Last Updated on September 22, 2021 by Kristi Dosh
LSU gymnast Olivia “Livvy” Dunne is projected to be one of the student athletes who benefits the most from the NCAA’s relaxed regulations on student athletes monetizing their name, image and likeness. With more than 5.7 million
LSU gymnast Olivia “Livvy” Dunne is projected to be one of the student athletes who benefits the most from the NCAA’s relaxed regulations on student athletes monetizing their name, image and likeness. With more than 5.7 million followers on TikTok and Instagram, she is the most followed student athlete on social media. After signing with WME Sports for representation last month, Dunne is now announcing her first exclusive brand partnership with activewear brand Vuori.
I had the opportunity to chat with Dunne about her first NIL deal, and it was clear the 18-year-old sophomore is striking a balance between her life as a student athlete pre-NIL and all the new opportunities falling at her feet.
Asked how she’s filtering through the numerous brands who are presumably lining up to work with her, Dunne says she’s been taking her time finding brands that aligned with her own personal brand.
“This is my first exclusive brand deal I’ve ever done, so I was trying to find a brand to work with that is authentic to me and that I would want to introduce to my audience to because they trust me.”
Dunne’s voice filled with enthusiasm when asked what she wanted people to know about her deal with Vuori.
“I’m super excited about this partnership with Vuori. I can’t wait to introduce it to my audience. Ever since I put on my first Vuori sports bra, it was such quality material, and I knew it’s something that I wanted to introduce to my following because it felt right to me. The world needs to see it. It’s such a great brand.”
The alignment for Dunne goes beyond the product itself, as she says Vuori is a brand she felt like she could feel good promoting.
“We have some of the same core values, and I think it’s so great how they care about the environment. They are also committed to happiness, and that’s really important to me.”
To fulfill her end of the deal, Dunne will take part in marketing campaigns over the next two years, including promotional photoshoots, social media takeovers and branded virtual and in-person events. A source close to the deal says it’s a “mid six-figures” payday for Dunne.
“Fashion has always been a huge passion of mine,” said Dunne. “Before college, my coach and I would design my own custom leotards for all my major competitions. I love expressing myself through my style and I fell in love with Vuori because I thought their clothes looked and felt amazing.”
As Dunne chatted more about how she’s approaching NIL, it was obvious she’s taking her newfound place in the NIL spotlight in stride and just being herself.
“Nothing has changed at all with my social media stuff. I take it very seriously, and I keep it clean. And mostly I just want to be a role model to young girls. I want to set a good example, and I want to send out a message that we’re more than just our sport. That’s very important to me.”
Asked how NIL might help Dunne prepare for life after graduation, Dunne said it’s great for her and for her teammates and other student athletes.
“Social media is always something that I’ve loved, and what I think is so great about the NIL rule change is that you can do whatever you love and make money off of it. So, if you’re a musician, you can make money from your music now. It doesn’t have to be from social media. So, I think that’s just a really special thing, and it’s great for everyone’s own brand.”
When it comes to her own opportunities, Dunne isn’t focusing on the headlines predicting she’ll be the one of the first—if not the first—student athlete to reach $1 million in NIL deals. She seems completely unfazed by the attention.
“I don’t try to put any pressure on myself, and I don’t try to compare myself to other people. I’m kind of just going with the flow, and it’s very exciting.”
“Right now it’s all about trying to find a balance between school, social media and gymnastics. All them are top priorities in my life. I think it’s really a special time right now with the NIL change, especially for women’s sports because there’s not a lot of professional leagues after college for women.”
Nikki Sakelliou, Vuori’s vice president of marketing, said Dunne’s personality is a perfect fit for the brand.
“We are so excited to welcome Livvy to the Vuori family,” said Sakelliou. “When we think about who we are as a brand, we frequently return to the notion of wanting to encourage our community to lead happy, well-rounded lives—that’s what’s at the core of ‘The Rise. The Shine.’, our brand mantra. From her astonishing talents and determination as a gymnast to the positivity she spreads on social media, Livvy is a wonderful representation of the mindset we at Vuori aim to inspire.”
Vuori has an ecommerce business and physical stores in Boulder, Del Mar, Encinitas, Bridgehampton, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach, San Francisco, San Jose and Venice Beach. It’s also sold in most Nordstrom stores and REI.
This piece originally appeared on Forbes.
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