Snooki: the Beatweek interview – Jersey Shore star gets real
January 18, 2012 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
“When you’re a reality star,” says Nicole Polizzi over the thumping backdrop of a Las Vegas nightclub, “you get a lot of opportunities.” The most recognizable star of the megahit television show Jersey Shore is here for CES, where she’s launching her own line of bodacious looking headphones through iHip. But even when she’s being a businesswoman she just can’t stop being Snooki. Hours earlier, tech industry journalists and analysts were standing in an interminably long line at her booth just to get their picture taken with her in what ends up being the largest celebrity draw at a trade show known for its celebrity draws.
This is all happening, of course, during the same week in which Jersey Shore is debuting its fifth season. If she’s is a long way from home here in Vegas, it’s an on-air homecoming for her and the gang on television; after a season in Italy, Snooki and JWoww and The Situation have returned to New Jersey even amidst fresh on-air drama and departures. The ratings are still strong enough to suggest that the show will be around as long as its stars want it to be, and in the mean time Nicole is clearly diversifying her efforts.
“It’s going to be something awesome,” she says of her iHip lineup as camera flash bulbs go off around her in rapid succession. She sounds excited. “It’s going to be animal print, bling bling, pretty much stylish headphones.” Meanwhile she’s wearing thoroughly bejeweled headphones in pink and silver on the red carpet, while sporting the (spoiler alert) new nose ring which she gets done in the already-taped season five finale. She blows kisses to the photographers, who eat it up.
This kind of thing is nothing new for CES or the consumer tech industry. A few booths down from iHip, a major hip hop star launches his own earbuds. Nearby, a pro football legend signs autographs. The difference here is that “reality stars” were supposed to be mere throwaway items, anonymous people off the street cast as themselves on the premise that, if thrown into the right situations, they might be able to generate enough conflict to make things interesting. As opposed to high priced famous actors, reality show participants were supposed to be powerless, controllable, secondary to the premise of the show itself. But one look around at the parade of people following Nicole’s every move in Vegas this week, and becomes clear that she’s the one with the power. In fact she might be the first reality star to gain so much mainstream fame that she can pull this off. After all, she drew bigger crowds than the traditional TV show stars who showed up this week.
Interestingly, she’s billing the iHip line as “Snooki by Nicole Polizzi” which suggests that she’s ready to push her real name to the forefront alongside her ubiquitous nickname. Could it be that she’s now more popular than the show which made her famous? I ask her one last question about finding the time to be both a businesswoman and a reality star. “I’m just taking advantage of it,” she says as I find myself unable to resist the urge to get my picture taken with her. “I’m really excited about everything.”