I got the chance to speak with Janine, Big Ang's sister and she is one busy woman. Falling on the sibling chart as the youngest of seven, which I found surprising, Janine is a very warm compassionate person. Big Ang falls in at number 5 and there is 1 other sister, Donna, who is the oldest, with 4 brothers in between. We got the chance to chat about her life with and without Big Ang.
Thank you Janine for taking the time to talk with me.
Oh, no problem.
After asking where she falls on the sibling chart; I asked about her own family
So tell me, you have 7 children also?
Yes, and there is 20 years difference between my oldest and my youngest.
Wow! That's a big age difference!
Tell me a bit about your childhood.
Well, my parents both worked a lot. They got divorced when I was 9. I was raised with my mother and step-father.
I know you were close with your mother, tell me about some memories of her.
She was the soul of the earth. She was a very compassionate person. I remember there was a mentally challenged kid that lived near us and my mother, who didn't drive, used to take the bus to go pick him up so he can spend time over at our house. My mother was like a companion for him.
How about growing up with Big Ang, any stories you can think of?
Well she use to take me everywhere. My mom worked a lot. She used to hangout at the schoolyard and smoke with her friends. I used to go home and rat her out. She and her friend, Cathy, used to try scaring me. You know, shutting off the lights and stuff like that. I think about how it was to grow up back then and I see how different it is today. I wonder what these kids are going to do today. I think the social networking influence is a big part of it. I remember Christmas having the whole extended family over and my mother making Orchette pasta with her thumb.
I agree. I can't believe the difference in the past 40 years myself. Do you have any stories to share about your Uncle Sally?
Yes, I have a funny one. I met Dom, my husband, and we had moved in together in my grandmothers apartment, which my Uncle Sally owned. He was in Vegas at the time. When he came home he found out we were living together and he came over with his friend Franky at 5:00 in the morning. He banged on the door and Dom got up. He told Dom he should get out. Dom told him he wasn't leaving and he had good intentions. Uncle Sally told him that he better be married by tomorrow. Franky said, “Hey tomorrow is Saturday.” Then Uncle Sally said, “Then by Monday.” So we got married on Monday. And here I am 22 years later.
That was quick! How has your life changed since the Big Ang show aired?
Well mostly people recognize you. It's not the special treatment or anything, but it's nice that people want to talk with you and hang out with you. It’s a good feeling.
Your relationship with Ang shows that you are like a mother figure to her. Tell me about that.
I guess because Ang had to work a lot and I stepped in to help with her kids. But mostly it's my personality. I am more business conscious. I'm more of a saver and Ang doesn't think twice about buying something, where I do. It’s funny but I am very protective over her now.
Maybe since now she has some fame?
I don't know but I get very protective with her and I watch who she is with. There's not a day that goes by where I don't talk to her at least 10 times a day. I love my sister.
Do you think the show will see a season 2?
Yes, I do. And I would like them show more of our family stuff on the show. I wish they would focus more on the family dynamics. What we are about.
I know there a lot of funny stories about the days when Linda and Ang hung out at the bars, were you part of that?
No, never. I never hung out at the bars.
Which NY Mob Wife are you closest to?
I would have to say Drita and Carla. I speak to both of them on a daily basis.
Tell me about the Country Mouse.
Well it's been in business for 40 years and I've owned it for 6. I think I took the store into the 21st century. It has a lot of custom made clothing. I have a great communion dress line.
What's this meatball contest I'm reading about?
Janine laughs. Well, it started as a joke. I was inviting someone over for dinner and I said I would make my meatballs. Then Ang chimes in and says well let me know when they are coming cause I'm going to make my meatballs. And I was like really? So it went back and forth as a joke. But we are going to have a contest, I'm not sure of the date yet.
Keep me posted, I wont want to miss it. Lastly, is there any dish you make that is like your signature dish?
Yes, I make a Genova sauce.
What's in it?
Well, you brown pork, veal and beef. Then you add some sausage, beef and a piece of veal. You cut the onions into strips. There are a lot of onions, like 20 lbs. Then you use 16 beef bullion cubes, water and dry basil. It cooks for like 4-5 hours covered. You serve it with fusilli and grated horseradish on top.
So its a clear white broth?
No, its brown from the meat.
Oh, this is one dish I'm not familiar with. I'll have to try it. Well thanks Janine. It was fun talking. Good luck with everything.
You too Carmela.
I really like Janine. I like the sisterly bond her and Ang share. I take it that although she would like to see family related things on The Big Ang show, if it gets picked up for season 2, that they will probably continue with the BIG lifestyle Big Ang lives. I am going to give the Genova sauce a shot. My boyfriend who is from Bari, Italy has talked about this sauce and I've never attempted to make it.
Follow me on twitter @CarmelaCorleone for more about Big Ang, her family and cast.
Written by: Carmela Corleone
Picture credit Janine Detore