On the second floor of the Planet Hollywood in Midtown yesterday evening, the reality show star wore a sparkling cross necklace. It stood out to us as we sat across from her only because it was the only accessory larger than her three-inch fake eyelashes. The New York Observer‘s first question for Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola–the Jersey Shore personality that wasn’t Snooki, Jennifer “JWOWW” Farley, or “the other one”–was how she felt when not wearing makeup. For most people, the question might be taken as an insult, but Ms. Giancola had recently made headlines by allowing Cat Marnell from XOJane to give her a “makeunder”: removing the layers of toner and piles of mascara to reveal a much younger, fresher-faced model.
Was she happy with the results? Sure.
“Now I know I don’t always have to wear makeup when I’m going to the store, I can just splash on some lip-gloss and be okay,” Ms. Giancola told us, batting her heavily-made up eyes. This evening however, was not just a romp to the store. Holding court in the Midtown tourist attraction for the first item to ever bear her likeness on the cover, the reality show star was done-up to the nines. Fake eyelashes, smokey eyes, bronzer, and yes, lots of lip gloss.
And what was Ms. Giancola selling us on, exactly? Unlike her costars like Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, JWOWW, or Snooki, Ms. Giancola did not have an arsenal of products to her name: no self-improvement books, clothing lines, or guest-star appearances to help brand her away from the MTV show. When she’s not on Jersey Shore, Ms. Giancola does not actively seek out the limelight, and had not yet attempted to cash in on her fame in any real way.
The Hazlet, New Jersey native is either very late to the marketing game, or is looking strategically for long-term pay-offs instead of short-term gains by doling out her likeness in smaller doses than her costars. According to Ms. Giancola, she only wants to endorse things she really loves. Makeup would be the obvious choice. She chose perfume: Dangerous, a new scent by Dangerous Co. that comes in a pink bottle. The case has a picture of Sammi holding the box on its cover, and when we take a photo of her holding the box with a photo of her holding the box, the effect is similar to trying to watch a Charlie Kaufman film while getting spray-tanned in the face.
“I’m really proud of it,” Ms. Giancola told us of the scent. “It’s called Dangerous but has a very sweet smell, and I really liked it. It’s got almonds and vanilla, and you’re going to love it.”
Vanilla and almond didn’t sound very dangerous to us, but as Ms. Giancola later told us, her ideal post-Shore job be to own her own branding company, so we deferred to her judgement. We did however, wonder if she planned on trying her hand at any other trademarks before becoming an entrepreneur in the industry. Clothing, perhaps?
“You never know what tomorrow will bring,” the brunette chirped, as images of a Kardashian-esque industry of Sammi Sweetheart stores danced in our heads.
As one of the few reality shows that we actually watch, we knew that the tumultuous-bordering-on-”Dangerous” relationship between Sammi and her on-again/off-again boyfriend Ronnie Ortiz-Magro had taken up the better part of two seasons. After mellowing out in season three, the couple had actually high-fived during their trip to Italy after realizing that their costars’ screaming, knock-out, nightly dramas had finally overshadowed their own.
So with season four in the can (you have to admire these kids’ stamina for being constantly filmed), we asked Ms. Giancola about her boyfriend.
“I’m currently single,” Ms. Giancola surprised us. “But on the show I was on a great relationship with Ron. We really matured at the Seaside, so you’re not going to see too much drama this season. What’s really great about me and Ron is that we’ve lived together, we know what that’s like, and sometimes we just need that break to get away.”
(Ms. Giancola currently resides in New Jersey while Mr. Ortiz-Magro lives in the city.)
The fondness with which the 24-year-old spoke about the former flame who once tried to throw her bed out of a second story window with her still on it (see: season two) had us doubting that her current “break” would last any longer than the other times the couple had broken up, or threatened to.
“Do you see yourself marrying Ron?”
“You never know what the future will bring!” repeated Ms. Giancola for a second time.
As an undisguised apothegm to counter any question she refused to speculate on, Ms. Giancola could have done worse. After all, relationships, like fame, money and luck, have a way of changing on you overnight. With Dangerous, Sammi Sweetheart is playing it safe; making sure she’ll have something to fall back on should the future bring something other than another MTV contract.