside HSMTMTS co-star Joshua Bassett and actor/singer Sabrina Carpenter as the world tried to unpack their young love triangle, but it wasn’t long before Rodrigo had bigger things — like performing at major award shows and heading to the White House — to worry about.
Rodrigo’s year was very eventful, but here’s a look back at some highlights:
In February, Saturday Night Live performed a “drivers license” sketch to honor Rodrigo’s hit single. Rodrigo would later go on to perform as SNL‘s musical guest with host Keegan-Michael Key in May.
Rodrigo scooped up a fair share of awards throughout the year and performed at events like the VMAs, BRIT Awards, and AMAs.
She dropped her second single “deja vu” and a third single, “good 4 u,” along with two music videos.
She got her first parking ticket! (A teenage rite of passage.)
Her debut album, SOUR, dropped on May 21.
She took a beat to graduate high school.
Rodrigo swung by the White House to meet with Joe Biden and Dr. Fauci and chat about vaccines. (Biden gave her an ice cream scoop. NBD.)
Her merch went viral for all the wrong reasons.
She attended her first Met Gala, got nominated for six Grammy awards, and absolutely dominated the year on Spotify.
Rodrigo spent the entire year hustling and smashing streaming records. Then, in the final days of the year she announced a SOUR tour for 2022, graced the DMV with her NPR Tiny Desk Concert, and was named Time Magazine‘s Entertainer of the Year. 🔥
If 2021 taught us anything about Olivias, it’s that we can’t Liv without ’em.