jerseylicious Tracy Dimarco

"Jerseylicious" star Tracy DiMarco takes a stand. Photo courtesy of the Style Network

Tracy DiMarco is tired of the bad rap.

On the first season of the Style Network reality hit "Jerseylicious," the 22-year-old hairstylist tormented her nemesis, makeup artist Olivia Blois Sharpe, while sporting a battle-ready helmet of teased blonde hair.

But DiMarco insists that in season two, which premiered Sept. 5, she emerges as a more empathetic character, even while inflicting a shiner upon Sharpe.

"She's not the sweet Olivia person you think she is," DiMarco protests.

This, um, kinder, gentler persona may explain the lifelong Jersey girl's new look (notice the longer, darker locks) as well as the charming disposition she displayed when StyleList dialed her up to chat about the goings-on at the Gatsby Salon.

Not once did DiMarco threaten to whack us with her flat iron.

StyleList: What's the first thing you bought with your "Jerseylicious" paycheck?
Tracy DiMarco
: YSL pumps. Awesome!

SL: Is Olivia going to have a smoky eye or a black eye this season?
Both! This season is so intense it drains me. I was there and I was like, "Oh my God, are people going to believe this?" People are not ready for what's coming. If I hadn't lived it and breathed it and seen it with my own eyes, I would not believe it.

SL: So I'm betting you are the one responsible for Olivia's shiner?
Yep! It's courtesy of me. What happens is crazy, but she's a hypocrite. You'll see. She says a lot about what I do all the time, but trust me, you would have done the same. People will be on my side for a change.

SL: What's your salon secret for covering a black eye?
(Laughs) All the bronzer Olivia uses. Just pile it on.

SL: You changed your hair. Why?
I just got sick of the blonde. I had to get it done every week. It was killing my hair, and because I'm a hairdresser you change your hair all the time, and it takes its toll. My hair was falling out, so if I went dark, which is closer to my natural look, it's not really as harsh.

SL: It's longer too.
Not really. It's just all the teasing and bleach kills my roots; I don't tease it as high and it looks longer.

SL: Jersey reality shows have been criticized for how they portray the state. Is your style truly representative of the Garden State look?
Everyone knows I have a loud style. Maybe it's just my age group. I'm 22 and I feel like I kind of represent girls here who are 15 to 30. But this is truly how my friends look. Growing up, our mothers competed to see who could wear the highest heels and lowest-cut shirt to their kid's soccer game. You never want to run into anyone not looking dressed up and nice. It's all about skimpy dresses, big hair, and high heels. Christy [the Gatsby's new-mom co-owner] is much more toned down than we are, but she's all Jersey too. When she met her husband she was wearing cheetah-print pants. I don't even have those!

SL: I'm confused. Are animal prints good or bad?
Amazing! I can't live without them. My mom picks them up for me wherever she goes. It's not just clothes. I have a lamp, a dish. I can't get enough!

SL: Where do you shop to get the look?
I have three designers who sponsor me now, and I wear them almost exclusively. One is Reve New York of Englewood [NJ]. She's great and also dresses Teresa Giudice of the "Real Housewives." I also go to a great place called Pop Culture at the Menlo Park mall; they have great stuff. Also, there is a designer from North Jersey, Sandra Baquero. I love her things, they are very eclectic. If I am not wearing from these places, I fill in with Bebe or Marciano. They do Jersey well.

SL: Do you have a style icon?
: I hate to say it because it is such a cliché, but I am a big, big fan of the Kardashians. I think they always look great.

SL: Hair product you won't leave the house without?
The Gatsby has their own hair spray and I love it. It has a strong hold and smells great too.

SL: What's in your makeup bag?
I love MAC products because they are the most long lasting. There's a lot of Stila, and once in a while I get these $5 Prestige eyeliners at CVS. For the money, they are great. I also wear this bronzer you have to go to the Bronx to get because it's for African-American women. My skin gets that dark in the summer.

SL: What inspired you to become a hairstylist?
I was kind of meant to be in the industry. I went to FIT and studied fashion design, but once I was done I knew this is what I should do. I've always been creative. I specialize in what I call the Five-Minute Cut. I'm able to do a very good precision cut quickly. No one wants to sit in the chair for hours. At least not my clients.

SL: If you could give anyone in the cast a makeover, who would it be?
(Pauses) I'm going to surprise you and say Christy. She has this awesome, sick hair that is just beautiful, but she kind of plays it Girl Next Door safe. I'd like to see her change her look more; she's in a bit of a rut.

SL: Christy's hair looks great the way it is.
I totally agree, but this year we all have new hairstyles -- me, Gigi, Alexa [the Glam Fairy] -- and, you know, we're in the business. You've got to change it up every once in a while. Christy just had a baby and I'd like to see her do something fun now that it's safe to hit the bleach again. She's a doll. I think she would be great with some chunky blonde highlights.

SL: You actually seem kind of sweet. Are you mean or misunderstood?
Misunderstood. Say you were locked in a room with a person you totally despise for four or five months, your worst would come out too and people would catch your moments -- which I call editing. All these people who are hating on me don't realize Olivia can be a total bitch too. It pisses me off that everyone thinks she's the nice one. You think you know her, but you don't.

"Jerseylicious" airs Sundays at 8pm ET on the Style Network.

In other reality hair news, read about Oxygen's "Hair Battle Spectacular."