Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, who brought the iconic jersey shore cocktail “ron ron juice” to America (a watermelon and a handle of vodka), has swapped “juice head” for “productive pothead.”
“A strange girl walks up to me and she’s like, ’You look like you fit the criteria for this TV show we’re doing. And I’m like, ‘What? Douchebag?’” Ortiz-Magro laughed. “Then on a Tuesday she gives me a call and says ‘Hey, would you come to Long Island and do an interview?’”
With a “why not” attitude, the Bronx native took the hour-long drive to Long Island with a friend. “I pull up to this house and there’s plywood on all the windows. And we’re like, ‘What? Where am I?’” Ortiz-Magro said. “It looked like Freddy Krueger’s house. And I’m like, ‘Oh my God. Am I on Elm Street?’”
Ortiz-Magro recalls the day clearly, with it being the day of Michael Jackson’s funeral service. “I see a guy walking out, tool bag. Just like Pauly, with the blowout. And I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m in the right spot, obviously.’ He wasn’t murdered so I went to the back,” he said. “I said to my friend, ‘If I don’t text you in 10 minutes, call the cops.’”
Ortiz-Magro then got a second call from the producers, saying they would like to fly him out to California for a final round of video interviews.
“At that point, I was this 23-year-old Bronx kid that never really traveled. I thought, what do I have to lose? Free trip,” Ortiz-Magro said.
Ortiz-Magro was a real estate broker for his family’s company, having worked for his father and grandfather for six years. Breaking the news to them was hard— when you work for a family business, “they expect so much.” At that time, Ortiz-Magro recalled, he didn’t have much to pack up from his “little one-bedroom apartment in the ghetto.”
Ortiz-Magro wanted to be a personal trainer at that time, and thought the show would allow him to charge extra money. He also thought Jersey Shore would only last one season.
With $237 in his bank account, Ortiz-Magro’s luggage, medicine bottles, wallet, pockets and shoes were thoroughly checked before being put into the Jersey Shore house.
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