Although the closest beach is over 200 miles from Auburn, a little bit of the “Shore” showed up in Jordan-Hare, SkyBar and several other places on The Plains.
The cast of MTV’s new reality show “Floribama Shore” came to the University to promote their show, party at the local spots and tailgate for the ULM football game.
Before the celebrations began, however, they sat down with The Plainsman to talk about how they got involved with the show, what it was like going from small-town life to national TV spotlight and how they hope people respond to the “Jersey Shore” pseudo-spinoff.
Aimee Hall, Kirk Medas, Nilsa Prowant and Gus Smyrnios gathered on a couch on the ground floor of Auburn’s student center.
“The Sky Bar has Natty, right? The last place we went they didn’t even know what that was,” Hall said.
After that was settled and everyone was comforted by the idea of cheap beer in their futures, the cast was asked what every college student wonders: How do early-twenty-somethings get asked to party in a house for several weeks all for a nationally aired TV show?
“My buddy called me and said, ‘I’m being interviewed for an MTV show, come be my comfort for this,’” Medas said. “I went over there, met some producers, they liked me, I started getting some phone calls and now I’m here.”
The 25-year-old Atlantan’s experience was echoed by his co-star Nilsa Prowant, a native of Panama City where the show was filmed.
“I had a friend getting interviewed as well,” Prowant said. “I charmed the producers and got on the show. I was cast maybe like three and a half weeks before the show aired. I had no idea what I was doing, I was like, ‘OK, here we go.’”
Twenty-two-year-old Gus Smyrnios and 24-year-old Aimee Hall had different experiences getting involved, but both used the show as an excuse to get away from their small town lives.
“I needed a break from home,” said Hall, who resides in Alabama. “They called me for an interview, I showed up and had everybody laughing so I just knew I had it.”
Smyrnios, a model from a small town near Tallahassee, Florida, reacted the same way when a producer of the show “slid into his DMs” on Instagram.
“I’m from a really small town where people don’t really get out of,” Smyrnios said. “They either work the paper mill or the cattle farm or whatever, so getting into the entertainment industry, even if it’s just an MTV show, is a big deal.”
As big of a deal as it may be, the cast members weren’t aware of exactly what they were doing when the show started filming.
“[The producers] were like, ‘It’s a tv show for MTV, it will be six to 10 people,’” Prowant said. “We didn’t even know what we were getting ourselves into. They told us, ‘Come be yourselves, live your life, just do you,’ and that’s what we did.”
Being themselves was the most important thing, according to the cast. Coming off of the pop culture phenomenon that was “Jersey Shore” five years ago, they said their main goal to stand out on their own by not conforming to a character.
“It’s not about portraying yourself a certain way,” Prowant said. “To be relatable you have to be yourself.”
Smyrnios emphasized that point.
“I went into the whole casting process with the mindset that ‘I’m gonna just be myself, if they don’t like it I can go the other way,’” he said. “That was the same for everybody; no one put on any kind of show, trying to be a certain character or anything like that. We are just completely ourselves.”
In response to the fans and old cast members of “Jersey Shore” taking to social media to bash the new show, the “Floribama” cast said the show will speak for itself and step out on its own.
“I think people were expecting us to come on and just try to act like Guidos because it’s ‘Shore,’ and they think it’s just a replica,” Smyrnios said. “We are so far from that though, it’s not even in the same realm.”
Prowant said it was unfortunate that there was any bad blood at all since she and her castmates were all fans of the old show when it was airing.
“We all like the Jersey Shore, I love the show, I like Snooki, I like JWOWW and I can relate to both of them,” Prowant said. “People are calling me the ‘Great Value brand Snooki,’ and that’s OK because I love her, so whatever. I take it as a compliment.”
Worries aside, the cast said filming the show was a fantastic experience, but getting used to the cameras varied between each member.
“I’ve woken up in the morning, and there’s just a camera right there in my face,” Medas said.
Some had trouble with it.
“It was really weird because the cameras roll 24/7, they’re never off,” Smyrnios said. “The first day we were there, we went to sleep, and I woke up at four or five o’clock in the morning because of nerves or whatever, so I figured I would go out and look at the beach. I go outside and sit on the little banister; I’m looking at the beach, and I hear something behind me and the whole camera crew is just watching me look at the water. I’m like, ‘it’s five in the morning what are y’all doing out here?’”
Others, not so much.
“It took a lot of adjusting for me because those cameramen were so hot,” Hall said. “It was about a week or two before we started forgetting they were there, which can be dangerous.”
Other than the initial awkwardness, though, the cast said that the show did a lot for them and hope it will do a lot for viewers as well.
“We just want to relate because we have all been through stuff, we all have different stories and its stuff that I feel like our demographic has gone through but its not really out there for people to relate to,” Medas said. “Besides the drinking and stuff — yeah that happens but everyone our age does that — there was a lot of real life stuff that went on.”
The cast members hoped that the scenes in between the partying, drinking and fighting would make a difference in relation.
“I’m 23 and divorced, and I feel like that is kind of common now,” Prowant said. “I want to get out there that you can pick yourself back up, and you can do whatever you want to do and don’t let a human being tell you that you’re not going to amount to anything.”
“I just want people to stop using words that hurt and I want females to love themselves,” Hall said.
After a discussion of what bars to go to and which football players to flirt with, the cast members — all of whom were fans of other SEC teams — promised to shout “War Eagle” at the Auburn game they were attending the next day.
“Floribama Shore” will air Monday, Nov. 27 on MTV.
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