“I hear the train a comin’, it’s rollin’ round the bend…” and it is called the HOT MESS EXPRESS! That’s right folks, your favorite trust funders and Peter Pans are returning for a new season of Southern Charm, and legal eagle Craig Conover is dishing all about his co-stars and their journey to Bravo-lebrity status.
One of the most endearing things about Craig (in my opinion) is that he is very loyal…and he can’t keep his mouth shut. Whether he’s defending Kathryn Dennis’ honor, competing with Shep Rose, or lunching with Cameran Eubanks, chances are he’s going to say something that could potentially get him in hot water with his friends. I’ll be interested to see if any of them have opinions on Craig’s recent comments. Oh, and side note, our little Craig is growing up so quickly. He’s finally (FINALLY!) taken the bar exam!
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In a recent podcast with Reality Life with Kate Casey, Craig opens up like only Craig can. Remembering the initial buzz about Whitney Sudler-Smith’s “documentary,” Craig asserts, “A lot of people assume that we tried out or we sought this out, but actually that couldn’t be further from the truth. I think when people realize that, they start to relax a little bit. What happened was…my life was going very well. I was in my third year of law school, everything was fine, I had a great job. Then, I met Whitney, we all started hanging out and he told me about this project he was doing. I was very supportive of him, but I had no idea eventually he’d try to get me to do it.”
Craig recalls, “I knew what he was doing, and then one day, he kind of cornered me and said, ‘Hey, you know, the network and I’d like to get you on camera and see what will happen.’ You know, I didn’t think it was real so I did it. They were kind of pursuing me, but I said no for like the first five months. I think Cameran was the first to sign up after six or five months. I’d wake up some mornings and think, ‘You never say no to anything’ and then the next morning, I’d be like, ‘What are you thinking? Everything is going fine.’ I talked to my dean. She’s like a seventy-five year old woman. She said, ‘You know, Craig, we’re in a different time. Unless you’re doing heroin or crack on television, you’ll be fine.’ I said, screw it, and then six months later, cameras showed up. We’re really doing this.” Um, I know the dean, and I can’t quite hear those words coming out of her mouth…
He describes filming as taking about four months, and this season we’re treated some new additions to the cast, including Shep’s buddy Austin Kroll, who Craig didn’t know prior to filming with him. Of the typical newbie wariness, Craig dishes, “He’s pretty great though….it’s kind of like a sports team or any other club. If you’ve done it for a while and put in the sweat…you know. You’ve been through the hard times. You know we all got into this together. I remember at the very beginning, Cameran, Shep and I went to lunch together at Rue de Jean in Charleston, and we were like, ‘Are we really going to do this?’ But we decided that day that we were, so we’ve been in it since the beginning. So when Austin came in, you know, I’d be lying if I didn’t think at first, who the hell is this kid? He’s not, I don’t know. You know what I’m saying. You just kind of get possessory. But fortunately, he’s cool as hell, and he didn’t care what was going on. Shep basically invited him to this pool party and he just ran with it. There wasn’t a process. He didn’t have to make the cut.”
Continuing, Craig shares, “This year, there are also some new girls. Austin is a very kind, honest person, also. He kind of starts to like this girl and is seeing her, and Shep is kind of, well, you know, he’s Shep, and sometimes Shep–and I love him to death–but sometimes Shep is the little kid in the sandbox. He couldn’t care less about a toy truck at the other end of the sandbox. He’s not playing with it, but if someone else wants to go play with that toy truck, then Shep decides he wants to play with the toy truck. Not to compare girls to toy trucks, but you know what I’m saying. He wants what someone else has. I really think that this year…the first season was great because it was the first one, but I really think this will be one of our best seasons. It’s entirely brand new. You have all these new elements. You have Thomas [Ravenel] being a father. You know Thomas has the kids this year, so all of a sudden, you’re watching Thomas differently.”
Addressing the rumors that Kathryn wouldn’t be appearing on the upcoming season mixed with the news that she will, in fact, return, Craig explains that she isn’t present during the early part of the season. He says, “Kathryn had her own stuff that she was dealing with, and it’s really intense stuff. You know, there are kids involved, add in everything she was going through with Thomas. I think she was handling her own stuff when we started to film.”
When asked if he or his cast mates were shocked to learn of Kathryn’s demons, Craig side steps a bit because OF COURSE THEY KNEW! He replies, “You know, that’s a tough thing to answer. You know, it’s more just sadness and disappointment that it had to get to that point. I was a guardian, at my law school you had to do thirty hours of pro bono work before graduating, so I became a guardian. Any time the state gets involved with the children for abuse or neglect or anything like that, the child is assigned a guardian, and you’re basically the child’s attorney…so I had been through this process a lot, and I know once the state gets involved in your life, it’s really hard to get them out. I look back when I was a kid, if someone had walked at some point when I was kid, I could have been taken. It’s such a strict microscope way of looking at it. I was just bummed out that they weren’t able to get their shit together on their own before the state had to get involved.” And you know Craig’s poor parents are listening to this podcast going, “Really son? There were times the state should have intervened? Child, please.”
There is no doubt that some of the drama with Kathryn and Thomas was hard to watch, and it was a big leap from the lighthearted escapism the show provided in the first season. Questioned whether the cast felt the show seemed to dark at times, Craig answers, “Yeah, I think you would hear a few of us screaming that a lot. We consider ourselves to be funny people and fun people. We have a lot of humor and happy times and fun stuff and sometimes it doesn’t come across…if Shep or I were to put out our own material, I think it would look a little different. That’s just how things go,” adding, “We’re like family, and you care about everyone. Cameran and I talk the most in the off-season, Shep too. I just saw Kathryn the other day, we went and had lunch to check in and see how she was doing. I saw Thomas at an oyster roast. We all run into each other and we do hang out, but everyone is kind of busy. Shep’s traveling all the time. Cameran’s working. We do hang out and we do see each other. We don’t see each other every day, but we are definitely all friends for the long haul.”
As the seasons progress, it has become easier to forget about the cameras. Craig states, “I think after doing it so long, it’s raw now. I mean it always has been. I think if you’ve had your guard up, you’ve dropped it now because you’ve become immune to the cameras, and you’re just yourself. I only get uncomfortable when I would prefer whatever is going on would not be seen by millions of people…but you just get immune to it. I think you’ll see this year, you’ll be like, ‘Holy shit–excuse me, so sorry God!–I can’t believe this is happening.’ It’s very raw. And yes, there are times you think, ‘Really? I really wish this was in private, but it comes out as well.'”
He also isn’t shocked to see some of his cast mates getting roasted on social media for their behavior on the show, especially Landon Clements. Craig admits, “I’m not surprised because I pretty much know any time something is happening, just how it will be received. I am surprised by, why on earth they choose to do some of the things they do on camera. I love Landon to death. She’s like a sister to me, and she’s really just a nice and kind person usually, but when it comes to Kathryn they have such a strong–hate is the wrong word, but passion–that is their nemesis. If you’ve ever had someone cheat on you, the person they cheat on you with, you feel complete anger and disgust.”
Citing those cheating rumors swirling around T-Rav and Landon, Craig says, “I mean, they still haven’t admitted if they were together, so we don’t know, which is why last year, how I would have handled it, I’d calmly and coolly explain everything. Landon would say, ‘You can’t calmly and coolly explain anything to Kathryn.’ But I remember when Landon and I were driving to that spa last season, I got the call that Kathryn was in the hospital and Landon went on some tangent about not caring. I remember just being like, covering one of the go-pros and looking at her, and being like, ‘Are you freaking crazy? You can’t say stuff like that.’ I knew that no matter what happens, if that airs, you’re going to get crucified. She just didn’t care. I remember just thinking, ‘You’re going to get crushed,’ and she did unfortunately.”
Giving his thoughts on his friends and co-stars, Craig laughs when he discusses all the trouble T-Rav has been in throughout his life, both on and off the cameras. He jokes, “There’s no one else on this planet like Thomas. I view Thomas like my little brother. What a lot of people don’t know is he’s pure kindness. Everything he does, he means well. He never has bad intentions, he’s just a moron sometimes…he’s very difficult to explain. He’s a very nice person, he just does dumb stuff, if that makes any sense.”
As for the show’s narrator, “Cameran has got a really, really fun party side to her that never comes out anymore. She can rap, and she can dance like a professional rap dancer in a music video…I guess it’s too good that I can’t think of too many things because it means most of her comes across. This year she is obsessed with the kids. She’ll spend an entire party holding the baby or playing with Kensie. She loves kids, but I think she’s just really scared about what it will do to her body. She admits that. I think if she could have a surrogate, I think she’d have a bunch of kids. Then it kind of comes out that she’s scared she’ll be a bad mom, but that inner fear coming out sort of allows some of us to help her get through that. It’s kind of a common fear. No one wants to bring a kid into this world and not give them the best life. She starts to really get soft about it this year. You’ll see I start to sew this year, so I make her a onesie that says Arriving Next Year Sometime. She’s not pregnant yet, but she tears up.” Oh Craig. Ohcraigohcraigohcraig. You should have stopped at her fun, party side, although I love that you’ve taken up sewing!
On what he’d like fans to know about himself, Craig reveals, “I’m not a complete piece of shit. I think they miss out on a lot of good that I do, but that’s my own fault also. If you’re doing something kind, you’re not doing it for recognition. You don’t post on Facebook that you paid for the special needs kid in the store in front of you without him knowing because he couldn’t find his credit card. You just do it and move on. This year, I’ve been heavily involved with charity and volunteer work, and now I’m too involved that they couldn’t help but follow it. You’ll see me go to Haiti. Naomie and I run the New York marathon for an orphanage in Haiti. You’ll be like, ‘Holy shit! Craig’s actually maturing and growing up, but it’s good.'”
All aboard the crazy train, people! I bought my ticket ages ago!
TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF CRAIG’S INTERVIEW? ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT THE UPCOMING SEASON?
[Photo Credit: Rebecca Miller/Bravo]