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Floribama Shore’s Gus Talks Career As a Romance Novel Cover Model and Being the ‘Sensitive’ Houseguest (Exclusive)

Floribama Shore’s Gus Photo credit: Sara Eirew

Who is Gus Smyrnios? The Floribama Shore star showed his sensitive side during the Monday, December 11, episode, but there is something he hasn’t yet revealed to his houseguests. While he was raised by a blue-collar family — roofing, painting houses and even working on a farm, he now has an entirely new career: romance novel cover model.

Related: Meet the Cast of MTV's 'Floribama Shore'

Over the past year, Gus, 22, has booked 40 (!) covers — two in the past week, he revealed to Us Weekly in an exclusive interview.

Read our full Q&A below:

Us Weekly: You got really emotional in this week’s episode and showed a sensitive side when your family was brought up. Why is that?
Gus: I don’t want to talk about my family situation too much. I try to stay away from it. Honestly, the little bit I have [talked about] has caused bit of tension within the family. But I went on and told my story. I didn’t lie about anything. I felt like me telling my story could really resonate with people across the country. It was the best thing for me to do. I don’t have any regrets about it.

Related: Most Tumultuous Relaitonships in Reality TV

Us: Are you the most sensitive in the house?
GS: I hate to admit it because I am a guy at the end of the day. I hate to admit that I am a little sensitive. but I’ve always been one to wear my heart on my sleeve. You’re gonna know how I feel at all times. I don’t put up a front and act hard. Family has always been the most important thing to me.

Us: There’s a lot of butting heads but you guys really have each other’s backs at the end of the day.
GS: It’s really weird because we fight a lot. When you live with others, there’s bound to be tension, but at the end of the day we are a weird, twisted family.

Us: You really kept your cool when someone came at you at the bar this week! How?
GS: I’ve always been mellow-headed. I’m not a hothead. I deal with those situations well. That’s just been the story for a while for me, even before the show. People like to start s—t with me. People see the hair and instantly want to try to start a fight and see what I’m made of, but I’m not one to start a fight … and obviously my housemates weren’t going to put up with that type of disrespect. People assume, because of my look, that I’m gonna an a—hole or a douchebag or something and that’s really not the case. Don’t judge anybody by how they look.

Us: Have you gotten any negative feedback from anyone from the show?
GS: My family aren’t big into partying, that lifestyle. They’re super traditional and old school. It’s a whole new realm for them to see.

Related: Stars Who Got Their Starts on Reality TV

Us: They’re also seeing you hook up with girls …
GS: Yeah I’m a sweetheart but I’m still a guy! I love to go out and flirt and talk to as many girls as I can. I have good intentions. I not trying to go around and sleep with everybody, I just want to interact with people! My mom seeing me with whatever girl, she’s a little shook!

Floribama Shore’s Gus

Us: Alright we have to talk about the romance novel covers you do on the side.
GS: I sold two this week, so I’ve done 40 as of now.

Us: How’d that start?
GS: Growing up, I never wanted to get into modeling or acting. I was 19 at the time and I was talking to a girl who was into modeling. I went with her and her agent happened to be there and she looked at me and said, “You have a really good look. I’d love to work with you sometime.” I shot with her and ended up signing with that agency. I signed with around eight different agencies here in Florida within two weeks or so, and then a major book publishing company came across my profile and it kicked off from there. Different companies started reaching out to me and it blew up! I didn’t know anything about that world — it was crazy how it happened. I just got thrown into it.

Floribama Shore’s Gus

Us: Do people in the house know?
GS: I think toward the end of the season I might of mentioned it to somebody but it was never a talking point. I’m from a blue-collar family. My dad was a state trooper and he painted houses so I grew up painting with him. I laid floors, I did roofing. I actually worked on a farm for two or three years. That’s sort of how I defined myself. I’ve always looked at the romance covers as something fun and then it just blew up and I started doing that full time over the last year. It’s like two different lives. It’s a culture shock!

Us: So Fabio should be worried.
GS: I’m coming for Fabio’s spot. He better look out! All the companies that I’ve worked with have all kind of freaked out. Usually it takes a while to get your name out there. I’ve sold 40 in the last year … 40’s a good bid. I was surprised. I didn’t expect it to take off the way it did.

Floribama Shore airs on MTV Mondays at 10 p.m. ET.

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