January 9, 2017 1:30 pm

Snooki on ‘The New Celebrity Apprentice’ is not the Snooki from ‘Jersey Shore’

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi poses for her 'New Celebrity Apprentice' photo.

W Network/Corus

Made famous by MTV reality show Jersey Shore (which ran from 2009-2012), Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, 29, has done a lot of growing up since ditching her party-heavy days and ways in Jersey.

Almost a decade on, she’s written five books, had two children with her husband, competed on Dancing With the Stars and appeared in two Jersey Shore spinoffs, Snooki & JWoww and the YouTube-and-app show Snooki & JWoww: Moms with Attitude.

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Now she’s a contestant on The New Celebrity Apprentice. Though she was almost fired by host Arnold Schwarzenegger, she’s still kicking, and is playing for charity.

Global News chatted with Polizzi about her experience on the show, her fears going in and if we’re going to be surprised by this season’s two finalists.

Global News: How were you approached to join The New Celebrity Apprentice?
Nicole Polizzi: They basically spoke to my team, like any other opportunity. I was a little nervous just because I’m not into competitive stuff like that, but I knew I’d be playing for a good cause. Also, Arnold [Schwarzenegger] is the new host, and I’m a huge fan of his. It made sense to say yes.

Is he as large and imposing as he looks on TV?
I pictured him to be like eight feet tall! [Laughs] People always look bigger on TV, but he’s pretty tall.

Is he the same on-camera and off?
When the cameras are on, obviously he has to be like this boss type, serious and intimidating. Then off-camera, he’s smiling and joking around, so it was nice to see both sides of him. The “work Arnold” and the laid-back, normal person that he is.

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What charity are you playing for?
I wanted to choose a charity that saves as many animals as possible. I went to school to be a vet tech, and I love animals more than people, so I chose Animal League because they support no-kill shelters. If the animal can’t get adopted, they don’t just get killed. They try and find a family for them.

I understand you never watched the show before you signed on, right?
Right. I had to watch the seasons before to see what it was all about, to see what I had to do, task-wise. I didn’t want to go in totally blind.

When you were watching it, were you like, “Oh no, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this!”?
Yep, basically. I was like “I don’t know if I want to do this.” It was so dramatic and everyone was fighting. I’m just not into that anymore. I even told the producers beforehand that I didn’t want to be stressed out about this and I didn’t want to be involved in the drama or fighting. That was the big thing. But they knew they were not getting Snooki from Jersey Shore.

I’d imagine you’ve had your fair share of reality-show fighting.
Yeah, and I’m not into it anymore. I’m a mom and I enjoy being around positive situations, and enjoying every single moment. I want to be happy. I was nervous about the drama the show was going to bring.

Over the course of the rest of the season, does the drama escalate?
Everyone was dramatic. Everyone took this really seriously and really wanted to win. I kept having to remind myself that this was just a TV show… I’m not going to go to prison if I lose. [Laughs] The whole thing was just so serious and it tripped me out.

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Last week you almost got eliminated. What was the experience like in the boardroom?
It was intense. I don’t like being put in situations where I have to call people out. It makes me uncomfortable. I knew it would be a struggle for me coming on this show, and it was just… so dramatic. Like, calm down. [Laughs]

Do you know who the finalists are? Will viewers be surprised by who makes it to the end?
I do. We’re all getting back together for the finale episode, but I don’t know the winner. One person will be surprising, but the other person, no.

‘The New Celebrity Apprentice’ airs on W Network on Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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