Emme: I am talking to the real deal! You were born and raised in The Bronx?
Giovanni: I was made in Italy, born in the Bronx. My parents came here from Italy when they were young. My father came here looking for work, my grandfather passed away, and my father was the oldest of six, seven kids. So, he came to America to look for work to send money back home to support his brothers and sisters and his mother. My mom came here when she was 2 years old on the boat. My parents met in the Bronx on Arthur Avenue. They went back to Italy to get married. My mom got pregnant with me, and flew back here. And here I am.
Emme: What part of Italy is your family from?
Giovanni: My father is [from Naples,] my mother is Calabrese.
Emme: I’m Calabrese, too. And I’m Sicilian.
Giovanni: That’s some mix!
Emme: Do you want to return to Italy?
Giovanni: Yes, I want to move there.
Emme: Why do you want to live there?
Giovanni: I love it. It’s a different life. It’s how it was 30 or 40 years ago. Everyone has class, respect, honor, loyalty, everybody helps each other, sticks together.
In Italy, everyone has class, respect, honor, loyalty
Emme: So, what was your life like before you joined the show?
Giovanni: The same that it is now! I’m still am who I am! (laughs)
Emme: Were you working, going to school? What was your story before going on the show?
Giovanni: Growing up as a kid on Arthur Avenue, my neighborhood was all Italians. My father owned a pizzeria, my father’s place was the number one place in the Bronx. Everyone would come hang out, and drink coffee. At 13, my father taught me how to make pizza, and I mastered it when I was about 14. I became the pizza guy. I like to laugh, joke around, enjoy life.
Emme: How old are you?
Emme: How did you hear about Mama’s Boys of the Bronx? How did you get on the show?
Giovanni: One of the girls came along looking. They had flyers out. I met one of the producers looking to recruit people. This was 2 1/2 years ago.
Emme: Did you have an interview?
Giovanni: Yeah, and they ended up picking five of us. We had three of four interviews. Everyone there was in their 20’s or early 30’s.
Emme: Do you still live with your family?
Giovanni: Yes, we have a family house. My mother had cancer from 2000 so I moved back home. My sisters are all married. [My mother] lives with my stepfather. So I moved back. I took care of her, and that’s how we were. Even as kids, we were all together. My grandparents lived in the house with us. Us, Italians, and I mean old school Italians, we don’t put our parents in a home. They die with us.
Emme: How do you know the other guys on the show? Did all of you grow up together on Arthur Avenue?
Giovanni: We were kind of friends of friends. But, we really didn’t hang out too much, but we were always around each other.
Emme: What was a typical day of filming?
Giovanni: Basically, it’s living your life!
Emme: And it’s all 100% real?
Giovanni: Yes! And the cameras didn’t bother me!
Emme: How do you know Leah DeSimone, GiGi from Jerseylicious, Big Ang, how do you know everyone?
Giovanni: Through filming! They all come to Arthur Avenue. I just filmed their show [Mob Wives.] I will be on one of the episodes.
Emme: What TV shows do you watch?
Giovanni: I don’t watch TV. I didn’t even watch my show.
Emme: You didn’t watch your show?!
Giovanni: No, and I have a copy of all eight episodes.
Emme: Wow! Is there going to be a new season of your show?
Giovanni: I don’t know. The producers know exactly.
Emme: Has anyone told you that they didn’t like the show?
Giovanni: Yeah, there will always be haters.
What my family does for me, I do for them.
Emme: I know you’re friends with [Mob Wives Chicago’s] Leah DeSimone!
Giovanni: She’s a sweetheart! I break her balls… I call her meatball! (laughs) She was here with [Mob Wives Chicago’s] Pia Rizza. I just met Lucy Liu two days ago.
Emme: How did you get to meet her?
Giovanni: She came to the neighborhood, shopping. Everyone comes here! The guys from The Sopranos, guys from A Bronx Tale, Michael Badalucco, a lot of people! They all come shopping! Arthur Avenue is where it all began! It’s the real Little Italy in the Bronx. This is where it all began.
Emme: What’s in store for you for the future?
Giovanni: Only God knows.
Giovanni’s Guide to the Bronx:
Best Restaurant: They’re all good!
Best Pizza: Mario’s Restaurant, Michelangelo’s. Then there’s the pizza I make in my house!
Best Pasta: Borgatti’s
Best Cappuccino: I’ll make that for you! I’m known for my cappuccino and espresso. I’ve been making it since I was a kid.
Best Part About Living in the Bronx: Everything is good. It’s where I grew up. My friends are here, my family is here. It’s like being in Italy!
Giovanni’s Clothing Designs: