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Thursday, 02 February 2012 00:00

Unique Situation

Written by Kristie Bertucci | Photos by Christophe Wu
Now in it’s fourth season, MTV’s hit reality show, “Jersey Shore,” has become a cultural phenomenon, and its stars have skyrocketed to celebrity status. Known for his chiseled abs, smooth skills with the ladies and flamboyant charisma, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has become a household name thanks to being one of the prominent cast members of the show. And thanks to his rising fame and popularity “Jersey Shore” has afforded him, Mike has been staying very busy these days not only with the show, but with his many endorsements and even his own company. “Blessed to be busy these days” has also allowed him to acquire quite an impressive collection of whips, including his childhood dream cars.

You’ve been fortunate to own both your childhood dream cars. How do they compare?
You really can’t compare the two because it’s like comparing a beautiful brunette to a beautiful blonde; they’re both beautiful but different. I think the Ferrari is a great car and it drives well, same with the Lamborghini. Actually it’s the same with Bentley, too. All of the cars are custom and truly amazing vehicles. I drive all of them regularly depending on the occasion, but all of them get the same TLC.

Which one of your rides picks up the most chicks?
All of them [laughs]. All the cars I have are pretty attractive cars, so it doesn’t really matter which one I’m in. I’ve asked girls this question and it’s a tie between the Lambo and Ferrari. Some girls like one more than the other. But it’s so close that it’s a toss up.

How did you hook up with Will from Unique Autosports?
He has a history of doing custom work for a number of people, and I really wanted to go to someone who was trusted and did quality work. The relationship started in Miami and it took off from there. I trust his vision and just tell him to make it hot. But sometimes I’ll give my input. He hasn’t failed me yet!

“So we’re there in the club and all of a sudden some girl, who was with her boyfriend, pointed at my abs and said, “OMG honey! Did you see his abs?’ My buddy started laughing and was joking around when he said, “Ah, man…that’s a situation.” And I went along with it, pointing at my abs and replied, “That’s right! This is a situation.””

What’s your craziest car-related story?
This one time when I was in my Ferrari, I pulled over to get directions for someplace while in NYC and then a crowd of people rushed the car, asking for autographs and pictures. I never say no or turn down a fan, so there I was with all these fans, and a cop had to come and monitor the situation, so to speak. They then started asking me for pictures for their kids! The whole thing was captured on tape and it was on TMZ. While this was all going on, I had two girls sitting in the passenger’s side at the same time…[laughs].

Being casted on the “Jersey Shore” was a lucky break for you, but what were you doing before?
Immediately before the first season, I did the pilot for the show that was actually done by VH1. I was a fitness/underwear model in NYC at the time and was approached about this show that was sort of like “The Hills,” but showing us East Coast kids chillin’ and partying.

What’s the story behind “The Situation?”
After I was contracted for a huge underwear modeling gig, I went out to celebrate with my friend at a club in New Jersey and was feeling great. So we’re there in the club and all of a sudden some girl, who was with her boyfriend, pointed at my abs and said, “OMG honey! Did you see his abs?’ My buddy started laughing and was joking around when he said, “Ah, man…that’s a situation.” And I went along with it, pointing at my abs and replied, “That’s right! This is a situation.”

So ironically, when I was at the casting interview for the show, they asked me if I had a nickname. I quickly remembered the story that happened two weeks prior and told them, “Yeah, The Situation,” but very timidly, almost as if I was asking them for approval. They loved it as soon as they heard it, so when I left the interview, I immediately called my brother Marc, who helps me run my company, and asked if we could trademark the name.

The Situation

Were you a bit apprehensive about the show at first?
I didn’t intend to be in a “reality” show. I started out as model and wanted to be on billboards at that particular time. I was considering trying my hand at some acting when I got discovered. I was definitely very excited when I got casted. I didn’t know what to expect, but in my mind, I was willing to give it a shot and try my hardest to make my mark and stand out.

Are you the same Mike in front of the cameras as you are off?
That’s the real me at that particular time in my life. When you watch the show, it’s months behind. So when you’re watching it, that’s how I felt or acted at that certain time. But I’m definitely a very spontaneous person. No matter what I’m doing, I try to be as real as I possibly can. Everybody isn’t going to like it, but I’m pretty sure, I get more likes than dislikes.

“I’ve learned that the entertainment industry isn’t as easy as many think it is. It’s very hard to be successful. There’s a huge difference between being in front of the camera and the business of the industry.”

What’s it really like being thrown in to a house with strangers and live together?
Having a camera on you at all times is a bit hard at first. Every move you make or anything you say is being recorded, so if you say the wrong thing, you can upset a lot of people. I’m just being myself and if some people don’t like what they see then oh well. You can’t please everybody.

Do you ever look back at episodes and regret anything?
I never live with regret. I’m a positive person and don’t sweat the small things. I like to joke around and say that I’ve taken off the rear view mirrors on my car because I never look back. It’s how I live my life. I drive straight and fast and hopefully I make the right decisions at that point in time.

What have you learned from being on “Jersey Shore?”
I’ve learned that the entertainment industry isn’t as easy as many think it is. It’s very hard to be successful. There’s a huge difference between being in front of the camera and the business of the industry.

Besides the show, what else are you working on?
I have my own entertainment company that I run with my brother. We’re coming out with a huge line of official “The Situation” gear. But my projected path is definitely do movies and more scripted projects. As for “Jersey Shore,” expect to see Season 5 next year. After that, if the fans want to see more, then they will be the ones who will determine that. From there, I’ll see if that’s the best path for me or not when the time gets there.

Marc “The Man” Sorrentino

The Man

Only a year and a half older than Mike, Marc “The Man” Sorrentino is helping his brother build his empire. As the CEO of Mikes’ MPS Entertainment, Marc runs the day-to-day oprations and isn’t trying to follow in Mike’s footsteps. Instead, he’s content making things happen for “The Situation,” while making a name for himself in the DJ world, spinning at some of the biggest clubs all over the nation. Mentioning that he and Mike are like “night and day,” the Sorrentino brothers do share a passion for the same flashy rides.

How did you get the nickname “The Man?”
I got it actually when I was younger. I’ve always been interested in real estate and the only place I could afford anything was in Camden, New Jersey, which is a very urban community. I had saved up all my money and would always drive around different neighborhoods, trying to learn the market and see what’s out there. One day, I got off and started walking around, when some guys hanging out started talking to me. They said they had seen me driving around a couple of times and that I was one of the only White dudes they saw come around, so they said they’d call me “the man.” Since then, I’ve been putting it on all my license plates and it’s actually my DJ name.

How did you get involved with Mike and his business endeavors?
Before “Jersey Shore” washed ashore, Mike came to me and said he wanted to build a business so we started incorporating different entities and trademarking various slogans and catch phrases. Over time, we’ve been able to build a successful business with many sponsorships and endorsements. We also have lots of new products coming out on our mega website. It’s really a family affair since our sister Melissa is the vice president of operations and our brother Frank handles all the e-commerce for the site.

What’s it like to have Mike as a brother?
Mike has always been a charismatic person, both in front of the camera and behind. He has this free spirit attitude, where I’m more serious and business oriented.

Did you ever think he’d become so successful from “Jersey Shore?”
I don’t think anybody did. It’s amazing that the show has garnered this much success. But it has really been a blessing for Mike’s career.

You and Mike share the same taste in cars. Was this something that was planned or is it just a coincidence?
As kids, we shared the same bedroom for God knows how many years, so we shared a lot of the same opinions and taste in a lot of things. But we are still individuals and we don’t want to share anymore, which is why we each have our own Bentleys, Ferraris and Jeeps. His Ferrari is the classic red, while mine is more of a burnt orange. We both selected different rims and interiors, too. But we got the Ferraris and Bentleys on the same day actually. Certainly, the Ferrari is a favorite, but the Bentley is so elegant and refined. Since I like to drive fast, I usually opt to take my Ferrari most of the time. I always knew I’d get my dream cars one day and just kept working hard to make it happen. I also have a Range Rover Sport Supercharged and a Mercedes-Benz SL 65 Black Edition. I’d love to get a Rolls-Royce Phantom in the future, but since I’m always busy traveling, I don’t really get to enjoy my cars as much as I’d like. But Mike and I are actually looking into getting some convertible Camaros.

Will Castro

Will Castro

In 2008, famed customizer Will Castro packed up his NY-based Unique Autosports and headed south to the beautiful city of Miami, FL to open Unique Autosports South. With a new shop, crew and show on Spike TV, Castro continued to garner success in the Sunshine state, but didn’t feel totally content. For two years, Castro commuted between Miami and New York to see his family, but eventually chose to move back where it all started back in January of 2011. Looking to continue where he left off, expect nothing but bigger and better things from Will Castro in 2012 as he continues to grow the Unique Autosports brand with new shows, whips and projects!

Why did you want to move down to Miami?
I really moved down there to see if I can run my company in a city that I’m not from. I was able to accomplish that, and we had a successful run for the two years we were down there. We were able to tape Unique Autosports South, which aired on Spike TV. I was planning on staying a bit longer, but since my family didn’t want to move down with me it was difficult. Without my daughter Paige with me, it wasn’t working.

What was that experience like?
The whole experience was great. The weather, city and people, vendors and, most importantly, my Unique South team, they were all amazing to work with. It really brings the best out of you. There is a lot of talent and a lot of great shops in the city. They have a different style because the weather is a lot nicer, so you can go with more vibrant colors on the cars and the roads are a lot nicer than in New York so that helps with adding wheels, tires and custom suspensions. The grand opening was such a memorable event since a lot of my NYC clients came down to support. My team down there was one of the best that I’ve had in all the years that I’ve been in business.

Now that you’re back in New York, what’s your plan?
Now that we’re coming back to New York, I can’t wait to give people more opportunities to learn the business and be on TV. I’m currently scouting out places for a location and working on two TV shows; one will be like the Unique Miami and the other will be a show about giving back to my community of NYC and New Jersey. But I’m not really rushing things at the moment. I’m taking time for myself to really think about the future and what the next move will be. I’m looking for the best opportunity that will fit me perfectly. I currently have a huge project in Italy and am focused on the TV production of things, as well as being a great dad to my daughter Paige. But by the second quarter of 2012, I’ll be back in full force.

What are you doing in Italy?
I can’t really discuss too much on it, but I was contacted to help design a sports car out there. I'm the chief designer on the project and it’s been both a great challenge and memorable experience so far. Expect to hear about it next year!


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