The world has watched the girls of the Jersey Shore grow into businesswomen. Having already conquered the States, the cast shipped off to Italy for its fourth season where the chaos continues. Arrivederci, meatheads!
by Steven J. Horowitz
Photography by Mike Ruiz
Styling by Darius Baptist
Hair by Davide Torchio
Makeup by Martin Schmid
Location Courtesy of Mambo ‘taliano Ristorante & Piano Bar NYC
Male models:Chris Villa, Joseph Odorisio, Dan Rumfelt, Kamil Nicalek
While the bros of MTV’s Jersey Shore focus on gym, tanning and laundry, the ladies do their best to keep it classy (in their own way). Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola and Deena Nicole Cortese have each had their moments of weakness – Snooks with her documented arrest for public intoxication, Sammi and her epic battles with Ronnie and Deena with her drunken snafus – but it’s their flaws that keep them grounded on their road to riches and diamond rings.
With three seasons under their belt (and a fourth recently lensed in Italy), the gals have braved everything from criticism to fanfare. As the leader of the pack, Snooki has seduced millions into watching her weekly exploits, parlaying Shore’s success into a growing empire that includes lucrative speaking gigs, WWE guest appearances and an upcoming flip-flop line, decked out in her favorite drunk food: pickles. Sammi, affectionately known as “the sweetest bitch you’ll ever meet,” took her talents elsewhere in launching a jewelry line and perfume, while Deena (aka “a walking holiday” or “blast in a glass”) quickly assimilated to the sink-or-swim climate by proving time and again how girls just want to have fun.
Jenni “J-Woww” Farley was the missing piece of the puzzle during their YRB cover shoot in New York City’s Little Italy, but the remaining Jersey girls showed that they’ve got what it takes to conquer the boot-shaped country and beyond.
Sherri Hill chain mail corset dress
Philippe Audibert sterling bracelet
Givenchy cluster rhinestone ring
TopShop feather earrings
Deena Nicole Cortese is the fresh meat of Jersey Shore. Injected into the chaos as Angelina’s replacement, the Garden State princess quickly aligned herself with the housemates – only after baring it all on a liquor-fueled first night on season three. Shortly after, she got the game figured out and planted her flag, aligning herself with the guys while proving her ability to break with the girls. Still accepting her fate in becoming part of the family, Deena reflects on her humble beginnings and why she owns the title of being a “blast in a glass.”
YRB: How was it walking into the cast knowing that all of these relationships had already been established?
Deena: I was a little nervous going in. I was walking into a situation where people had been living together for a year now. So I was a little nervous, but luckily, I did have Nicole and I just went in there and I was just trying to be myself. I was a little out of my environment. That’s why I had kind of a hard first night. But as it progressed, it all panned out.
YRB: Are you surprised how quickly they embraced you?
Deena: I was really surprised. Literally, they opened their arms to me within the day, even though I embarrassed myself the first night. They still didn’t care. They were like, okay, it happened. I made really good friends.
YRB: How did you know Nicole from before Jersey Shore?
Deena: Me and her actually met through one of her ex-boyfriends, which was one of my friends who lives in Jersey. When they broke up, me and her just stayed in touch because we were so much alike.
YRB: Were you prepared for what would come after appearing on the show?
Deena: You know what? I don’t think I was prepared. I was thinking to myself, oh whatever, I know I will be known after this but I didn’t realize how quick it was going to happen. So I’m still getting used to it and everything, and it’s awesome. I already have so many fans and it’s crazy how many people grew to love me so quick. It’s kind of like, aw, she was really bad the first night, but this hot mess has a good heart.
YRB: The biggest storyline of season three was Sammi and Ronnie. Very tumultuous. How did you deal with that? Did it ever get on your nerves?
Deena: Well, of course, because they’re fighting all the time and you love them both. It just put everybody in a really awkward position, and they’re both great people. So I just hope they work it out and work themselves out.
YRB: Watching back and seeing it all unfold again, was there anything you regretted?
Deena: I’m the type of person where I don’t really live in the past. It is what it is, it happened. For next season, I’ll know better. I won’t pre-game to the point that I can’t last in the club. But I really regret nothing. If I have to regret one thing, it would probably be fighting with Vinny the last night. Or, just dropping my pants the first night. But out of everything, I don’t regret anything. It happens.
YRB: Let’s talk about Italy. Have you been to Europe before?
Deena: I haven’t. This was my first time. I’ve been to plenty of islands and stuff, but I’ve never been to Europe so I’m really excited.
YRB: I think what everyone’s excited about is seeing you girls meet real Italian juiceheads.
Deena: Yeah, like an Italian man. A real Italian man!
YRB: What did you think the Italian men would be like?
Deena: I didn’t know if there were going to be any juiceheads out there. I’ve seen more of a lean cuisine type of Italian man. Like lean and fit. I didn’t think they would have the spiky hair. More slicked back. I don’t know. I knew it was going to be a lot different than Jersey.
YRB: As a business lady, what do you see yourself getting into?
Deena: Right now, I’m just kind of thinking I’ll start something going. It is an open door; I could do something. But I have a fun, outgoing personality, so if I was going to do anything, it would be fun and me. Kid-ish, but that’s me, I’m a kid at heart. So definitely something like that. ‘Cause that will just keep me into it. Or like my dictionary, since I have so many of my own words. Everybody’s talking – like, people Twitter me with all my sayings. I’m like, it’s so weird!
YRB: Before you became a cast member, what were your aspirations?
Deena: Before, I was working as a waitress and I had my dental assistant license. So I was living my normal life, and actually, after I filmed and before the show aired, I went back to waitressing. I had no shame. I was waitressing, but once it aired, I couldn’t anymore. I went all the way up until a couple days before it aired.
YRB: Do people come up to you now in everyday life?
Deena: Yeah, it’s so crazy. It’s hard to even, like, walk in the mall anymore. Our show is so huge, and we have so many fans, and I love it. It’s awesome. They’ll be like, ‘Yo, blast!’ I’m like, yo, that’s me. Hey!
YRB: Are you skeptical of guys who try to creep?
Deena: Oh yeah. Every guy I talk to, I have to put that in the back of my head now. Just because of past experiences. My roommates tell me to be careful. Yeah, I mean, that kind of stinks. If I was to want to find a boyfriend, it’s hard, because you don’t know if they want to hang out with you or if it’s because of what you’re doing.
YRB: Obviously with this level of celebrity, it comes with drawbacks. Has there ever been a moment where you wished you could shut it off?
Deena: Yeah, I guess just shopping and living my normal life. Just walking around and stuff. But I mean, I’m so happy about it. I try to take a picture with every fan that comes up to me, but sometimes it gets hard. But going to the mall is hard now. If you’re trying to try on stuff and people are waiting in line to watch me try it on, it’s just weird. But that’s really it, though. Even in the clubs, I just like to go out on the dance floor and dance, and sometimes I forget that people I don’t know know me now. It’s a bargain. That, I can’t do anymore. But this is such a great opportunity and all of our fans are so supportive and great. I wouldn’t take it back for the world – it’s awesome.
Nicole Miller metallic rouged dress
Chanel amber/gold necklace
Agatha gold hoop earrings
Repossi black pearl cluster ring
Consider Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi the Queen Bee of the reality show game. The pocket-sized celebutante made her grand entrance by slurping it down and approaching belligerence on the first episode of MTV’s hit series. Today, she’s demure, slimmed and in charge – the definition of a female bawse. While kicking it in New York City’s Little Italy with the girls, the Chilean-American tough chick with a perma-chip on her shoulder explains why she’s tired of fame, how she navigated the reality television jungle and why she’s a big girl now.
YRB: In the beginning of Jersey Shore, you said you loved being the center of attention. Now that you are, how does it feel?
Nicole: I’m tired of it almost. I like my breaks. Being the center of attention is always awesome, but sometimes, you need that break to feel sane again.
YRB: When you started, did you think Jersey Shore would take off like this?
Nicole: Of course not. None of us did. We kind of took a risk, because if the show failed, then that’s embarrassing. But we got lucky with it. I always wanted to be famous. I actually was going to start out on The Real World, but then I saw auditions for Jersey Shore and I was like, great. This is me. So I got lucky with it.
YRB: Since you’ve become the face of the show, are you more skeptical of the people around you?
Nicole: Yeah. As of right now, I don’t trust anybody. I have my best friends that I’ve known since I was in pre-school, and that’s pretty much the only people I trust. But I love meeting new people and stuff like that. I meet a lot of new people.
YRB: On the show, it seems like you’re always looking for Mr. Right. It used to be juiced-up gorillas. Are those still your type?
Nicole: Yeah, obviously I like guys with muscles, someone that can protect me. And it’s very attractive. I like a guy that’s tan, preferably Italian, just because I grew up in an Italian family. And I definitely like guys that are family oriented, because I want a big family of my own. I want a guy that wants the same thing. And he has to have a sense of humor, because I like to have fun, I like to be silly, and the guy has to be the same way or it’s not going to work out.
YRB: Were you going there with the intention of finding someone you might want to bring home?
Nicole: I have a boyfriend. I met him at the shore. Remember Bernard? I’m dating him now. I’m not going to Italy to find anybody. This is the guy I want to be with for the rest of my life. For Italy, I’m just going to see the scenery and just enjoy it.
YRB: Italian men can be pretty aggressive.
Nicole: Yeah, none of us are used to that. We’re used to jerkoffs like, ‘Come here!’
YRB: What do you make of all the controversy from Italian groups about you guys going there?
Nicole: I don’t care about what people perceive of me or think of me. I just don’t care. If you don’t like it, then get out of my way.
YRB: The Snooki from season one would have cared. How do you think you’ve changed since then?
Nicole: I think I grew up. I went in there so immature. I had no idea what was going on. It was my first time alone, and I was scared to be alone. Now, I just want to be alone. I want to be grown up and do my own thing. I don’t need my parents anymore.
YRB: You filmed a pilot with J-Woww for a new show. How’d that go?
Nicole: It was fun. It was just me and Jenni being our goofy selves together. Hopefully, it works out, but as of right now, it’s just a pilot.
YRB: You moved in officially together though, right?
Nicole: Not yet. We’re going to do it after Italy when everything’s calmed down and we have a break. Because we still have to look for houses.
YRB: Are you nervous about fleeing the coup? You’ve lived there all your life.
Nicole: Not nervous. I’m waiting for it. I mean, I’m 23 years old and it’s just my mom and me. All the stuff that I’m getting, dresses and all that stuff, there’s just a room filled with my shit. I need my own place and I just need to be alone. I hate living with my parents.
YRB: What’s the best thing about all of this?
Nicole: I would say the fame gets annoying real quick. I’d say the opportunities that we’re given, like doing these photo shoots, going to L.A., hanging out with celebrities and being treated like you’re a princess. That’s the fun part.
YRB: How do your parents feel about you becoming this huge pop culture figure?
Nicole: They’re very proud of me. They’re my number one fans. I’m going to hire them to work for me, so it can be a family business, because in this business, you can’t trust anybody. And my parents would never, ever screw me over. I was like, why not just make it a family business?
YRB: Are they going to manage you?
Nicole: My mom’s going to run my charities. And my dad is just going to make sure everything’s okay financially and stuff like that.
YRB: What comes after Italy?
Nicole: No idea. They just tell me to go and I go. And whatever.
Govani Couture embellished neckline chiffon gown
Oscar de la Renta gold/crystal earrings
Givenchy gold/crystal bangles
Betsey Johnson rhinestone ring
YRB: Season three was rough for you. What was it like watching it play back?
Sammi: I think for anybody reliving something like that really sucks, and of course, I had to sit there and watch all the negative times we had. It was a little difficult, but I’m in a different place now, so you kind of just move on from those terrible times in your life.
YRB: When you left the house mid-season, what made you want to come back?
Sammi: I was bored at home! I wanted to be at the shore. Come on. The beaches and parties. Who doesn’t want to be there? I missed it. I missed the roommates and stuff. I was starting to bond with the girls.
YRB: With the level of drama that went on with Ronnie, had you been in a relationship like that before?
Sammi: I feel like every relationship has its ups and downs. [Pause]
YRB: I know, I’m pressing.
Sammi: It’s OK. [Pause]
YRB: Going to Italy, do you think that anything from season three will come into season four? Will any of the drama resurface?
Sammi: Oh my God, when is there not drama? There’s always drama. I can tell you now, there’s probably going to be some more drama. In Italy, you never know what’s going to happen.
YRB: Looking back on this last season, was there ever a moment you regretted?
Sammi: Oh, hell yeah. There were a lot of things in season three where I was like, why did I act like that? Why did I do that? But I don’t regret anything because I acted like that and I did it. Now, I’m learning from my mistakes. Some people will never be able to do that. I get that by watching season three.
YRB: What were your expectations for Italy?
Sammi: I studied the culture in high school and college, so I knew about the country itself. I was just excited to be over there and experience it.
YRB: What did you anticipate that the Italian stallions would be like?
Sammi: I actually really don’t care about Italian juiceheads anymore. I was just going there to really love the country, because I’ve never been to Italy for a long time, just for vacations here and there. I’ve never been able to live there. That’s part of my heritage. I think it’s really interesting learning about the country and focusing on myself.
YRB: How’s the fame been for you? Is it overwhelming at times?
Sammi: I mean, of course, you don’t have a private life anymore. I like to maintain a private life as much as I can. When I’m home, I like to be family-oriented and hang with my friends and try to be as normal as I can be. But I actually love it. I feel like I’m truly blessed and it’s an amazing experience that I’m going through. And I’m kind of just going through the ride and enjoying every moment of it.
YRB: Is there ever a moment you wish you could shut it off?
Sammi: If I’m eating, I don’t want you in my face. If I’m literally eating food and I have someone on top of my shoulder… As long as you don’t bother me while I’m eating, I’m cool with it.
YRB: What made you want to go into a jewelry line with RichRocks?
Sammi: I think I wanted to really reach out to my fans and give them something that they were all asking for. So I teamed up with RichRocks and we came up with this awesome collection of earrings and rings and necklaces. It’s something I picked out personally and I’m really excited about, and you can get it at richrocksnyc.com.
YRB: You’re a fitness buff. What’s your workout routine like?
Sammi: I like to run. I don’t really like the treadmills because I get dizzy on them, so I like to run outside. I don’t know what it is with treadmills, but they get me very dizzy. But I like to run outside and play soccer. I work out my abs a lot and my legs. I’m really into my legs.
YRB: What did you want to do before Jersey Shore?
Sammi: I was just living every day of my life like normal. Going to college, playing soccer, working at a doctor’s office. I actually wanted to be a stylist or something with drawing. I wanted to design clothes. I don’t know. I was confused about exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to get my degree and go from there.
YRB: Having grown up around the Jersey Shore, how does it feel to be associated with it now in this way?
Sammi: It’s weird, because I’ve always lived there, so it’s home to me. People are like, ‘Oh my God, you’re from the Jersey Shore.’ I’m like, I’ve lived there 24 years. That’s my home. It feels like my home. It’s weird.
YRB: Coming from Jersey has a stigma.
Sammi: Oh, I love where I’m from. I really do. I’m actually proud, so I don’t care what anybody else says. I lived here, so this is what I know. From traveling elsewhere, I still love where I live. It’s the best.
YRB: Looking towards the future, what other areas of business do you want to go into?
Sammi: Well, I just really want to get into fashion and styling. Or something I really enjoy, like drawing. As long as I’m doing something I love and I’m successful, I’m happy.