Bravo has done it again! They created another smash hit reality show, that is. In the new Southern Charm spin-off featuring Leva Bonaparte’s crew of young and good-looking employees at her restaurant, Republic, the cast showcases their personal lives and intense drama with each other.
You would be right if it sounds like you’ve been here before. Southern Hospitality is very similar to Vanderpump Rules; however, you MUST give this show a chance. Just as we offer new cities of the Real Housewives an opportunity to grow and shine, we have to do the same for these less publicized shows as well.
Whew, now that I’m off my soapbox, the cast of this show is IT! The cast is fun, quirky, emotional, dramatic, and SO entertaining. The first episode of this series immediately drew me in as this massive ensemble was introduced, and wasted no time getting to the drama. Among them was Maddi Reese, Mikel Simmons, Grace Lilly, Joe Bradley, Will Kulp, Emmy Sharrett, TJ Dinch, Bradley Carter, Lucía Peña, and Mia Alario.
To give a quick summary, this is a real group of friends, some of whom have known each other since they were in middle school. Maddi and Mikel are besties, and Mikel is also longtime besties with Grace Lilly. Grace Lilly (yes, she goes by both names, and we love her for it) and Maddi used to be tight, but since Maddi climbed up the ladder at Republic Garden & Lounge, Grace slowly backed away from her (per Maddi’s side of the story.) Joe Bradley (also goes by both names) really likes Maddi; however, Maddi has gotten back together with her ex that cheated on her. Will and Emmy are a couple, Tj and Bradley hang with Joe Bradley and Will, and Lucía and Mia are also weaved in there.
Among the cast, Mikel and Grace Lilly seem to be the two that get their cast member’s feathers ruffled up. Think Kenya Moore walking in with a marching band chanting, “Kenya Moore hair care!” Yes, that kind of ruffled. I can’t explain their entire personality from what we’ve seen on the show here, but from their storyline so far and being in the season’s most intense fights, it makes sense why they feel some of their co-stars were trying to dim their light.
In an interview with PopCulture, Mikel and Grace opened up about what it’s like to process what they’re seeing on tv for the first time. Admitting that it’s “very emotional,” Mikel added that watching the show made him question his relationships.
“It’s kind of like you go through these emotions one time, and then you have to go through it all over again,” he explained. “So kind of like, ‘You said what about me again? You said what? Oh no, I thought we were friends,’ and stuff. So it’s interesting juggling, ‘Like are we still friends, are we still good?'”
Grace Lilly added her comments regarding Emmy’s mom saying that she looked like a stripper. “I personally did not like – and my mom did not like – the comment where Emmy’s mom said I look like a stripper,” she said. “I did not appreciate that. So I thought that was pretty messed up considering Emmy posts bikini photos all the time. But when I post a bikini photo, I’m a stripper.”
The first few episodes of the series featured Mikel trying to squeeze his way back into the group, and into Republic, after being put on pause for promoting another lounge. That sparked the drama between Mikel and Tj and Joe Bradley. When asked about his thoughts regarding the other boys trying to keep him out of Republic, Mikel said, “They were just messy. They were haters. They were jealous.”
Grace shared that she’s “been reevaluating a little bit of how I come off” after hearing what her cast mates had to say about her. However, she thinks there may have been a target on her back from the beginning. “Some of those people just didn’t really know who I really was and what I was about, and they just want to down me over and over and over again for any damn little reason they could,” Grace said.
If you haven’t given this show a chance yet, I suggest you hop over to Peacock and binge those first five episodes because I think it’ll get better from here. A second season should already be in the works because Southern Hospitality is just that good.
TELL US – HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY? IF SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK? AND WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CAST MEMBER?
[Photo by: Astrid Stawiarz/Bravo via Getty Images]