By Dustin Fitzharris
In 2009, Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola was studying sociology at William Paterson University in New Jersey. When she wasn’t studying or playing soccer, she was working at an eye doctor’s office to pay her bills. Little did she know her life was about to change.
Having spent her life at the Jersey Shore, she was approached by MTV to participate in a new reality show. “I was like, ‘This is my life. This is something easy.’ And the next thing you know, I’m a part of the show,” Giancola recalls.
Jersey Shore became MTV’s highest-rated show ever, and overnight the cast became pop culture superstars.
Like other members of the cast, Giancola has used the show as a springboard to launch a career.
“My life has changed completely because I am able to do a lot more things, and I have a lot more opportunities,” Giancola says. “I can travel to places and meet people. Before I was just going to college and trying to make ends meet. I was playing soccer and living an ordinary life.”
Now, as Jersey Shore finishes up its sixth and final season, her life is anything but ordinary. Giancola recently launched a line of fitness wear for SXE Fitness, has released two women’s fragrances, and a men’s cologne.
Behind the scenes, Giancola is happiest when she is at home with her mom and her Cockapoo, Kylie. Abby, her previous Cockapoo, died at age 11 after doctors discovered a tumor in her stomach. Giancola said losing Abby was devastating, and it was difficult not having a dog in the house. Fortunately, she met Kylie at the perfect time.
TAILS : How did Kylie come into your life?
Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola: My mom is the one who introduced me to Cockapoos—they don’t shed, and they are such smart dogs. My uncle has a Cockapoo, and when she was visiting him, she fell in love with them. That’s how we got Abby. [After Abby died] she wanted another. We fell in love with Kylie and we took her home.
Where does Kylie sleep at night?
With my mom, but she’ll sleep wherever!
Are there any particular bedtime rituals you go through with her?
I stay with my mom a couple times a week. She’ll go to sleep, and Kylie will stay up later with me. I’ll lift her up, and she’ll hug me, and then I’ll walk her into my mom’s room.
She gives hugs?
When we lift her up, she gives us bear hugs.
That’s too cute. Is she a pillow hog?
She is definitely a pillow hog. And definitely a bed hog, too.
Does she snore?
Yes, and she dreams. Sometimes if she’s in a deep sleep, she’ll start making weird noises.
What do you think she dreams about?
I don’t know, but her breathing gets heavy and she’ll start doing these little barks.
Is she an early riser or does she sleep in?
She likes to lounge around all day.
When do you two play together, what does she like to do?
She has this gorilla that is like her best friend. It’s almost the same size as her, and she goes everywhere with it. She has so many toys, but she just loves this gorilla.
Tell me about Kylie.
She has some anxiety issues. She likes to go in the car, but gets anxious over it. She doesn’t like new people or little kids. She doesn’t like other dogs. There is this Boxer who lives down the block, and she will try to attack him. The Boxer is scared of her!
Abby was a Cockapoo and so is Kylie. How are they different?
Abby was like a human being. I’m not kidding. She was scared of other dogs. She was like a diva. Kylie is a dog’s dog—she eats everything and drinks out of the toilet bowl. Abby was like a princess. She was shy and calm. But not Kylie! I just bought her a shirt that says: “I have issues.”
Are you a diva?
Who are some of your inspirations?
That’s hard because there are so many celebrities out there who have made something of themselves. There are a lot of people I would consider role models.
And finally— all the fans of Jersey Shore want to know one thing: Will Sammi and Ronnie get back together?
You never know what can happen! We still talk. We’re still really cool.
For more on Giancola visit SammiSweetheart.com.