The White House wasted no time in utilizing the star power of Gen-Z superstar Olivia Rodrigo on Wednesday, when press secretary Jen Psaki invited the 18-year-old singer up to the podium to brief the media on the importance of vaccines ahead of her meeting with President Biden and Dr. Fauci.
Olivia, 18, was called upon to take the podium in the White House briefing room shortly after she was pictured arriving at the West Wing, looking every inch the pop sensation in a pink plaid Chanel suit, complete with a short mini skirt and matching jacket.
The TikTok star, who was grinning from ear-to-ear as she made her way into the West Wing ahead of her sit-down with the President and infectious disease expert Dr. Fauci, paired her Clueless-inspired ensemble with a pair of towering white platform heels from Giuseppe Zanotti, which she wore with some black socks.
She also toted a tiny black handbag with her – which likely contained her cellphone, something that will no doubt play a major role in the meeting so that she can share the White House’s message with her millions of followers.
Wasting no time: Popstar Olivia Rodrigo was called upon to lend some star power to Jen Psaki’s press briefing on Wednesday, just moments are she was pictured arriving at the White House
Star power: The 18-year-old TikTok sensation put on a stylish show in a pink plaid Chanel skirt suit and towering white platform heels as she prepared to take the podium
Arrival: Olivia’s appearance in the briefing room came shortly after she was pictured making her way into the West Wing on Wednesday morning
Flying high: The teenage TikTok star paired her bubblegum-pink outfit with some sky-high white platform heels, which she wore with black socks
It is that online power that the White House is undoubtedly hoping to utilize in its bid to increase vaccinations among young people amid rising COVID-19 cases across the country.
Olivia boasts a weighty 25 million followers across her TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram and has earned quite the star status in recent months following the viral success of her debut single, Driver’s License, which she followed up with the release of her number one album, Sour, earlier this year.
Even Psaki called on Olivia to lend some celebrity status to her daily press briefing, bringing the grinning TikTok star up to the podium to speak to the media about the importance of vaccines – and to gush about Biden and Fauci’s efforts in stemming the spread of the coronavirus.
‘First I want to say I am beyond honored and humbled to be here today to help spread the message about the importance of COVID vaccinations,’ she said.
‘I am in awe of the work that President Biden and Dr. Fauci have done and I am happy to help them by supporting this important initiative.
‘It is important to have conversations with friends and family members, encouraging all communities to get vaccinated and actually get to a vaccination site, which you can do more easily than ever before, given how many vaccine sites we have and how easily you can find them at vaccines.gov.
Tools: She also toted a tiny black handbag that likely contained her cellphone, on which she will record videos to share with her 25 million social media followers to promote vaccinations
Meet and greet: Olivia first revealed that she would be meeting the President when she responded to an Instagram post shared by Biden asking who would help promote vaccines
There she goes: Olivia was grinning from ear-to-ear as she made her way into the West Wing
Fashion favorite: The popstar – who rose to fame on the Disney show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, paired her ensemble with funky earrings and several chunky rings
Long locks: She wore her dark brunette hair in loose waves that hung around her shoulders, having clearly pulled out all the style stops for her White House meeting
‘Thank you Jen for having me today and thank you all for helping share this important message, it’s so appreciated.’
Shortly after her appearance at the podium, a video of Olivia urging young people to get vaccinated was posted on the President’s official Instagram account, with the clip reiterating many of the points that the popstar had made during her impromptu briefing.
‘It doesn’t matter if you’re young and healthy, getting the vaccine is about protecting yourself, your friends, and your family,’ she said.
‘Let’s get vaccinated!’
Before arriving at the White House, Olivia eagerly promoted her meeting on social media, re-sharing a post from the President on her Instagram Stories.
In the post, Biden shared an image of himself as a young man, writing: ‘I know this young person would’ve gotten vaccinated, but we’ve got to get other young people protected as well. Who’s willing to help?’
Helping hand: Even White House press secretary put Olivia’s star power to use, bringing the TikToker up to the podium in the briefing room so she could speak to the media
‘Honored and humbled’: During her brief speech, Olivia gushed about the work that Biden and Fauci have done, saying that she is ‘in awe’ of their efforts
Message: ‘It is important to have conversations with friends and family members, encouraging all communities to get vaccinated,’ she said
Papped! Several members of the media snapped photos of Olivia on their phones as she arrived in the briefing room
Olivia then replied: ‘I’m in! See you tomorrow at the White House!’
Biden responded: ‘You bet!’
Soon after her comment went viral, the White House confirmed that Olivia had been invited to meet with Biden and Fauci, revealing that the singer would ‘record videos about the importance of young people getting vaccinated, including answering important questions young people have about getting vaccinated’.
Biden once again touted the popstar’s visit on his Twitter account on Wednesday morning, while promoting the importance of vaccines, writing: ‘Olivia Rodrigo is stopping by the White House today with a clear message to young people: get vaccinated.
‘It’s the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the dangerous new COVID-19 variants.’
The White House has ramped up its efforts to shots in the arms of 18- to 29-year-olds, the age group that has the lowest vaccination rate.
Doing her part: Following her press briefing, Olivia filmed a video in which she urged ‘young and healthy’ people to get vaccinated, which was posted on the President’s Instagram account
Call to action: ‘Getting the vaccine is about protecting yourself, your friends, and your family,’ she said, before ending the video with an encouraging cry, ‘Let’s get vaccinated!’
But while young people across the country flew into a frenzy over Olivia’s White House appearance – with dozens of tweets and Instagram posts praising her ‘chic’, ‘amazing’ ensemble – not everyone was immediately clear on the reason for her visit, with several people taking to Twitter to admit they had ‘no idea’ who the singer was.
‘Who is this?’ one person questioned, while another added: ‘Who is Olivia Rodrigo and why is she at the White House?’
One Twitter user then joked: ‘Welcome to Olivia Rodrigo day at the White House; your dad absolutely will be asking who she is later today.’
Although perhaps not known to everyone on social media, the singer has certainly become a household name for many members of Gen-Z, thanks to her breakout role on the Disney show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series – which was followed by the viral success of debut song, Driver’s License, which she initially released on TikTok.
The frenzied reaction to the break-up ballad prompted it to soar to the top of the charts upon its official release – and sky rocketed Olivia to fame, boosting her social media following even more, and earning her appearances on major talk shows like Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
This is not the first time that Olivia has used her impressive online influence to lend a hand to the President; she was very vocal in her support of Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign, during which she posted several videos and images to help promote him to younger people.
Promo: Biden tweeted about Olivia’s visit to the White House on Wednesday morning, using the opportunity to once again promote vaccines among young people
Supporter: Although Olivia was not old enough to vote in the 2020 election, she actively promoted Biden and Harris’ campaign on social media
Teamwork: The teenager even teamed up with Biden’s granddaughter Maisy, 20, for a video interview that was shared on Instagram, where they promoted his policies
Olivia, who turned 18 in February, was not actually old enough to vote during the election, however she actively encouraged her older followers to throw their support behind Biden and Harris.
Olivia even teamed up with Biden’s granddaughter, Maisy, 20, to help promote Biden and his policies, with the two young women recording an interview together that was then shared on social media and YouTube.
The White House has offered multiple incentives for young people to get vaccinated, including free beer, cash prizes, and free lifts on ride sharing apps.
Fauci has also participated in several Tik Tok QAs with young influencers to try and dispel any myths or concerns about the vaccines.
Many young people are don’t see the urgency in getting vaccinated due to the low risk of their getting a severe case of COVID, the conflicting information about vaccines on social media, and a general sense of feeling invincible, public health experts say.
Olivia Rodrigo announced her visit to the White House by commenting on one of Biden’s Instagram posts on Tuesday morning
Daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have doubled in the last three weeks from an average of 11,400 on June 23 to an average of 23,600 new cases per day
A total of 43 states and the District of Columbia are seeing their numbers of COVID-19 infections increase, according to data from John Hopkins University
The White House missed its goal of having 70% of adult Americans partially vaccinated by July 4th because of the reluctance among younger Americans to get vaccinated.
The latest White House push comes as COVID cases are on the rise across parts of the United States.
The majority of states are seeing a spike in COVID-19 infections as variants of the virus continue to spread, driving up case numbers in areas with low vaccination rates.
A total of 43 states and the District of Columbia have documented an increase in average daily cases over the past two weeks, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
Of those states, at least 15, most of them in the South, have seen their numbers of infections at least double across a 14-day period.
The U.S. is now recording an average of 23,000 COVID-19 cases per day, which is the highest figure seen since late May, the analysis found.
Health experts warn that the worrying increase in cases is linked to the Delta variant, which accounts for as many 97 percent of infections in some states.