McGinnis: ‘Jersey’ star JWoww heats up Electrik BeachWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | email@example.com
The plaza on Secor Road seemed an odd place for Toledoans to be introduced to a celebrity, let alone one of the stars of cable’s top-rated show, but c’est la vie. The large banner above Electrik Beach Tanning Salon featured her photo and name — well, sort of — in huge letters: “JWOWW.”
Jenni Farley first made herself known to television audiences in 2009 when the reality show “Jersey Shore” premiered on MTV. But no one refers to her as “Jenni,” of course — her nickname, JWoww, has been her primary nom de plume since the first episode. In the year and a half since its debut, the show’s popularity has exploded, making each of its cast members an unlikely name in pop culture.
Farley’s visit to the Secor location was the last of three appearances of the day — the first in Monroe, Mich., to a crowd lined up around the store, the second at Toledo’s Monroe Street location.
Store manager Carrie McCloud, decked out in an official JWoww T-shirt, was visibly excited about the event.
“Because we sell her lotion, and we like to be the coolest salon around, we partnered up with MGM Grand and brought J-Woww in,” she said.
Bottles of the product, “JWoww Black Bronzer,” lined almost every available surface behind the Electrik Beach counter. McCloud said the store’s clientele had been extremely excited about the event. Even when the appearance had to be rescheduled from February, enthusiasm hadn’t waned — if anything, it had increased.
“A lot of our clients are students,” she said. “So, a lot of them couldn’t afford it because spring break was right there, some of them had to end up working, and so they wouldn’t have been able to come. So when we told them it was rescheduled, they were all excited.”
As 5:30 p.m. approached, the crowd began to line up outside — mostly young (high school to college age) and mostly female. Every one of them had purchased a pass for the chance to meet their TV heroine — ranging in price from $39 for the basic pass to nearly $200 for a deluxe package. They buzzed with excitement, not dimmed by the news that JWoww would only sign certain items — the official glossy, the official T-shirt, etc. — and not the body parts that some were stating they hoped she’d affix her signature to.
A late departure from the previous stop meant JWoww didn’t arrive at Secor until after 6 p.m. But then, an elaborate bus emblazoned with “JWoww Black Bronzer Tour” pulled up, and in she came: JWoww herself. Up close, she didn’t quite resemble the supermodel-ish photos that were plastered everywhere. She was pretty, but she looked … well, like a human being.
Her interview with Toledo Free Press Star was brief — squeezed in as it was between her late arrival and the line of 50 people out the door waiting to see her. She was friendly but seemed a little tired. Understandable, really, given it was her third appearance of the day.
“It’s very surreal,” Farley said of being a star of the top-rated show on cable television. “It’s very surreal, but amazing. You can’t beat it.”
She confirmed rumors of a spinoff starring herself and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi.
“Hopefully, yeah. They won’t tell us until after Italy,” she said, referring to the upcoming fourth season of “Shore.” “She’s my best friend.”
Farley also offered words of encouragement to Polizzi as she prepares to perform at WWE’s WrestleMania event.
“Kick ass,” she said with a smile. “She needs to do me proud.”
As the woman known as JWoww settled in to meet more Toledo admirers, she said that she’d get as much out of the event as the fans did.
“Just because it’s an area that a lot of us don’t get to travel to, it’s really more me meeting my fans,” she said. “Just being able to know that there are fans out here. Glad I’m able to meet them.”
E-mail Jeff at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.