Sammi Giancola Explains Why She’s Finally Returning After 11 Years, Previews Reunion With ‘Co-Worker’ Ronnie Ortiz-Magro

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The sweetest bitch is back. Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola, the only original “Jersey Shore” cast member to skip the 2018 revival, is ready to be part of “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.”

“I needed the time to regroup and figure out my own life,” Giancola, 36, tells Variety of choosing not to come back until now. “I wasn’t in a good head space. I just couldn’t do the show back then. And I’m happy that I’m able to be able to come back and do it now.”

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Giancola was one of the original “Jersey Shore” cast members, starring alongside Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Paul “Pauly D” DelVecchio, Angelina Pivarnick, Vinny Guadagnino and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro. Deena Cortese joined in Season 2. The original show aired for six seasons from 2009 to 2012 and was revived with “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” in 2018. Giancola was the only cast member that did not return, despite being repeatedly told that the door was open.

“I missed filming all those years. Why not come back and try it again, give it a shot, and see if I like it,” she continues. Spoiler alert: She liked it a lot.

Pivarnick was the only roommate that knew Giancola was returning, so the others’ reactions when she walks in the house are genuine. Over the last five years, her former cast mates said they continuously asked her to come back some claimed she’d blocked them on social media — something she denies.

“I didn’t have any bad blood with anybody through the years, I was just living my own life,” she explains.

Jersey Shore Cast at arrivals for 2012 MTV Video Music Awards VMA - ARRIVALS, STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA September 6, 2012. Photo By: Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

2012 MTV Video Music Awards

The new season will also reunite Giancola with returning star Ortiz-Magro, who left the show last year to seek treatment for his mental health. The pair had a very toxic up-and-down relationship throughout the six seasons of “Jersey Shore.” Before returning this year, Giancola says the two had “no relationship whatsoever.”

“At this point, he’s just a guy I dated in my 20’s. We all go through relationships. He’s basically just a co-worker at this point,” she says. She stays mum on on how the long-awaited reunion went — “I guess you’re gonna see how the season plays out,” but has grown quite a bit since that time.

In the trailer, Giancola is shown wrapping herself in a blanket with the famous note printed on it. In Season 2, Farley and Polizzi typed a letter to Giancola informing her that Ortiz-Magro had cheated; it caused multiple physical altercations.

“I’m definitely at a point where I can laugh at it and make a joke out of it. I feel like the note will forever be by my side,” quips Giancola. “I kind of have no choice! It’s funny now. A lot of people, I feel like, go through the whole cheating thing, especially in your 20’s. Mine just so happened to be on TV. I went through it all with friendships, cheating, bad relationships. So it’s just kind of funny now to look back and be like, ‘What a crazy time in my life.’”

That crazy experience could be enough to fill a book. Sorrentino recently announced he’s releasing a memoir — something Giancola would consider as well. “I’ve gone through a lot with the show outside of the show, I really should write a book,” she says. “It’s kind of a surreal thing in general to be able to be on TV. It’s a lot and it can be ups and downs. It was a lot back then. I was young and I was just going through how to take care of me personally — peacefully and mentally. Then I just feel like it was fine. I was living normal, private life.”

Her private life also includes her boyfriend, Justin May, who will appear on this season — something she was wary about at first.

“It’s definitely nerve-racking, especially because it’s somebody who I absolutely adore and love and who supports me a lot, but I also was excited to show my roommates and all you guys a very fun, supporting, loving relationship,” she explains. “I totally gave him a heads up and a warning, because I know what roomies are like. It can be a lot to enter into a house full of a bunch of different people that you don’t really know.”

Giancola is hopeful original viewers will watch and “get to see a more positive aspect” of her life, compared to what was shown in the last season of “Jersey Shore” that she appeared on.

“I’ve gone through a lot through the past years,” she reiterates. “It’s been so long and whether it’s good or bad, at least everybody can see me again.”

“Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” returns with new episodes on MTV Thursday August 3, at 8 p.m. ET.

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