“I have a tell-all book about where I came from, as well as a workout video. There’s a single with D.J. Class and Fatman Scoop—I’m not going to claim to be a singer, but my voice is in it and the song is technically about me. We also have two workout supplements:a fat burner, as well as a creatine product for a pre-workout drink. I’m working with two clothing lines, and an iPhone app—it’s a GTL locator. Wherever you are in the U.S., you can locate your nearest gym, tanning, and laundry.”
Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is sitting at the Beachcomber Bar & Grill in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, talking about everything that’s come from his appearance on Jersey Shore, the show that made him famous enough to make money off a branded creatine shake. He’s wearing a dizzying black-and-white graphic T-shirt, a neon-print bathing suit, and a bedazzled blue baseball cap. He keeps his sunglasses on. “Every day I wake up and my popularity gets bigger and bigger. The show went international, and I read that it’s very big overseas, especially ‘The Situation’—my name, or my character—is known worldwide now. Abercrombie & Fitch, their most popular shirt, they told me, is ‘Fitchuation.’ I mean, where did they get that from? Obviously from myself.”
Two years ago, Mike Sorrentino was a struggling fitness model–slash–stripper living in Staten Island. “At 25, I had lost my job due to the economy, and my family wanted me to become a policeman or firefighter, but I knew there were other things out there for me. I sent some pictures to New York City and a model agency called and said, ‘Where have you been?’ So my friends took me out to celebrate in some bar where the girls wear bikinis and guys have shorts on, and a girl was holding her boyfriend’s hand, and as she walked by me, she’s like, ‘Oh my God, honey, look at his abs!’ And my friends were like, ‘Dude, that’s a situation!’ And I looked down and I was like, ‘That’s the situation!’ ” Sorrentino picks at his chicken sandwich. The Beachcomber is one of his summer favorites (and, memorably, where his castmate Snooki was punched in the face), but he’s eating light so as not to lose his trademark.Literally. He filed to have “The Situation” trademarked after season one, in the midst of a short legal battle with his brother.
When Sorrentino landed an audition for the pilot of Jersey Shore, MTV was canny enough to ignore the fact that he wasn’t actually from New Jersey. At this point, it hardly matters; his most famous catchphrase—“GTL, baby. Gym, Tanning, Laundry”—has become an unofficial state motto. To Sorrentino, though, New Jersey is just a launching pad. “I have meetings in L.A. with studio houses, and they want to see if they can find a spot for me in future roles, whether it’s G.I. Joe 2 or The Fast and the Furious 5. Right now I’m the biggest name in reality, but I’d like to keep moving forward. The only thing I can kind of compare it to is The Rock. The Rock started in the WWF, but he eventually transcended and moved into film. Now he’s Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, just how hopefully one day I’ll be Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino.”
In the meantime, the new season of Jersey Shore starts July 29. Sorrentino is cagey on how his newfound fame affected his relationship with other cast members. “I can’t really delve into how people dealt with me on the show, but how people treat each other based on how famous they are off the show … that could be possibly a variable,” he says, pulling down his sunglasses to indicate he’s serious. While most of this season’s episodes were actually filmed in Miami (winter on the Jersey shore isn’t conducive to GTL), the cast is set to return to Seaside Heights in July to film its final episodes. “You know what?” says Sorrentino, pausing to appreciate the screams of “The Situation!” and “GTL!” coming from fans who’ve gathered outside the bar. “It’ll probably be nice to be home.”