Olivia Dunne says New York Times 'hit piece' led to SI Swimsuit Issue (2024)

Author of the article:

Denette Wilford

Published Jul 05, 20232 minute read

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Olivia Dunne says New York Times 'hit piece' led to SI Swimsuit Issue (1)

Olivia Dunne is getting the last laugh.

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Olivia Dunne says New York Times 'hit piece' led to SI Swimsuit Issue (2)

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Olivia Dunne says New York Times 'hit piece' led to SI Swimsuit Issue (3)

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The 20-year-old dynamo from Louisiana State University, who has made waves for her gymnastics and her sexy, girl-next-door appearance, was the subject of a New York Times story last year titled “New Endorsem*nts for College Athletes Resurface an Old Concern: Sex Sells.”

Dunne posted a photo of the story on her Instagram Stories, which featured her in her LSU leotard, asking followers, “Is this too much?” – and tagging The Times.

But it was her response that helped land her a spread in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

That and her name, image and likeness (NIL) deals that led to The Times initially reaching out to Dunne for an interview – though, at the time, she didn’t know they were planning on going with the other more salacious angle.

Olivia Dunne says New York Times 'hit piece' led to SI Swimsuit Issue (5)

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“[The New York Times] wrote a hit piece about me,” Dunne said on a recent episode of the Full Send Podcast.

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“It was complete BS,” she said. “I mean, they called me on the phone in November and they told me that they were going to write about my accomplishments and stuff and I was like, ‘OK, for sure. That’s awesome. The New York Times. That’s huge.’”

But come interview time, the questions caught her off guard.

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“The interviewer called me and he was asking me very odd questions. It was worded quite weird,” she explained.

“He was like, ‘So, how does it feel to be a small petite blonde gymnast doing so well with NIL,’” Dunne recalled.

“I was just like, ‘Why does it matter that I’m petite and blond?’ You can just ask me about NIL without you having to use these weird ways of saying it.”

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Dunne wore her “team-issued leotard” for The Times photoshoot, explaining, “That’s what we have to wear.”

But when the article came out, “it was a giant picture of me just standing there in a leotard and the headline was ‘Sex Sells.’ So I was like, ‘So, you’re going to come into the gym. You’re going to ask me to pose in our team-issued attire and then put a headline, ‘Sex Sells.’

“In the article, they were saying the things I was doing were a step back for women’s athletics.”

Dunne’s immediate response prompted an equally quick one from SI.

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“I guess it caught Sports Illustrated’s attention and then they were like, ‘We loved that you clapped back at The New York Times since they’re so major,’” she said.

Dunne, who goes by Livvy on social media, boasts 7.6 million followers on TikTok and 4.2 million on Instagram.

During the podcast, she revealed that she has made more than half a million dollars for a single post.

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