I watched—and loved—every second of the first season of The Jersey Shore. And the tiny, feisty, tan Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi was my favorite. When I found out she was angry about Obama's tax on tanning, I had some questions for her—about politics, how the show has changed her life, and whether Vinnie or The Situation is a better kisser.
Meghan McCain: I told my father that you made a comment about Obama’s tanning-booth tax, and he knew who you were, and I was like, “Well, you should Twitter her.” So what did you think when he did that?
“I do admire Kendra Wilkinson and Tori Spelling.”
Snooki Polizzi: I thought it was pretty frickin’ awesome because I voted for McCain. So the fact that he actually acknowledged like what I was saying about the tanning booth… It was crazy because I never thought, like, what I was saying on the show, that he would actually say something to me. So that was pretty awesome and I’m really happy that he actually knows who I am.
Meghan: He did. He was like, “She’s on The Jersey Shore.” Have you always been a Republican? And are you still interested in politics?
Snooki: To be honest with you, I’m not really a Republican or a Democrat. I actually signed up as an independent, just because I don’t want to pick any side and also I don’t really know a lot about politics. I only know politics about, like, you know, tanning and being a Guidette. So when I saw it was Obama and McCain, to be honest with you, the only reason why I voted for your father was because he was really cute and I liked when he did his speeches.
Meghan: Well, thank you. [Laughing] I appreciate that, though it’s a little weird… Are you still pissed off about the tax on tanning?
Snooki: Um, I really don’t see the reason why there would be a tax on tanning, because so many people go tanning even though they’re not, like, Guido/Guidettes. People go tanning because they like to feel tan. You feel more sexy when you’re tan and I don’t understand why you would tax on that, because you’re making yourself feel more happy about yourself. So I really don’t understand why that would be, but you know, whatever.
Meghan: Got it. I have this theory about why your show and you and your cast members are so popular is because you guys are kind of like the anti- Hills. I stopped watching The Hills a long time ago in college, because I just thought it was so scripted and the girls didn’t have anything to relate to them and they’re walking with $10,000 handbags.
Snooki: I just feel like we’re really relatable and we don’t hold anything back. We’re all bold, we all say what’s on our mind, and if you have something to say and you know causes a dramatic thing, that’s what’s going to happen. We all stick up for ourselves and I think that’s why we stand out, because we really don’t care what other people think.
Meghan: What was the biggest difference between filming in the Jersey Shore and then filming in Miami?
Snooki: In Jersey, there’s Guidos everywhere. It’s the same lifestyle. In Miami, it was kind of different, because it’s more like Spanish-oriented and there really wasn’t a lot of Guidos there. But I really liked Miami because of the party scene. Like, you would go out and there would be music playing at 10 o’clock in the morning, so you can go out and have breakfast and dance at the same time. So the vibe in Miami was definitely awesome. Definitely liked the tropical weather, we loved. The only thing that was different for us was we didn’t have other Guidos and Guidettes to hang out with.
Meghan: What is an average day like for you when you aren’t filming the show?
Snooki: An average day when I’m not filming the show would probably be hanging out with my friends and family. Usually when I, you know, when I shoot the show, I hardly talk to my family and friends, because I just want to hang out with my roommates and take advantage of the opportunity that we’re given.
Meghan: Do you have a personal role model?
Snooki: Um. I wouldn’t say a role model, but I do admire Kendra Wilkinson and Tori Spelling, just because of their family. You know, they’re in the limelight just as much as I am, but they have a husband, they have kids and I think that’s awesome.
Meghan: I love Tori Spelling, too. What is the worst part about your fame and what is the best part?
Snooki: I think the best part is just the opportunities that we’re given. Like, we go to L.A., we meet so many celebrities. Celebrities know who we are. Celebrities are fans of us. They actually get more star-struck to meet us than we are of them. So that’s insane. And just like the traveling the world, I never would have thought I would ever travel the world like I am now. The only thing that I don’t like is probably being away from home so much.
Meghan: What is the biggest misconception about you?
Snooki: I think the biggest misconception about me is people really don’t know who I really am. They see the party side of me, they see the crazy side of me. But I also have a laid-back side. You know, I’m chill, down to earth. If you want to grab a cup of coffee and just talk about life, I can do that. And I think, just from the show and you know, everything with me and my roommates, all they see is us partying, and drama. But if you sit down with us one day and watch a movie, we’re just like everybody else.
Meghan: I heard this rumor that you guys are going to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. That’s quite a pop culture landmark and really sort of signaling the impact that you guys have made —
INTERRUPTION FROM MTV: Hey, this is Noelle. She can’t comment on upcoming press opportunities that haven’t happened yet. Sorry.
Meghan: I understand.
Snooki: I had a good answer for that, Noelle. But whatever.
Meghan: Who is a better kisser, Vinnie or the Situation?
Snooki: Oh God!
Meghan: I just watched the trailer for the new season and saw you making out with him.
Snooki: Um, yeah. I wouldn’t choose on any of them. They’re both pretty awesome. So…
Meghan: You spoke at James Madison University in March and your appearance sold to capacity in three days. Did you like speaking on college campuses and do you plan on speaking at any more colleges again?
Snooki: Like in my first college appearance there, it was the most amazing time I’ve ever had. I can interact with my fans, they ask me questions, I answer their questions and we pretty much just have that bond. And I’d rather, to be honest with you, be doing that, talking to colleges, than going to these clubs for two hours and, you know, and just like, you know, dancing and being on a party scene.
Meghan: If you have anything else you want to say to your fans, I hit a different demographic, it’s a little bit older.
Snooki: You’re awesome. And I love McCain. And no matter how old you are, just be yourself and don’t care what people think.
Meghan McCain is a columnist for The Daily Beast. Originally from Phoenix, she graduated from Columbia University in 2007. She is a New York Times bestselling children's author, previously wrote for Newsweek magazine, and created the Web site mccainblogette.com. Her new book, Dirty Sexy, Politics, will be published in August.