Conover to star in new Bravo series ‘Southern Charm’
Walking down King Street in the vibrant city of Charleston, S.C., Craig Conover keeps his sunglasses on and peers over his shoulder as he stops at Starbucks to order his morning coffee, before making his way to the Akim Anastopoulo Law Firm and starting his workday.
There were times when being recognized wasn’t a such a concern for Conover, but as the season premiere of his new reality TV show on Bravo, “Southern Charm,” draws closer, the barista isn’t the only one to recognize the young Charleston socialite anymore — in fact, every set of eyes in the shop seems to perk up and lock in with a curious sense of familiarity when he walks through the door.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” Conover said of his growing celebrity status. “My friends think it’s awesome. I have ex-girlfriends texting me pictures of me on billboards in New York. When they ran the 30-minute preview, I was getting like 400 Facebook requests an hour. Even though everything is already out there in the age of Facebook and Twitter, I know I can never go back from it.”
A Dagsboro native and Indian River High School graduate, Conover went on to attend the College of Charleston in 2006 and was instantly captivated by the city, the people and the Southern way of life.
“Charleston really is just a different world,” he explained. “It’s an eclectic group of people — there’s so many different lifestyles down here. You can’t really explain the beauty of this town to people until they can see it for themselves, and I think the show does a really good job of portraying that.”
The show focuses on a group of young socialites and their everyday way of life in the city. In regards to Conover, it depicts a young law student balancing a demanding school and work schedule with an equally demanding social life.
“I don’t think you’ll find many other law students that live the life I do,” he went on. “You can still have a successful life and successful career, and you don’t have to give up your social life.”
While Conover said there have been a few times were he was unable to take a trip or make an appearance at a party because of work, his boss has been one of his biggest supporters throughout. In fact, Akim Anastopoulo knows fame beyond his law career well — starring as “Judge Extreme Akim” on his own reality courtroom show.
“My co-workers couldn’t have been more supportive,” Conover said when asked whether the show had an effect on his job. “My boss is one of my biggest supporters. He told me, ‘You’re 25 years old. Do it. You’re young. You’ll always have your law degree.”
Another factor he weighed in his decision process was based off the advice and experience of his close friend Cameron Eubanks, who appeared on MTV’s “The Real World: San Diego” in 2004.
“I wanted to talk to someone that had actually done it and weigh the consequences and benefits,” Conover said of Eubanks’ influence. “She’s lived in Charleston for several years now and got to do a lot of cool stuff after ‘The Real World.’ I decided I would have regretted not doing this way more than I ever would’ve regretted doing it.”
Conover was originally approached for the show after being introduced to filmmaker Whitney Sudler-Smith, who had wanted to make a show about Charleston for years. After getting to know Conover better, Sudler-Smith decided that he would be a perfect person to focus on.
“He had the idea and pitched it to a few people, and they really liked it,” Conover said. “No one tried out for the show. They thought I’d be a good person to highlight.”
While Conover is certainly excited to see what new opportunities will arise from the show personally, he’s even more elated that the city that he has called home for the past eight years will finally get some well-warranted recognition.
“I think it’s awesome that the show is finally being made in the South that shows the classier side of down here. It’s going to be a very accurate portrayal of how fun life is down here and show that, as much fun as your life is, you still have problems to deal with.”
No matter how famous the soon-to-be-celebrity gets, he said he’ll never forget good old Sussex County.
“Sussex County will always be considered my home. I love coming back and visiting. I love coming back for a week or two and enjoying driving through the corn fields and cruising the shoreline. I’ll never forget anyone back home.”
He also knows that, no matter what happens, he’ll never regret his decision.
“It was one of the best experiences of my life. I met great people working on the show, and I don’t mind putting myself out there for people to see. When something this big knocks on your door, you’ve got to embrace it and run with it. You only live once. I want to do as much as possible during that lifetime.”
Tune into Bravo for the “Southern Charm” series premiere on Monday, March 3, at 10 p.m. and check out http://www.bravotv.com/people/craig-conover to read more about Conover.