Once, not long ago, fame required talent. That was the deal. You had to be able to act, or sing, or write, or, at the very least, be wickedly attractive in order to get and keep the world's attention. These days, anyone can become famous for just about anything. Sixteen years old and you're knocked up? Here, have your own reality show. Rich, delusional, and prone to catfighting with other women who are just as brutish as you are and who happen to share your plastic surgeon and your zip code? You get your own show, too. And let's throw in the chance to record a sloppy, heavily vocoded dance single while we're at it.
But no one has turned being famous for nothing into a career -- and stolen our hearts along the way -- quite like Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi. A self-described 'meatball' with a thing for juiceheads, spray tanning, and pickles, Snooki's goofy, affable, and most often drunken performances on three seasons of MTV's Jersey Shore have earned her an arrest for public intoxication, a black eye from a fellow bar patron, and an hour of our uninterrupted attention every Thursday night. She and the rest of her roommates have also won MTV its highest ratings for a series since the network launched nearly two decades ago.
Off camera, Snooki has been able to parlay her Seaside notoriety into a New York Times best-selling book, a rocket-riding cover of Rolling Stone, and a speaking tour that recently made headlines when she was paid $32,000 for a two-hour appearance at Rutgers University -- $2,000 more than Nobel prize'winning author Toni Morrison received for giving the commencement speech at the school this May.
But Snooki isn't just another beach-blanket bimbo, and she knows the life-span of a reality star's career is nothing if not short. Though Jersey Shore shows no immediate signs of flagging -- the cast is currently filming the show's fourth season in Italy and will be paid six figures per episode -- she's started to consider her next steps for when viewers finally tire of the series' fist pumping, smooshing, and unbridled bickering. Her future endeavors include more product endorsements -- she already has a line of Snooki slippers -- and a 2012 spin-off series on MTV with Jersey Shore roommate Jenni 'JWoww' Farley. And after surprising the world with her shockingly nimble moves during a guest spot on World Wrestling Entertainment's WrestleMania, which she won, she very well could be clocking more time on the mats, perhaps even making the ring her permanent home.
Before heading to Italy, Snooki let her pouf down for Out and chatted about being misunderstood, her sexual conquests, and who she thinks the biggest homo in the Jersey Shore house is.
What do you think the world's biggest misconception about you is?
There are a lot. I think people think I'm just down to have a good time and party, but that's definitely not it at all. The show is like a vacation for all of us -- it's just partying, going shopping, laying out on the beach. On the weekends obviously I want to go out and have a good time, but it's not like that every single night. If I had a choice to go out to a club on a Friday night or stay in and watch scary movies, I'm going to stay in and watch scary movies with a bottle of wine and just relax.
There aren't a lot of positive examples of female sexuality on television, but you're very much in charge of your sexual encounters and you've never been ashamed to bring a guy back to the house for some smooshing.
[To her father] Dad, can you go away? It's really weird talking about sexuality with you here [laughs]. The thing about us Guidos and Guidettes is that it's a lifestyle. The guys like to go out -- they like to hook up. So do the girls. I definitely don't like the stereotype of when a guy hooks up, it's like, 'Oh, he's a man.' And if a girl hooks up, 'Oh, she's a whore' or 'She's a big slut -- she's easy.' I don't like that at all. So for me, when I went back to Jersey, I had had a terrible breakup in Miami, and I just hated the male race. I was like, 'Screw it all. I'm just gonna fuck with these guys' minds. I'm going to do me.' So, that's pretty much what I did in Jersey. I was a single girl. If I want to go out and hook up with a guy and bring him home, I'll do it. That doesn't mean sleep with him. You can make out, cuddle, whatever. I can do that, and if people don't like it, don't watch me.
There's a rumor going around that if World Wrestling Entertainment offered you a full-time contract, you'd take it. True or false?
When WWE approached me, at first I was like, No way! I'm going to break a nail. This is not for me. This is not me at all. But then I started watching a couple of Raw episodes, and I was like, Oh, these girls are hot and they're kicking ass -- I think I can do that too. I definitely think that Vince [McMahon, chairman and CEO of WWE] would like me to be a diva, and if he ever asked me I'd say yes.
Who do you think the gayest Jersey Shore guy is?
Definitely Mike ['The Situation' Sorrentino]. Everybody thinks that Mike is gay. I don't see it, but then again, sometimes I see it. He just loves himself to death. He always wants to look good, and he always has that image where he wants to hook up with girls just to prove a point. We know he can get girls; it's not a big deal. And he's always washing his face and doing [facial] masks. He put a mask on me in Seaside, and I was like, [suspiciously] 'Mike'?'