Jersey Shore debuted two years ago with eight self-proclaimed guidos and guidettes who spent their days in tanning booths, gyms, and Laundromats and their nights dancing to house music, drinking, and “smushing” (having sex or, as newish cast member Deena Nicole Cortese says, “doing sex”). At first, audiences laughed—but then something happened. The kids at the Shore kept living their lives like there were no cameras on them, but the country changed. People began to aspire to Shore living; they started tanning, doing dance moves like the Jersey Turnpike (to those not in the know, stay there), and wearing their hair in poufs or blowing it out. This past Halloween, chain stores were even selling costumes of Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio, and a pouf wig based on the hairstyle made famous by Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi.
Throughout the show’s run, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro has served as the apex of masculine form both in build and ink. The spotlight has shined on his jarring on-again-off-again relationship with Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola as well as his winning, boyish cackle during the show’s most elated moments (and who can forget him biting down on a piece of clothing when getting tattooed?).
These days, Ortiz-Magro is in a good place, back at the Shore and infectiously laughing his way to the bank thanks to club appearances, his clothing line, Jersey Laundry (with shirts bearing his catchphrases like “Come at me, bro!”), and his spot on the fifth season, which takes place in New Jersey’s Seaside Heights. Although he wouldn’t give us the recipe for Ron-Ron Juice—he’s working on bottling it—he did offer insight on what happens behind the scenes of Jersey Shore.
INKED: What’s a guido?
Ronnie Ortiz-Magro: It is the way you carry yourself, the way you dress, the way you look—tan and in shape—and your confidence. It’s a way of life.
What do you say to the Italian-American groups who railed against the show, saying that you made them look bad? First off, I don’t represent anybody. My job is to have fun and get drunk. I’m not looking to be a mayor or a senator; I’m not going down that road. And guido doesn’t mean you are Italian. Anybody can be a guido. I’m Puerto Rican and Italian; four other people on the show aren’t full Italian. And to clarify, Vinny [Guadagnino], who is Italian, isn’t a guido because of that—and he doesn’t even have the look. But he’s confident, so that’s why he’s a guido.