CHICAGO — I know Jersey Shore cast members are notorious for saying the unexpected, but I still wasn't prepared for the line the hard-partying J-Woww dropped on me about 2 a.m. Sunday as we sat at a table at RiNo nightclub.
"I'm not drinking tonight," J-Woww said with pride.
The MTV reality television star, whose real name is Jenni Farley, told me she has been taking a break from alcohol and hitting the gym more often. Apparently, this approach has gotten her through numerous club and media appearances.
In recent weeks, J-Woww and her cast mates filmed an MTV commercial in Venice Beach, Calif.; they were guests on the Rachael Ray show in New York; and they were forced to leave a New Jersey nightclub appearance because the venue couldn't control the larger-than-expected crowd.
"I don't know another reality show that has had this sort of impact," J-Woww said. "Maybe The Osbournes?"
What's been the highlight of Jersey Shore-mania?
"Celebs coming up to us. Leonardo DiCaprio came up to us and said, 'GTL for life,'" she said — a reference to the "gym, tan, laundry" mantra of another Jersey Shore cast member, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino.
J-Woww plans to use her fame to launch a fashion line, which she describes as "Affliction for women." She is designing the patterns herself (according to her Web site, she studied graphic design in college) and said she hopes to launch the line in the summer.
But J-Woww isn't thinking just about designing clothes these days. She's also thinking about taking them off.
"I would love to do Playboy," said J-Woww, who said in an interview with Us Weekly that the men's magazine made her an offer to pose. "But right now I'm crossing my fingers for a second season of the show. Personally, I'd like to see us all go to Vegas."