DJ Pauly D.

Even saying the name out loud has a sort of weird feeling to it. But the fact of the matter is that no matter how many people like to judge a book by its cover, Pauly D is a successful DJ and businessman that makes upwards of $11 million per year.

How did it start that way? Most would point to his four year stint as a cast member of the show Jersey Shore. But that’s not the full story. Unlike his other cast members, Pauly D, real name Paul DelVecchio, wasn’t content with getting a check to make an appearance at a club. He would actually turn down invitations unless he was allowed to DJ.

Complex today posted a feature on Pauly D, ranging from his time as an adolescent wearing hair gel and tanned, to his current status as a multimillionaire businessman. Most people are quick to dismiss Pauly D as an actual DJ because of his pedigree, but to his credit, he didn’t want to be just a DJ. He wanted to be a successful DJ. And that’s probably where some people get things lost in translation.

“All the other [cast members] could do club appearances, because they couldn’t do anything else,” said one of his two managers, Larry Rudolph. “The last thing Pauly would want to do is these club appearances where he just shows up and sits on the couch.”

“I wanted to work to my dream, not just be some reality show DJ,” said Pauly. “There are still some skeptics, and how I prove them wrong is just with my DJ skills.”

Pauly’s interest in DJing started at a young age, right around age 14 when he bought his first set of cheap DJ equipment. Rather than use Jersey Shore as an easy way into getting booked for gigs, he saw it as an opportunity to get his name out there and recognized. And boy did it work.

“Within his first week at the house,” writes Complex, “he was making the call to set up a job and eventually DJing on-screen at Karma, earning $200 for the night.”

Pauly D now plays in Vegas quite often, at residencies or one-off parties. He also has a tanner, cologne, and clothing line. He’s not just some dumb guy from the Shore. He’s DJ Pauly D.

Read the full feature at Complex.