Raised in Hazlet, NJ, Sammi Giancola attended William Paterson University, where she majored in Sociology and played Division III soccer. As the team's midfielder, Giancola helped her school win the Eastern College Athletic Conference's Metro Tournament in 2009. That same year, she joined the cast of MTV's reality program, "Jersey Shore," about eight Italian-Americans spending a summer in Seaside Heights. Giancola was the only New Jersey native in a cast that included Ronnie Magro and Staten Island fitness club manager Michael Sorrentino, who infamously nicknamed himself "The Situation." A love triangle between Giancola, Magro and Sorrentino provided much of the intrigue during the first few episodes of "Jersey Shore." She ultimately chose Magro and immediately struck up an intimate relationship with him.
The reality couple's "honeymoon period" ended almost as soon as it began, with Magro's anger management issues and her jealousy often causing much of the drama. It did not help that the pair was constantly in the midst of alcohol, nightclubs and other attractive single people. During the "Jersey Shore" reunion special that aired in January 2010, a never-before-seen clip of Giancola having a private conversation with Sorrentino was revealed, which angered her boyfriend Magro. The tension in the studio mounted after Giancola broke down in tears and walked off set. She returned shortly after but only to get infamously dumped by Magro on camera.
Like the rest of the "Jersey Shore" cast, Giancola was not afraid to be herself even when cameras followed her every move. For the show's biggest critics, the cast portrayed Italian-Americans negatively, especially with their frequent use of the terms "Guido" and "Guidette." One of the largest Italian-American organizations, UNICO National, called for a boycott of the show, while some of MTV's advertisers pulled their commercials out after the first episode aired. MTV Programming President Tony DiSanto defended "Jersey Shore" and said the series aimed to document a specific sub-culture rather than misrepresent the Italian-American community at large. Millions of viewers also made it clear they could not get enough of "Jersey Shore." In February 2010, the cast appeared on "The Today Show" (NBC, 1952- ) and confirmed the show was renewed for a second season.
By Marc Cuenco