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17 Rare Images Of The 'Jersey Shore' Cast Way Before Fame

As much as the show got a lot of backlash...there's no denying its huge popularity.

The Jersey Shore took the world by storm in a way that no one expected it too, probably not even the producers of it or the cast members. The Jersey Shore premiered in December 2009 and it was a reality show surrounding a group of young people that were all Italian and lived in the surrounding North-Eastern United States.

The show was going to follow them as they spent their summer on the infamous Jersey Shore aka Seaside Heights New Jersey and partied their way through it. Pretty much all of the cast members we were introduced too had some kind of nickname, and if you are familiar with what they are, here we go. The Jersey Shore gang includes Snooki (Nicole), J-Wow (Jenni), DJ Pauly D, Vinny, Sammi Sweetheart, Dena, and Ronnie. And in the first season, we were also introduced to the Kim Kardashian of Staten Island, Angelina but she did not last long. She had a come back in another season but it went much the same way that her first stint on the show did.

Peopled loved it, they hated it, they could not get enough of the Italian-American antics. Since it was a partying based show, a lot of Italian-American groups came out and denounced the show, as did people in general as well. But as much hate, as the show received, there was no denying its popularity. The proof is in the pudding, and the show ran for 6 seasons after it's premiere date, and was recently rebooted for reunion season a whole 6 years after the last season. Before they were partying it up on Jersey Shore and embarrassing their Italian ancestors, they were just normal kids like you and me.

17 A Teenaged Jenni Farley Looking Fierce

Wet Paint

When J-Wow popped onto our screens we were introduced to the tall beauty as a self-proclaimed praying mantis. The way that J-Wow explained it, is that she related to the noble praying mantis because when they were both done with a man, they ripped their head off. But even though J-Wow has this fierce persona, she did end up being one of the more level-headed cast members, which we understand is not saying a lot because the overall standard for reasonableness set by the entire cast is not very high.

On the show we watched J-Wow leave a relationship, and then get into a new one with her current husband Roger with whom she shares two kids. J-Wow is also one of the more successful cast members outside of the Jersey Shore. Her and Snooki stayed best friends and have embarked on various successful business ventures together including their own spin-off reality show, Snooki, and J-Wow. The show ran for 4 seasons on MTV and showcased the girls dealing with marriage and Motherhood, a far cry from their Jersey Shore days. It's is great to see that after all these years, the girls are still best friends. Who says that real relationships can't be created by reality shows?

16 Snooki The Cheerleader

NY Daily News

Snooki just might be the most popular cast member from The Jersey Shore the pint-sized meatball stole audiences attention, and even if you loved or hated her people could not get enough of her pickle eating ways. She was always walking around in her big slippers with a pickle in her mouth, which she explained is one of her favorite snacks. We can't blame her, pickles are great. Snooki also brought the entertainment to the show, she was a hot mess that loved to party and we loved to watch her do it.

Throughout the course of the seasons, we saw Snooki go through a lot, like getting arrested on the beach during the day because she was publicly intoxicated. We got to watch her relationship with fellow cast member and housemate Vinny get messy and we all felt for Snooki when it was obvious she had a crush on Vinny, but he was just not that into her. Snooki also met her now husband while the show was going on, and we were introduced to Jionni on the season that the cast went to Italy. For everyone that watched that season and saw the blowouts between Snooki and Jionni, you are probably as surprised as we are that they stayed together and started a family.

15 Vinny's High School Picture Featuring Fabulous Brows

Life & Style Mag

If there was any doubt that the cast members were really part of that Guido aesthetic before the show, these pictures from their early days should dispel any disbelief. Here is Vinny rocking that signature spiky gelled hair that is a well-known part of the Guido aesthetic. And he was pretty obviously taking care of his brows back then already too. Vine played the role of the funny and sarcastic mouth in the house, and along with Pauly D, they provided the background commentary on the show and usually said what the audience was thinking. And one of the most genuine relationships on the show was the bromance between Pauly D and Vinny.

When they would be on good terms with Mike 'The Situation' then they would call themselves MVP. But their relationship with The Situation went up and down a lot more than their relationship with each other did. In the new season of Jersey Shore: Family Reunion we finally get to see a Vinny that has a girlfriend! He was never as much of a ladies man as Pauly D or The Situation was, and Ronnie was dating Sammie pretty much all 6 seasons, so it is interesting to finally see him all wifed up. It's a different look for him.

14 Deena Before She Became Part Of The Meatball Duo With Snooki

NY Daily News

Deena Cortese joined the show in its third season, so she is not technically a part of the OG crew but she fit right in. It helped that she and Snooki were already good friends from back home, and they called themselves the meatballs. They were both tiny and cute, so we guess the nickname fits. She proved to be as much of a fun party girl as her friend Snooki, and she was and is a sweetheart in general. After Angelina left the show in the second season, according to Entertainment Weekly Snooki asked Deena if she would be interested and set her up with MTV producers.

Deena explained in an interview to Entertainment Weekly "Well, me and Nicole [“Snooki” Polizzi] have been friends for, like, two years now, and, you know, she needed a partner in crime, like, you know, on the show with her. She said she’s bored sometimes, and she was like, “You’re down on the shore all the time,” which I am because I live 20 minutes from it. So I was like, “Yo, girl, I’m totally down to come with you. I’ll pack my bags. Let’s do this.” And do it they did, the two girls together were definitely a walking party always ready to go.

13 This Little Guy Would Grow Up To Be None Other Than Mike 'The Situation'

NY Daily News

Mike 'The Situation' was a pretty polarizing figure on the show. He had moments where he seemed like the sweetest guy ever, and then he would turn around and do something totally shady to one of his roommates, and he did manage to butt heads with basically every single one of them throughout the 6 seasons. In particular Ronnie. A bad seed was planted between the two of them from the very start of the first season soon after they met each other. The reason? Sammi Sweetheart. They both had their sights on her from the moment they got into the house, but as we all know Ronnie is the one who got the girl. The two came to blows over the years more than once, and finally in season 4 when they went to Italy we saw the two get into an actual physical fight. Since the show ended, The Situation has had his fair share of trouble.

According to Cosmopolitan, The Situation has had run into a number of legal situations over the years. He has gotten in trouble for tax fraud and other charges, but the tax fraud is the one that could see him going to prison for a number of years. Mike just had his court date in early 2018 for the tax fraud, and now he is waiting to see if the judge will send him to prison or if he will just have to pay restitution in the amount of $250,000.00. On the new season of Jersey Shore: Family Reunion we see Mike grapple with the possibility of having to go to prison.

12 Before He Would Go On To DJ Around The World, Pauly D Was Just A Kid On A Motor Bike

NY Daily News

Pauly D was basically a catchphrase machine throughout his time on the Jersey Shore. Thanks to him Gym Tan Laundry has entered the American lexicon. When we first were introduced to Pauly in the first season he was struggling DJ living in New Jersey. He also made it clear that his hair gel aka his blow out is very important to him, as is tanning and going to the gym. If you think about, not a lot has changed for Pauly D before and after the show. He looks exactly the same down to his signature tan and blow-outs, and he still DJs.

It's just that these days he does not have to hustle all day and night to get people to his gigs. He is an international DJ these days that go to some of the biggest festivals around the world. And he also went on tour with pop Princess Britney Spears, something we are sure little Pauly D sitting on his motorbike never dreamed of happening. Okay, so things have changed a lot for him in terms of success. And can we just talk about how strange and almost wrong it feels, to look at Pauly D without his hair all done and rocking a deep tan?

11 Sammi Sweetheart When She Was Just A Little Sweetheart

NY Daily News

Sammi Sweetheart, the girl who sowed the dissent between The Situation and Ronnie when she picked Ronnie and spent the next 4 years of her life with him. They were the token couple on the show and in the house, and by the end of the series, everyone was tired of their antics. The cast and audiences. Though their relationship definitely did deliver the drama and isn't that why we watch these shows? They were off and on throughout the seasons, but the fighting was almost always on.

Who could forget when the rest of the girls decided to write Sammi an anonymous note that told her everything that Ron was doing behind her back at the club. And then when Sammi picked Ron, this caused problems between her and the girls to the point where it did not look like they could ever be friends again. According to E! News the two have been off and on since 2009 till 2016.

Finally, in 2017, Sammi began dating a new guy in her native New Jersey and soon after it was announced that Ronnie was expecting a baby with girlfriend Jen Harley. The entire cast has come back in 2018 to film Jersey Shore: Family Reunion except for Sammi who put a statement on her Instagram that stated "I am not the same person as I was when I was 22. At 31, I am currently extremely happy in every aspect of my life and want to avoid potentially TOXIC SITUATIONS."

10 Young Ronnie Doesn't Know The Future Holds Sammi Sweetheart In It

Life & Style Mag

And finally, we get to Ronnie, definitely the hothead of the house next to Mike The Situation. Which would explain why those two had so many issues even without Sammi. In the first season of the series, Ronnie definitely seemed to be head over heels for Ronnie, if anything it seemed like he was the one that was more into the relationship than she was. And then things obviously took a turn for the worse between the two, and by the time that the season 1 reunion was being filmed they were no longer together.

Well for a short while anyway, by the time that season 2 came around Ronnie was itching to get back with Sammi. Which if you have seen season 2, was a weird choice to make since he was very into the idea of being with other women as well. A lot of die-hard Jersey Shore fans would have loved for them to make it as a couple and go the long haul, but looking at where Sammi is now and where Ronnie, it is clear that the best thing for them was to break-up. According to The Daily Mail Ronnie welcomed his daughter in early May 2018. And this, of course, comes about a week after a very public fight he had with his baby mama Jen Harley played out on social media as reported by Perez Hilton. 

9 Snooki Goes To Prom

Wet Paint

Looking at Snooki when she was a teenager and looking at her today, she has barely changed! Those are some genes. Since the show originally ended before Jersey Shore: Reunion Snooki has stayed very busy, the world still loves and wants more of her. We already mentioned that she had her own spin-off series alongside J-Wow, Snooki & J - Wow. But that is not the only TV she has done since the show stopped airing in 2012. According to People Snooki has also been on multiple TV shows, like Dancing With The Stars and The New Celebrity Apprentice. 

Not to mention all the appearances she has gotten paid for and sponsorships she has had on social media. Girlfriend has stayed busy since the end of the show. And not only in her professional life, but her personality too. People reports that she got married to Jionni in 2014 with most of the Jersey Shore cast present. She has also welcomed a son and daughter with her husband, Lorenzo, and Gia. In the new season of Jersey Shore: Family reunion we get to watch Snooki grappling with Mom guilt for leaving her kids for the shore house, a new dimension to the Snooki we watched on Jersey Shore back in the day.

8 Deena When She Was Sweet And Innocent, At Least She Is Still Sweet

NY Daily News

When Deena joined the cast in the third season of Jersey Shore she quickly got a nickname because of course everyone living in the shore house needs one. The guys in the house started to call her The Holiday because she was, as she puts it herself, a walking holiday. And it was not hard to see why Deena got that moniker, she was always down for a good time in the house. She was everything the house was missing in the first two season, and she was also just a very positive presence. She was not the type to get into fights or get nasty with people, and Jersey Shore definitely had its fair share of those moments thanks to other cast mates on the show.

After the show ended in 2012, we have seen Deena appear a couple times on her former housemates' spin-off show Snooki and J-Wow. Also, like J-Wow and Snooki, People reports that she got married in 2017 to her long-term Christopher Buckner. Her castmates were there to support their union in Deena's hometown of New Egypt, New Jersey. She has not joined the Mommy bandwagon with J-Wow and Snooki, but we are that is not too far for the pint-sized meatball.

7 J-Wow Before She Ever Thought About Gym, Tan, And Laundry

NY Daily News

While J-Wow definitely donned a tough girl persona initially but also proved that she is not one to mess with throughout the series it is obvious to viewers that she not only is a really good friend but also a very emotionally mature person. For a lot of the show, it definitely seemed like J-Wow was mothering Snooki who was prone to getting into mishaps. In fact, she seemed like the Mom of the house. She was already one of the more responsible housemates in the original seasons, but watching her on Jersey Shore: Reunion it is clear that she has fully become a responsible adult that has kids at home.

Also, it was reported by Page Six that filming the reunion season took quite the toll on J-Wow. Can you imagine going back to what is essentially a frat house as an adult when you have kids? She may have two toddlers at home that keep her up, but a bunch of partying adults is a whole different ballgame. Page Six reported that after she finished filming the reunion season she jetted off to Mexico with her husband Roger and kids to recoup and we do not blame her.

6 Before Hairgel, It Was All-Bowl Cuts For Ronnie

NY Daily News

It just so happened that the year that Jersey Shore: Reunion, Ronnie was in the news a lot leading up to and currently. Unlike some of his other former co-stars like Snooki, J-Wow, and Pauly D, Ronnie has had a much lower profile after the original series ended. He did not find the same level of success branching out into other projects as much as the some of the others have.

But right before the season was set to air this year, Ronnie made headlines because he was going to have a baby girl with his girlfriend Jen Harley. When viewers watched Ronnie on the new season of Jersey Shore he was not acting like a man that had a pregnant girlfriend waiting for him at home, which to be fair is a pattern of behavior from him. We saw him do the same thing when he was with Sammi, some people just cannot stay loyal. Since the show has aired, his daughter has been welcomed into the world and he has gotten into a public fight with her mom a week before her birth, broken up with her, and gotten back together. Now, People reports that a month after the birth of their daughter Arianna Sky, the couple has broken up for the second time.

5 Basketball King Vinny

NY Daily News

Snooki & J-Wow are not the only Jersey Shore cast members that got spin-offs, Vinny did too. It was on MTV and titled after him, The Show With Vinny. While it lasted only one season compared to the 4 seasons that Snooki and J-Wow's show ran for, it was an interesting concept. Vinny would invite celebrity guests over to chit chat. Sounds like any other boring old talk show right? Well, the concept for this one was a bit more unique than your regular run of the mill talk show. The interview would be done at Vinny's family home, with a home cooked Italian meal prepared by his Mother. Even though the show did not have more than one season, Vinny seems to be doing just fine for himself. He has been caught in some drama since the airing of Jersey Shore: Reunion. 

People who have watched the new season saw Vinny get flirty while they were out, but we also watched him call his girlfriend right when he got home and tell her everything. Well according to Us Weekly his girlfriend went on social media to rail against the show and Vinny, and the two have since broken up. Clearly, when she watched the show she felt different from when he called her and told her what happened. Vinny responded by tweeting "No no I’m a monster. I really shouldn’t have been secure in my relationship enough to go out, be nice to people, be fun and entertaining and still remain loyal. I gave compliments to bottle girls on tv so I’m the worst man alive! Get it right.”

4 Young Snooki Proving She's Had The Same Aesthetic Since She Was A Teenager

Life & Style Mag

It can be hard to imagine reality stars existing before they ever popped up on our TV screens to entertain us with their antics. But they all obviously had their entire childhoods and teenage years before they ended up on the shore. According to Biography  Snooki, or Nicole, was born in Santiago, Chile. So while she is not ethnically Italian, she was adopted and raised by an Italian family in the States who brought her over. So she is very much culturally Italian - American, which is clear to anyone that has watched 5 seconds of the show. And the Italian - American culture is truly something that these cast members live. 3 out of the 4 girls have gotten married in their 20s, and two already have kids.

Not many 20 year-olds with the fame and money they had at their age are looking to settle down as quickly as they did, but that is the Italian way. And if you ever wondered how she got her nickname, Biography reports that Snooki got the nickname from her friends in high school and it was based on a character from the Julia Stiles movie Save The Last Dance. We can't imagine a world without Snooki.

3 Sporty Sammi

Life & Style Mag

As we told you, Sammi has been in a steady relationship with someone other than Ronnie since 2017, and she is the last girl standing that has not put a ring on it and get married. Nothing wrong with a girl taking her time doing that! Or even not doing that all. But we understand that after years of dealing with Ronnie, she wants to take it slow with her new boyfriend. If you take one look at her social media, she looks like she is in a very healthy and happy relationship. Since the show though, other than getting into a new relationship according to People she has launched a couple of business ventures. In 2013 she started her own clothing line, Sweetheart Styles.

She also started a podcast in 2015 called Jus Sayen. And even though she made a statement about not going back to the reunion season on the show that may make it seem like she is not on good terms with her former house and castmates, the entire crew turned out for her 30th birthday. We imagine when she finally gets married to her current boyfriend everyone will come out for the wedding, well everyone except for maybe one Ronnie Oritz-Magro.

2 Teenage Deena Not Knowing She Will Become A Star Of The Jersey Shore

Life & Style Mag

It is easy to forget that Deena was not on the show the first two seasons and Angelina was in her place. According to Romper Deena actually did the audition for the first season of the show, but did not make the cut. Which was obviously a mistake on the producers part, but at least she did finally make it onto the show. Better late than never! And then when Snooki intervened and told MTV producers that Deena was essentially her partner in crime, the duo were finally brought together to entertain television audiences.

After the show ended, Deena seems to have not pursued the same career in entertainment that her cast mates. She has obviously stayed close with all of them, but she chose a more quiet life it seems. When the cast reunited for Deena's wedding last year, Snooki posted a photo of the whole gang at the wedding posing with the bride and groom (minus Ronnie) and captioned the photo Crew back together for Deena’s Wedding! "I LOVE YOU MAMA MEATBALL!!!" Did the Jersey Shore give birth to the most real friendships we have ever seen come out of an ensemble reality show cast? We really think so. We are going to be seeing these folks at each others 80th birthday parties!

1 Bet You Almost Didn't Recognize Pauly D Without His Signature Blow Out!

Life & Style Mag

We are going to end this article with this picture of Pauly D. In the earlier photo from his much younger years he at least has long hair in it. This look is the more strange we have seen Pauly D look, and by strange we mean strange for his aesthetic. It is difficult to imagine Pauly D who once said about his blow out on the show "My hair did not move an inch and I was in and out of the water. My hair's windproof, waterproof, soccer proof, motorcycle proof. I'm not sure if my hair is bulletproof but I ain't willing to test that." The man made it very clear that his hair was one of his biggest priorities in life, and his blow out cannot be compared to anyone else.

While Pauly D is one of the most successful cast members professionally, he has also grown his personal life. He is the proud Father of four-year-old Amabella Sophia. According to People Pauly D is a devoted Father when he is not out being a DJ. He told People "She’s 4 years old. She’s my life. She’s my princess. She’s a little mini-me. She wants to be a DJ — I got her a DJ room. She’s scratching records already. She’s so funny. She just wants to follow me around and do every single thing that I do" When all these shore babies grow up, can we have a spin-off with all of them in a house? Jersey Shore: The Next Generation. 

References: Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, E! News, Instagram, Daily Mail, Perez Hilton, People, People, People, US Weekly,Biography, Romper, 

 

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17 Rare Images Of The 'Jersey Shore' Cast Way Before Fame