The untold truth of Gigi Caruso

Gigi Caruso has been living a life as a California girl that we all wish we could have. The land of sun, sea, and surfing certainly does have a pull, especially when it's winter and a little bit of blue would be a breath of fresh air. It must be totally amazing to grow up there, where there's always a wave to catch and some sand to sink your toes into. 

To that end, Gianna "Gigi" Caruso, a true child of Southern California, is definitely one to watch. The daughter of Rick and Tina Caruso, she's been stepping out more and more as time goes on, showing that she has more to offer to the world than her perfect smile and big brown eyes. So what is known about the young woman, who has come into her own on her own terms? What are her plans for the future, and does she know what her next step will be? Read on to discover the untold truth of Gigi Caruso, who's already making waves in a whole new way. 

Her father's a billionaire several times over

If you thought the Caruso name sounded a little bit familiar, you'd be right as it's certainly a known one. That's because Gigi Caruso's father is none other than Rick Caruso — yes, that Rick Caruso — the real estate developer and property mogul that everyone in Los Angeles has heard about. The one that's worth a whopping $4 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Sure, he doesn't have not Jeff Bezos-level wealth, but certainly he has more money than most people will see in a lifetime, multiple times over!

So how is it that the elder Caruso made so much money that cash is probably bursting out of every mattress in the house? The short answer is retail real estate smarts, according to The Real Deal. Caruso owns property in a variety of high-profile locations in Los Angeles, including Palisades Village, 333 La Cienega, and Miramar Beach Resort. And, of course, he owns The Grove, a famous upscale shopping mall, so clearly he's not hurting for money.

Rick Caruso's father founded Dollar Rent a Car, so it's clear that being business-minded is a family trait.

She lives on quite the compound

While Gigi Caruso's father is a real estate tycoon with tons of properties, there's one specific property that she and her parents call home, and that's the family estate in Brentwood, according to Forbes magazine. If you're not familiar with the neighborhood, it's one of the main stops on the tour of celebrity homes in SoCal, as noted by the Los Angeles Times. So you know it's an affluent and well-kept neighborhood.

And when it comes to where Caruso and her family live specifically, it's quite the posh affair, according to the sassy and well-known realtor blog Yolanda's Little Black Book. The Los Angeles real estate guru shared that the Caruso estate has been in the family for two decades, and has expanded by purchasing and demolishing neighboring properties and then incorporating them into their own. The property now boasts an 11,000-square-foot primary residence, a large oblong pool, both a tennis court and a sport court, a guest house, a large fish pond, and lots and lots of lawn. Talk about the lap of luxury!

Living that high life will get you quite the property tax bill: $224,683, according to BlockShopper. Yikes!

Horseback riding was her jam

Where do the children of the Brentwood elite go to school? Why the Brentwood School, of course — an independent prep school that boasts a board of trustees resembling the CEOs on the Fortune 500 list. According to BWS Magazine, three of four of the Caruso siblings attended the prestigious institute, including Gigi. What an idyllic place to get an education.

During her tenure at the school, Caruso participated on the equestrian team, according to two posts on her Instagram page. She was pretty good at it too, as she shared her accomplishments in other posts: one in which she's sporting a big blue ribbon and another where's she's holding four ribbons after a "successful day" on horseback. 

Caruso has also spent some quality time with horses off of school grounds as well. She posted an action shot of her "warming up" a horse in Monaco and another photo of her smooching a horse at The Grove.

She's a USC student

They say the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, and, in this case, that's proving to be true. That's because Caruso is officially a student at the University of Southern California, according to a post on her Instagram page, which is where her dad attended college too. In the photo, she's chilling out in her beautifully furnished dorm room with her friend Caroline. The caption simply reads, "We made it." Let the adventure begin!

That's not the only time Caruso has shown her USC pride, as she shared another picture of her and her bestie decked out in USC sweatshirts. "If you can't tell we are wearing USC hoodies," she wrote in the caption. "Lucky to spend four more with my best friend." Clearly their girlmance is real. 

Her BFF shared a comparable post on her Instagram page as well, commemorating Caruso's birthday with a photo of them decked out in the same sweatshirts. "Happy bday to the queen herself," she shared in the caption. "You're stuck with me forever." Awww!

She's in a sorority

Part of the university experience for many college students in the United States is, of course, Greek life. According to CNN, approximately 800,000 college students are currently members of either a fraternity or sorority, making it an integral part of student life. Caruso is included in that number, as she's a member of the USC chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma, according to a post on her Instagram page. "Sweet home Kappa Kappa Gamma," she wrote in the caption. You can also catch her in a post on the Instagram page of the chapter itself, where she's wearing matching outfits with one of her sorority sisters. 

So what's Kappa Kappa Gamma all about? For one, they're an alcohol-free sorority, which means no drinking is permitted in their facilities, according to their website. So they won't be hosting any big parties or doing keg stands on Friday nights. Instead, they're more concerned with academic achievement, self-growth, and the enrichment of the lives of those around them. Sounds wholesome!

Science helped with her hearing loss

As much as Gigi Caruso has had a charmed life by the looks of it, it hasn't all been easy. Mainly, she struggled for years with her hearing, according to USC News. Born with "mild to moderate hearing loss," Caruso had to rely on lip-reading, hearing aids, doctors, and therapists to communicate, which presented her with a variety of challenges, especially in the classroom. "It is so profound how hearing loss affects everything in your life," Caruso's father told the magazine. "I still can't fully appreciate all of the challenges."

But Caruso received an amazing gift in 2014, when doctors at USC inserted a highly sensitive hearing aid into her ear canal — and that changed everything for her. "I received the best gift — the ability to hear life's most simple sounds such as rain, or my bed sheets rustling," she wrote in a post on her Instagram page. You can see her crying in the emotional video she shared, as she had never heard those sounds before. What an incredible moment.

Dad gave those doctors a nice thank you gift

In what could be considered one of the most epic thank you gifts ever, Gigi Caruso's father opened his wallet wide — and we mean wide — to show his appreciation for the treatment center that helped his daughter hear rain for the first time. He gave the USC Department of Otolaryngology a cool $25 million to endow the department, according to USC News, which is now named after him and his wife, Tina. That money also endowed and named the USC Caruso Family Center for Childhood Communication, which helps young children with hearing loss. That's one heck of a donation!

Caruso's father acknowledged how fortunate his family has been, and he shared how much this experience had shaped his family's lives. "This is obviously a very personal mission for us," he said in an interview with the magazine. "It has affected Gianna in so many difficult ways, but it also has been a blessing in many ways. It's made our family sensitive to so many needs of others, and we have been inspired by Gianna's courage and successes." That's a wonderful way to give back to those who have helped you and who can help others.

She's a world traveler

One thing that's especially evident when you scroll through Gigi Caruso's Instagram feed is just how many places she travels to on the reg. She's constantly on the move, jaunting all over the world and soaking up the sun's rays wherever she goes.

On the domestic side of things, Caruso has had adventures in Miami Beach, Fla., Glacier Bay in Alaska, Newport, R.I., Nantucket, Mass., and, of course, Malibu, Calif. One thing all of these beautiful stateside places have in common is the pristine beaches they boast — the same ones Caruso gets to frolic on. Man, how lucky can you get?

But even more impressive than her journeying across the United States is the extensive amount of traveling Caruso has done outside of the country. For example, she's been to the Bahamas, Bora Bora, RomeCroatia, Monaco, Cuba, and Saint-Tropez. Can you just imagine what her passport looks like?

Was she en route to Fyre Festival?

Remember the disaster that was the Fyre Festival? If you don't, or if you're not familiar with what went down, basically it was a failure of epic proportions. The event was supposed to be a high-end music festival held on the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas. Event organizers promised deluxe accommodations, a variety of rock bands, celebrity chefs, and white-sand beaches, according to Vanity Fair. For up to $12,000 a ticket, it was billed as a "Coachella in the Caribbean." Sounds luxurious, right?

Unfortunately for festival-goers, when they landed on the island, they were greeted by a poorly organized disaster, as it became evident that the festival had completely collapsed. That left them scrambling to get off the island and back to safety. What a nightmare!

It looks like Caruso was one of the would-be festival goers, based on a post on her Instagram page on May 11, 2017. "Went for the FYRE Festival but this was better," she wrote in the caption of a photo of her on the beach in the Bahamas. Looks like she made the most of a bad situation.

She has her own bikini line

Caruso may be young, but that hasn't stopped her from monetizing her creative and entrepreneurial spirit. To that end, she's launched a line of swimwear for active women. "I live in swimwear all summer long and I had the hardest time finding bathing suits that looked really fresh but would be comfortable and functional," she shared in an interview with Bag Snob. "I don't just lay down and sunbathe, so I had a need for a really amazing suit that I could move in and even waterski or jet ski in." Thus the idea for Gigi C Bikinis was born.

Caruso knew she'd have to do something different from other swimsuit companies out there. "When we started the line we wanted to make sure our [swimwear] was different from what is already on the market, and one way we really did that is with our fabric," she continued. "The fabric that's come to really define the collection is our scuba, it's a four-way stretch, water-resistant, spacer fabric with a really slick hand." So it can hold up to movement and the elements while keeping you looking cute no matter what you're doing. What a great idea!

Her mom inspires her

Even though Caruso's dad is the big entrepreneur in the family, the biggest inspiration for Gigi C Bikinis didn't come from him. Rather, it came instead from someone else in the family who had the right kind of experience. "My mom, Tina Caruso, has some background in fashion both as a model and as a designer," she explained in an interview with Bag Snob. "She previously owned a young girls clothing brand." That definitely makes her the right person for the job, with a lot to offer in terms of advice.

To that end, the two joined forces and helped to bring Caruso's concepts to life. And having her mother's help has proven to be indispensable. "She's really brought a lot to the table with designing, getting inspiration from the old suits she would wear," Caruso revealed in an interview with InStyle. "Working together has [made] us really close." That's the power of teamwork! 

Her first runway show was a success!

The future looks especially bright for Gigi C Bikinis, which accomplished a major milestone as a company in July 2018. "I still can't believe I had my first runway show last night," Caruso gushed in a post on her Instagram page. "It was a dream come true!" It must have been insanely exciting to see models strutting up and down the catwalk in her designs, especially given her young age. That's a serious accomplishment. 

Part of the reason Caruso wanted to do a runway show was to expand her customer base and get the word out there about her new inventory. "It was a great way to make an impactful launch into wholesale," she shared in an interview with Bag Snob. She noted, "We have a lot of work to do, and I couldn't be more excited. We are going to continue to build our activewear assortment and grow our existing swimwear collection." We can't wait to see what she does next!

Getting charitable with Angel Riders

Just as her mom and dad are involved in philanthropy and charitable work, Caruso has also participated in giving back to the community. To that end, she decided to start a special program for children that's near and dear to her heart. "Today was the first day of a new program I started called, 'Angel Riders,'" she shared in a post on her Instagram page. "These are wonderful kids who live in Watts and today they learned how to ride and played with the horses." Given that Watts is a very urban area, chances are that riding a horse was a new experience for a lot of these children. 

By all accounts, Caruso had a great time hanging out with both the kids and the horses. "It was an amazing day and I can't wait to do it again," she continued. Looks like it was a fun day!

One of her yacht guests is now infamous

Gigi Caruso found herself having a brush with scandal in 2019, when nationwide college admission cheating scandal indictments were made public. It's not that she was involved in the scandal — in which the feds say 50 people participated, including celebrities and other wealthy individuals, according to CNN. But Olivia Jade Giannulli, daughter of actress Lori Loughlin and fashion mogul Mossimo Giannulli, was involved, as her parents were charged with fraud in the scandal — and she was on Caruso's dad's luxury yacht in the Bahamas when the news broke. Uh oh!

When Olivia Jade learned of the indictments, she had to bounce and vacate the yacht ASAP. "My daughter and a group of students left for spring break prior to the government's announcement yesterday," Caruso's dad said in a statement to TMZ. "Once we became aware of the investigation, the young woman decided it would be in her best interests to return home." Who knows what the future of their friendship will be?