‘Jersey Shore’: More Than Half the Roommates Aren’t 100% Italian

Jersey Shore fans know all about the guido lifestyle. But what some fans might not know is most of the roommates aren’t of Italian heritage. In fact, more than half of the Jersey Shore roommates aren’t 100% Italian. And there’s one roommate who doesn’t have any Italian in their family at all. 

The cast of 'Jersey Shore,' most of whom aren't Italian
The cast of ‘Jersey Shore’ in Italy | Francesco Prandoni\Archivio Francesco Prandoni\Mondadori via Getty Images

The ‘Jersey Shore’ roommates got cast for their personalities — not their heritage

Jersey Shore was originally going to be a competition-style series called America’s Biggest Guido. Plus, it was supposed to be on VH1 — not MTV. The project was “conceived as an all-male competition show,” according to Vulture

As such, the casting directors were looking for people of Italian descent — or at least people who looked like they came from Italian families. Casting directors wanted male “gym rats and fist-pumpers.” 

Roommates like Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and DJ Pauly D got cast first. The premise of the show was to put these roommates up in a house where they would live, work, and compete in different challenges, kind of like a Real World/Challenge hybrid. 

“I kept saying, ‘Look, the boys preen’ — you know, they’re peacocks — ‘but the girls fight,’” casting director Doron Ofir pointed out. Showrunners added women into the mix when they realized how much drama came along with them.

Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Sammi ‘Sweetheart’ Giancola, and Angelina Pivarnick are only part Italian 

Some Jersey Shore fans are so invested in the series, they know the lineage of their favorite roommates. According to one fan on Reddit, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Angelina Pivarnick, and Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola aren’t entirely Italian. 

“Ronnie [is] Puerto Rican/Italian American, Sammi [is] Italian/Greek American, [and] Angelina [is] Italian/Polish American,” they pointed out. This fan also claimed Deena [Cortese] is the only roommate who can say they’re “Italian in background out of [the] girls.” 

Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi is Chilean, but raised in an Italian family 

Despite her penchant for “Italian juicehead gorillas,” Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi isn’t of Italian descent. She was adopted when she was six months old by Helen and Andrew Polizzi and raised in an Italian-American home. 

“They flew all the way to Chile to come to pick me up,” Polizzi explained in a YouTube video about her adoption. “They said right when they saw me I was like, ‘Mama, Dada,’ so it was like meant to be. I was always meant to be with my adoptive parents.”

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“Even though my nationality is Chilean, I grew up Italian,” she added. “When people say to me, ‘What’s your nationality?’ I say, ‘I’m Chilean, but I grew up Italian, so I feel like I’m both.’” Polizzi definitely leaned into her Italian side when she was cast for Jersey Shore

1 ‘Jersey Shore’ roommate isn’t Italian at all 

Unlike her other mixed-heritage roommates, there’s not a drop of Italian blood in Jenni “JWoww” Farley‘s body. “I’m not even Italian!” Farley told Fox News’ The Strategy Room in 2010. 

Farley is of Spanish and Irish descent. But to be part of the Jersey Shore crew, your bloodline doesn’t really matter. After all, being a guido or guidette isn’t about heritage — it’s a lifestyle.