With Angelina a distant Jersey Shore memory, Deena Nicole Cortese, the MTV reality hit's newest cast member, is ready to fill the void in Seaside Heights for the second half of Season 2. So what's this longtime friend of Snooki and self-proclaimed "blast in a glass" all about? TVGuide.com caught up with the New Jersey native (yes, a real Jersey girl for once!) to find out what it was like being the new girl in "the family," how she got caught up in the drama between the ladies, and why her parents are all for her joining the show. Plus: Find out which embarrassing (naked) moment caught on tape Deena regrets most.
TVGuide.com: Why did you want to join the show?
Deena: I love the show and I love the shore, and watching it reminded me of stuff I do down there. I wanted to do the show because I go down to the shore all the time, and I'm like 35 minutes from Seaside. When Snooks asked me to come down, I was like, "Yeah, let's do this. I'm down."
TVGuide.com: What it was like coming in as the new girl?
Deena: I was a little nervous, but I had a clear mind. I wanted to try to get to know everyone and I was excited. Snooks filled me in on certain stuff about other people, and even though Snooks didn't like certain people, I said I was going to still go in and try to get to know everyone and still be myself. I came in, and they really opened their lives to me and it was awesome.
TVGuide.com: A lot of parents aren't too keen on the raciness of the show. What did yours think?
Deena: My parents love the show. They think it's hysterical and they're very supportive of me doing it. I told them every single thing from back-to-front about what I did, and they're still supportive. We're a strong Italian family. Even my cousins and aunts are all excited for me. They support me through thick or thin.
TVGuide.com: There was a lot of tension with the ladies at the end of the stay in Miami. What can we expect with them this time around?
Deena: You can expect the Miami drama to follow into the Jersey house — at least the first week. But I think this season really brought everyone back together as a family. It was a really fun season, and we had such a good time. There's so many huge things that happen this season. I think it tops the last one.
TVGuide.com: Did you get sucked into any of the drama?
Deena: In the beginning I did, especially the first night, because I think when I came in with Snooki, Sammi didn't really know what to think about me. I think she was a little thrown off and thought, "OK, well she's coming in with Snooki, so that means she's completely against me." [There] was a lot of tension.
TVGuide.com: Will there be any more inter-roommate relations like in Miami?
Deena: There are a lot of hookups at the Jersey Shore, we all have them. A lot of drunken stuff. But it's really more like friendship relationships within the house. I love the boys . They really look out for us rather than try and hook up with us. I was very close with Pauly. Both of our personalities are so much alike. We both like to have a good time. He's loud, he's outgoing and he just says what's on his mind. So, we had a connection where we were always on the same page. I love him.
TVGuide.com: Any embarrassing moments caught on camera that you wish you could go back and change?
Deena: Oh, definitely. In one of the trailers, it shows me accidentally taking off my bathing suit bottom. I didn't realize I had taken it down with my skirt because I was so drunk. I definitely regret doing that, but there's nothing I can do but laugh at this point.
Jersey Shore premieres Thursday at 10/9c on MTV.