While some might keep their addiction to MTV’s “Jersey Shore” a secret indulgence, we’re totally open to the fact that we watch it. And we’ll continue to watch it until MTV decides to pull the plug on the cultural phenomenon reality show that has changed our lives since it first aired back in 2009. We like it so much that we’ve already checked out several cast members’ garages and needed its youngest male housemate, Vinny Guadagnino’s ride, to make it complete!
The Staten Island, NY native was barely 21 when the first season aired, coming into the house as something opposite than your typical “guido” despite his traditional Italian-American heritage and family. Before his tenure on one of the most popular shows on TV, Vinny was on his way to law school, working a couple of odd jobs here and there until a friend sent him over an online application for a “guido” casting call. He filled it out as a joke and got a call back. After a couple of interviews, he landed a role on the then mystery show MTV was producing.
Over the course of the past six seasons, Vinny has been an integral part of the show’s culture, often being the more level-headed of all his housemates. But as we’ve all seen, he’s had his own share of drama, too! We talked with Vinny about his growing appreciation for rides, his experiences on the show and more!
What’s your car game like?
I actually was never that interested in them growing up ’cause I really couldn’t afford anything. My first car was an old ’90s Toyota Celica, and I used to drive my parents cars too. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, so it was never something I was into. But as a young kid, I’d see all the rappers and their cars and would obviously like them, but it wasn’t something that was a huge interest to me.
When the show came, I started to shop around for cars and actually started to get into them more and more. My first real car experience was test driving a Benz that I bought myself. I’m still in the beginning phases of building my collection. Right now I have a Mercedes-Benz E550 and just purchased a Lamborghini Gallardo and bought my mother a Jeep for her birthday.
Why the Benz?
People have described to me that when you’re car buying, you’re either into the performance of the car or the style of it. Mercedes to me is more about style, while something like a BMW is more of a performance-based car. I’m not as much into performance or how it drives as I’m into its style. I went with the Benz since it offers the best of both worlds. When I was shopping around, I saw the 2012 E550 and fell in love with it. It’s a luxurious and sporty car, while still being practical and not too over the top.
Are you planning on adding any modifications?
Actually, I’m really a simple person and don’t even wear that much jewelry. And that’s the same way I feel about cars. I never really wanted to modify too much. I liked it the way it was, simple and classy. But after driving it for about a year, I wanted to make a change to it. So I added the black 19-inch Niche Sportiva wheels wrapped in Falken tires [225/35R19 front and 275/30R19 rear] to it and slightly modified it. I love it the way it is now. I’m a big fan of matte finishes and cars that have that. Maybe one day I will get a murdered-out car. My Benz is blue, so the black wheels and grille sort of gives it that look a bit. Black wheels are just dope and is the current style as opposed to that bling-bling chrome style that was out a couple of years ago. But I definitely feel less is more when it comes to everything, including cars.
How did that recent Lamborghini Gallardo purchase come about?
It’s the first white 2013 model in the country. I was actually looking at 2012 models and they were all gone, but the dealership called me up and told me they’ll have the first 2013 one in the States and I immediately said yes. I think a Lamborghini is everybody’s dream car. I definitely had some debates over the Ferrari or Lamborghini. I come from a very Italian family and they are solely Ferrari people, so I got some backlash from the Lamborghini…but it’s just more of my style to tell you the truth. There aren’t that many Ferraris that appeal to me that has that flash with speed. But the Lambo just has everything for me: the speed, flash and it’s just that car for me. I’m going to keep it simple, too.
That car has enough flair as it is and I’ll probably just tint the windows. Any time you start to modify a car like that I think it starts to look crappy. It’s already customized enough for me. It’s definitely going to be my special occasion car, but at the same time it’s still sort of a practical car with its suspension system that allows it to be lifted up for low areas. In New York, there are a lot of potholes so that makes it better to drive the Gallardo around.
What would you love to add later?
If I continue making money, then I’ll definitely build my fleet. But I’m not one of those people who would have a collection of like 20 cars because I’m not that passionate about them. I like to have a balance of everything, and I’m probably just going to chill out for now because it is a huge expense and cars depreciate and aren’t investments. I have cars I really like right now and then eventually one day, I’ll keep adding to my collection with other stuff I really want if all goes well.
I would like another exotic like a Ferrari, though. I’ll feel complete at that point like I have the best three cars on the road. But I’m also into trucks and my uncle just bought a Ford Raptor and they’re pretty sick trucks. I like trucks that are aggressive and can go off-roading and stuff, so I wouldn’t mind adding one of those in the mix.
How does your car game measure up to that of your fellow male roommates?
Pauly’s game is really up there and has been into cars his whole life, so his has quite a collection of bikes and cars. Ronnie is more of a BMW guy and likes those driver’s cars. And Mike already has a Lambo and a Ferrari, while I’m more quality not quantity person right now.
What was it like going into the show that first season?
We all didn’t know what we were getting into. They didn’t supply a lot of information to us. We knew we were filming something at the Shore and then were told we’d film every day for a couple of months. After that we left and didn’t know what it was going to be or if it would even be a show. But it just took off from there.
As the youngest on the show, what have you learned over the six seasons?
I learned a lot. I’d never really had a real job before and then all of a sudden I had this whole career, with agents, managers and lawyers handling contracts for negotiations and employees that work for me. I never even had an apartment and I’ve now bought a house and I’m out shopping for expensive cars. It really matured me. I did a lot of things in a couple of years that takes people years to learn.
Do you cringe at what you’ve done on past episodes?
Yeah, a little bit. But most of the time you can’t regret it because it’s what you did in the moment and it can’t be erased. Some of the stuff I’ve done or what other cast members have done is not as bad as what goes on in other people’s lives [laughs]. It is MTV at the end of the day, and it’s not like we’re committing crimes on the show or anything. But once in a while you might have a crazy moment where you’re like, “I did that.”
Last season you had a rough time. What made you want to come back to the show after leaving?
That season was particularly rough because we filmed two seasons back-to-back and filmed 24 hours a day, so 90 days of straight filming. But this last one [the sixth season] was really cool. Everyone is in a different place in their lives, and we’ve all kind of matured now. It was like a reunion and we all had fun so expect the typical shenanigans.
How do you deal with all the drama and stress that comes with reality TV?
It gets tough and I even wrote a book about it. I just try to chill myself out and think positively a lot and help other people. I have to do a lot of activities and stay active. I’m always at the gym and on the move being proactive. Pauly helps me out a lot; he’s like my brother and keeps me laughing. We talk everyday since we’re always on the road these days. It’s funny ’cause I never expected to be friends with somebody who looks like him but we ended up being like brothers. We get each other through it. He’s a really good kid who’s always happy and I need that since I’m kind of like a very quiet person sometimes. He’s always making me laugh, so it’s good we have that.
What do you usually tell haters of the show?
First I tell them that they can change the channel if they don’t like it. Also that I come from a good family, I graduated with a 3.9 GPA from college, I have a Lamborghini, I would like my son to be like me one day. We’re all good kids and come from good families and are just trying to make it. So if you’re going to hate on us for that, then you have your own problems.
Do you still want to become a lawyer?
Not anymore. Maybe I’ll go back to school one day and maybe get my Masters. But don’t want to be a practicing lawyer. I really never did and just wanted to go to law school just for the education since it’s one of the highest degrees you can get. My career goals now center around trying to stay on TV and find my niche in entertainment. I’m a very artsy person, like hosting things and acting. If I can transition this show into another show that might be more hosting-based or even try for a sketched comedy or something scripted, which would be great. I’m just going to continue to take advantage of this opportunity for as long as I can.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m just chilling and next season coming out soon. I wrote my self-help book, Control the Crazy that actually hit the New York Times Bestseller List, which is good. I also might do some speaking events across the country and other than that, MTV has a bunch of shows that they have me come and host like “Hip Hop Squares” and stuff.
Will / John’s Tire Empire / Wheel Concepts
For more than 70 years, Wheel Concepts has been providing the Staten Island car enthusiast community (and beyond) with quality service. Current owner Robert Gullery’s grandfather and uncle started the shop back in 1945 (then it was only called Will/John’s Tire Empire) then was taken over by his father and eventually taken over by Gullery, who continues the very highly successful family business.
We pride ourselves on our sales team and mechanical abilities, as well as our relationships with major distributors we work with,” Gullery says. “We work with all the name brand companies and have a long and storied history within the Staten Island community. We’re always on top of industry trends for every type of application for vehicles we work on.”
Their winning formula has not only allowed them years of success, but has also helped build a notable reputation that has caught the attention of many celebrities like Vinny. They’ve worked on rides owned by Swizz Beatz, Stephen Baldwin, Tony Parker, Vince Carter and Eva Longoria, to name a few.
For Vinny, Gullery and his team knew that he didn’t want over-the-top additions given his laid back personality, but still wanted to spruce up his Benz a bit. “We set him up with a nice set of black 19-inch Niche Sportiva wheels with Falken tires based on his style preferences. We wanted to step up the looks of the Benz without being too flashy.”
Besides wheel and tire packages, Wheel Concepts also specializes in a number of car modifications thanks to their full mechanical shop and knowledgeable staff. We can do anything from a regular New York City State Inspection, to window tinting with our computerized window tinting machines that cuts the tint to the exact specifications of each vehicle,” he describes. “We also pride ourselves on our team that provides high-quality service to all of our customers, which is why we have such a great rapport with our community, as well as all the other boroughs of New York City and beyond.”