When she decided to join the cast of Jersey Shore
last year, Angelina Pivarnick
didn't exactly get a ringing endorsement from her family.
"To be honest, nobody was into it. They were like, 'You're gonna look like an idiot,' " says Pivarnick, who returned for the hit MTV show’s second season in Miami
after quitting last season to go home to her ex-boyfriend, a decision she now says she "regrets.”
But in the end, her Staten Island-based clan came around.
"I'm very proud of her, that she is aggressive enough to get out there and do things like this," says her mother Annmarie. "You know, she's very outgoing – she was in Miss Hawaiian Tropic in Manhattan, the bikini show – and I'm very proud of her for that."
While Pivarnick clashes with her Jersey Shore castmates
– and won’t be returning
for the show's third season – she says she's much happier at home in Staten Island.
"Sometimes it gets annoying because everybody knows each other here and everybody's in each other's business here because it's a small island but," she says, "I've grown up with everybody here for forever and I just feel like this is my home, so I love it." --Charlotte Triggs and Maria QualtereFor more pictures of the
Jersey Shore cast at home – including Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi drinking margaritas with her dad Andy, and Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino making pasta with his family – pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now