Meet New Jersey’s cheesiest resident.
To say that Telina Cuppari of Kenilworth loves pizza is an understatement. Cuppari is so into slices that she has filled her home with more than 800 pizza collectibles—and even holds the Guinness World Record for the most pizza-related items.
“My husband said, ‘I lost my garage, I lost my attic; our dining room is a pizza-themed dining room,’” the mom of two says with a laugh.
When Cuppari, a California native and lifelong pizza lover, moved to New Jersey in 2012, she started collecting pizza knicknacks—an appropriate hobby for someone living in a state with so many pizzerias. Then she started wearing quirky pizza-print fashions, nabbing the nickname “Pizza Girl” in the process.
“If I’m going to do chores or go to the grocery store, why not dress up?” says Cuppari, who even owns a “corporate”-looking, collared pizza-print dress for meetings.
While some people took up puzzles or baking while home during the pandemic, Cuppari, who is publisher of the news site Tapinto Kenilworth, honed her collection.
On a whim, she looked up the Guinness record for pizza memorabilia (561 items at the time) and decided to try to beat it. To achieve her goal, she bought more items and received gifts from friends and fans; she even threw a big Pizza Palooza party, at which people brought memorabilia.
The mother of all pizza moments? When she gave birth at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center during the pandemic, she brought supplies to deck out her hospital room in a pizza theme. She even set up a photo booth.
“Because it was the pandemic, you didn’t have that camaraderie,” Cuppari says. “The staff really enjoyed it.”
Though she broke the Guinness record in late 2021 with 669 items, Cuppari now owns 800 and counting. Some favorites include a gown by Union designer ModMara by Faraj Couture, a pizza-shaped eyeshadow palette, and a shower curtain that features a sloth, dinosaur and pizza. Her collection includes books, toys, mugs, jewelry, clothing, dolls and much, much more.
She also eats pizza about once a week. Some of her favorite local spots include Capri in Kenilworth, where she orders a veggie pie with crushed garlic instead of olives (“I love garlic”), and Santillo’s in Elizabeth. “I will even have Santillio’s for breakfast if there are any leftovers. It’s that good,” she says.
Cuppari hopes to turn her garage, where she keeps a lot of her collection, into a museum of sorts one day.
Want to see more of our state’s biggest, boldest and one-of-a-kind feats and wonders? Check out New Jersey Monthly’s Book of Records.
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