Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi (L) and Deena Cortese attend MTV's 'Jersey Shore Family Vacation' New York premiere party.
Source: GETTY IMAGES

Were Deena Buckner and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi Friends Before 'Jersey Shore'?

By

Sep. 9 2021, Published 11:04 p.m. ET

Fans of the Jersey Shore were first introduced to cast member Deena Cortese (now Deena Buckner) in 2011 when Season 3 first aired. Deena stepped in as a new housemate after Angelina Pivarnick left the series for the second time, leaving a vacant spot for Deena. According to CheatSheet, when producers were looking for Angelina’s replacement, they scoured audition tapes to see if there was anyone they liked before holding new auditions.

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One producer stated, “[We] came across Deena, knew she had a semi-connection with Nicole, and went with it because we knew she’d be less maintenance than Angelina.” The producer felt that because Deena had a light-hearted attitude, she would be perfect for the series. After joining the cast, it didn’t take Deena long before she starting to bond with her roommates in Seaside, N.J., and before long, she and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi started to give off major BFF vibes.

Deena and Snooki day drinking.
Source: MTV
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These two were inseparable when it came to day drinking and partying and, over the years, have been quite entertaining to watch on the Jersey Shore. They were so close the house gave them the nickname “Team Meatballs.” It seemed like these two Meatballs were good friends before the show, but were they really? Keep reading to find out if they were besties before the series and how they got the nickname “Meatballs.”

Why are Deena and Snooki called Meatballs?

In Season 4 of Jersey Shore, audiences saw the cast get wild and crazy in Italy. While the roommates were filming in Europe, fellow castmate Ronnie Ortiz-Magro started calling Deena and Snooki Meatballs. The reason behind Ronnie's nickname was because both of them were short, very tan, and loved to party. These Meatballs were two peas in a pod while in Italy.

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Audiences saw the pair take many falls on the cobblestone streets of Florence, expose a few body parts while on the dance floor in clubs, and even kiss. The nickname Meatballs didn't just stay in Italy, and to this day, Deena and Snooki still call themselves Meatballs. Over the years, the Meatballs have talked about how close they are, even referencing one another as best friends.

Source: Instagram
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Many fans thought the two were really good friends before Jersey Shore because of how close they appeared to be. However, the two Meatballs never knew each other until the auditions for the reality television show. On a Jersey Shore discussion group on Reddit, a former field and story producer for the series revealed,"[Deena] had originally auditioned for Season 1. That's where her and Nicole met. They weren't best friends that knew each other for a long time like the show tried to portray."

They added, "They literally met at auditions and then ran into each other a few times at the Shore and partied together." Well, regardless of how these two Meatballs met, Jersey Shore helped Deena and Snooki form a tight friendship that will last a lifetime. They are very supportive of one another as mothers, and we can't wait until we see them day drinking and partying, hopefully in Season 5 of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. Go Team Meatballs!

You can catch Deena and Snooki, along with Angelina and Jenni JWoww Farley, on the Jersey Shore: Family Vacation Season 4 wrap-up episode.

"The Meatball Day Wrap Up Special" airs on Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. EST on MTV.

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