Loud, opinionated and funny. Three spot-on adjectives that Codi Butts, a South Carolina native and one of eight cast members of MTV’s new “Floribama Shore,” uses to describe himself.
“Floribama Shore” was made in the mold of “Jersey Shore,” but don’t look for Butts to be your average Mike “The Situation” or any of the other GTL-loving guys. Butts is far from cookie-cutter, and soon his smiling face – and patriotic speedo! – will take you and your DVR on a bumpy back-road ride.
Butts, 25, was born and raised in Westminster (“As far as you can go up into South Carolina before you get to Georgia and North Carolina,” he said). In a phone interview, he spilled the tea about everything from the backlash the show has already received to his affinity for having his eyebrows waxed and wearing Ralph Lauren to hunt and fish. And then there’s the part about which cast member he’d marry if given the choice.
How did you find out they were casting for “Floribama”?
My younger sister loves “Party Down South” on CMT, and we saw a commercial that they were casting for new people, and she said I should apply. I said, “They don’t want nobody from Westminster, South Carolina, on there,” but I tried it, went through the process of casting agencies, phone and Skype interviews, and then they flew me to LA. It took about six months.
What do you think set you apart from the other cast members?
I am a very liberal person and you don’t find a lot of those in South Carolina, especially in upstate South Carolina. Just because I look like a typical Southern guy doesn’t mean I’m the Old South. I represent the New South. I’m more accepting, more aware. I care about people’s feelings. To me, one of the greatest days as a South Carolinian was seeing the Confederate flag taken down from the State House. That showed that we’re moving forward.
Did you watch “Jersey Shore”?
I did. I didn’t watch it religiously, but I did if it was on TV.
How would you say “Floribama” is different from “Jersey Shore”? Similar?
It’s different because everybody is from the South. We’re gonna talk different, eat different and interact with people different. I think people in the South are friendlier than people in the North, but that’s just my opinion. It’s similar because you’re taking eight strangers and putting them in a house and asking them to get along. That’s the only similarity.
What’s something you took to the house that’s signature South Carolina that helped remind you of home?
My koozie with the palmetto tree and the crescent moon on it; it goes with me everywhere. I think we have the prettiest flag out of all 50 states. I wanted everybody to know I was from South Carolina and I’m proud of it.
Looking back on your time at the house, is there anything you’re nervous about your family seeing?
Not really. When I was raised, I wasn’t sheltered or hidden from anything, so I’m not afraid of anything. I don’t regret anything that happened on the show or apologize for it. I went out there, had a good time and had my ups and downs, like we all did.
So we learned that one of your favorite things is getting your eyebrows waxed. What else would people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m not your typical guy. I don’t mind getting my eyebrows waxed or going to the hair salon. I like pampering myself. I also love fishing and hunting, but the difference between me and someone else doing it is I’m going to do it in a Ralph Lauren polo shirt with a popped collar, not camo. I may look like I’m going to the golf course, but I’m really going hunting and fishing.
“Date, Marry, Shag, Hook-up with a Friend” cast member addition: Aimee Hall, Candace Rice, Kortni Gilson and Nilsa Prowant.
I would marry Candace because she’s wife-material. She’s going places, she’s got a good head on her shoulders, and she’s pretty. If I had to set one up with someone, it’d be Aimee. She’s so much fun, has a great personality and just fun to be around. The one night stand would be Kortni. It would be no strings attached, and nobody would care. And I’d date Nilsa.
Who was your favorite castmate off the bat?
Aimee. She’s like me. She grew up in small town Alabama, and I grew up in small town South Carolina. And I consider us the most Southern out of all the people on the show. So we have that connection. And just her voice and accent ... I thought this is someone who can relate to me and how I grew up.
Who did you think you weren’t going to get along with initially?
Jeremiah. Just because he’s this big, buff, ripped guy and was kind of douchebag-ish, but that was just off of first impressions.
What are your thoughts on the backlash the show is getting from diehard “Jersey Shore” fans?
I don’t have a problem with that. I try not to pay attention because they’re going to put it on social media, but they’re the ones that are secretly watching. So they may talk a good game, but they’re going to be the first tuned in and watching. We know you’re watching.
So what’s next for you? If they asked you back, would you do another season of “Floribama”?
If we go back for season 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... sign me up, I am ready. I love all the castmates. Absolutely love them. We are really good friends and talk every day pretty much. I love being around them. And it was so much fun!
About the show
“Floribama Shore” premieres at 10 p.m. Nov. 27 on MTV.
Codi Butts and a few of his castmates will tailgate at the USC-Florida game on Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at Gamecock Park. Look for a silver airstream, white picket fence and pink flamingos.
“I want everybody to come out, meet cast members and come see your hometown boy. Your homegrown South Carolinian,” Butts said.