Deena Cortese wants to dance. (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
Turns out that the 26-year-old, who we often watched doing the racy Jersey Turnpike dance at the clubs, took classes at a dance school in hip-hop, jazz, and even ballet when she was growing up in New Jersey. Now, she tells omg! that she wants to prove what she can do as a contestant on the next season of "Dancing With the Stars."
"I really hope they consider me," says Cortese, who has been pitched by her team to the "Dancing" producers. "One of my passions is dancing, like I love dancing, and I have since I was a little girl, so to have an opportunity like this is amazing. It's not like I want to do just another show, it's something that I know I'd be good at. ... Even though before, people thought I just know how to dance like a Jersey girl, I actually know how to dance other ways, too."
She adds, "I love to learn new things, and I want to show people there's more to me than just 'Jersey Shore.'" And, of course, she says, fans of "Dancing With the Stars" "need a little meatball in their life, I feel," she says with a laugh.
Even before Cortese was on reality TV, she was a big fan of "Dancing With the Stars." She's watched with envy as contestants learned ballroom and salsa dancing, two types she'd like to try. And she already has the ideal partner in mind: Mark Ballas.
"I think I would want Mark to be my partner, because on TV he looks like one of the shorter guys," she says. "I feel like me and him would make a better match than if I was with someone taller. And I think he's a good dancer. I think height and everything, we would do really well."
As for fellow contestants, both Lance Armstrong and, reportedly, Lindsay Lohan have turned down the show. But Cortese has a fabulous suggestion.
"You know who I think would be fun? Big Ang," she gushes of the star of "Mob Wives" and a self-titled spin-off. "Big Ang would be fun to work with. I think she would be hilarious."
Surprisingly, Cortese says she and her "Jersey Shore" co-star, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, the fourth contestant eliminated from “Dancing” in Season 11, have never talked about the show.
But she's confident she can handle the long rehearsals and all the scrutiny that comes with the reality competition, even though she's struggled with anxiety most of her life.
"Actually, it would probably help me, because it would keep my mind off of my anxiety," she explains. "I always have to be doing something and be around people. My thing is I hate being by myself, so I think it would actually be great to keep my mind off of anxiety and keep me busy. And I actually have my anxiety pretty taken care of now. I started a medicine that's really been helping me, and I feel so much better now than I was on [the final season of 'Jersey Shore']."
Deena Cortese steps out with BF Chris Buckner. (Thelonius/Splash News)
Since the last episode of "Jersey Shore" aired in December, Cortese notes that she hasn't seen any of her former castmates, although she and Snooki do talk every now and then. She's still dating her boyfriend of more than a year, Chris Buckner, and they plan on getting a place together "within a year or two."
Professionally, she already has a few things going on, even if the "Dancing" people never call her.
"My Wisper Hair Products" — currently available at one New Jersey salon and online — "are soon going to be going into a bigger store, and also my fashion line should be coming out in the spring or summer, so I'm really excited about Shore Couture," she shares.
A former reality star with a couple of her own product lines? Sounds like Cortese would fit right in on "Dancing With the Stars"!
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