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Thursday, December 09, 2021

'Twinning' UF students on 'Jersey Shore' speak out

<p>‘Twinning' UF seniors Erica Taltos, left, and Brittany Taltos pose for a picture donning matching outfits before heading to midtown to celebrate Saturday night's football victory against FAU.</p>

‘Twinning' UF seniors Erica Taltos, left, and Brittany Taltos pose for a picture donning matching outfits before heading to midtown to celebrate Saturday night's football victory against FAU.

The world watched as The Gator Nation got a firsthand lesson in fist pumping and "twinning" when the UF College of Journalism and Communications sponsored a study abroad trip in Florence during the summer semester.

Twins Brittany and Erica Taltos, 22, are advertising seniors and most recently known for their stint on season four of "Jersey Shore."

Members of the Ad Society, former Division I Cross Country and Track and Field participants and employees at Red Mango, these girls stress the fact that they are just like any other UF student.

"The thing is, we have an above 3.5 GPA, and we went on study abroad to have fun and put it on our resume," Brittany Taltos said. "Partying was just an aside. It's what everyone did; we just happened to get on television for it."

Despite never watching the show, when Brittany realized "Jersey Shore" was in Florence, she was determined to meet the cast.

"I walked into a bar with a friend, and there they were," she said. "I thought, ‘How cool would it be to talk to them?' And I just walked up and introduced myself."

With MTV now selling "twinning" T-shirts and Pauly D's conclusion that "twinning is winning," there's buzz surrounding this new concept.

"No, twinning is not what the ‘Jersey Shore' depicted it as," Brittany said. "Twinning is dressing the same, being on the same page, doing the same things together - nothing perverted. It's just being."

Before they made their debut on national television, Brittany was studying in Gainesville while Erica was in Oliver-Pyatt Centers residential treatment center in Miami juggling eating disorder recovery with UF Distance Learning.

"Before Italy, I was unhappy with myself," Erica said. "I was unsure and unconfident."

Being able to travel, spend time with her sister and be on television proved to be a booster for Erica, who realizes she has potential in life for more than an eating disorder.

Followers of the show are buzzing over her declaration of virginity, but Erica doesn't apologize for it.

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"I own it," she said. "I'm waiting for the person I love."

As far as Brittany's sexual escapades go, she denied having sex with Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino. Brittany also confidently declared she is fine with being his second choice.

"If you tell me I'm the whole package, I'd be offended," she said. "Who wants to be The Situation's whole package? Not me."

Brittany confirmed receiving a letter from her professor telling her to revoke her contract with MTV.

"I called my lawyer," she said.

Professor Norman Lewis, who accompanied the 90 students in Florence, refused to comment on the situation at hand.

"The bigger picture here is that the month-long study abroad trip that Dr. Mike Weigold designed and led was one of the most amazing educational experiences I've ever had and an academic highlight for dozens of students," he said.

Lawyer-ing up proved a point for Brittany, as UF revoked its decision to punish anyone who decided to participate in the MTV show. Following her sister's lead, Erica signed the contract the next day.

"It was the best time of my entire life; I don't regret it one bit," Brittany said.

Besides having a reality show in the works, "Twins B&E," as their Facebook fan page is called, the two put school on the back burner for a few days as they flew out to New York City last week to film an episode of "The Bill Cunningham Show."

"Now we're making something of it," Erica said. "We're not going to end as the ‘whores' who starred on ‘Jersey Shore.'"

And in response to the "haters"?

"They're too worried about what other people are doing," Erica said. "It was our Spring Break in Italy. We made it to class every day. We made A's in our classes. We didn't do anything illegal, and we shouldn't be chastised for it."

"Your comments go over my head," Brittany said. "You clearly have a bad mindset, and you're never going to get through life."

‘Twinning' UF seniors Erica Taltos, left, and Brittany Taltos pose for a picture donning matching outfits before heading to midtown to celebrate Saturday night's football victory against FAU.

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