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‘Southern Charm’ stars talk Paige and Craig’s relationship and drama-filled new season

The Charmers are back and revealing more than ever.
Southern Charm - Season 8
The Season Eight cast of "Southern Charm," pictured: (l-r): Chleb Ravenell, Austen Kroll, Olivia Flowers, Leva Bonaparte, Craig Conover, Shep Rose, Kathryn Calhoun Dennis, Naomi Olindo, Venita Aspen, Taylor Ann Green.Stephanie Diani / Bravo

From the looks of it, drama’s about to boil over in Charleston. 

After a 16-month hiatus, Bravo’s Charmers are back with a new season, promising boatloads of drama, love conflicts and personal growth as Charleston’s finest navigate all that life has to offer.

Premiering June 23, Season Eight features a stacked cast, with returnees Leva Bonaparte, Craig Conover, Kathryn Dennis, Austen Kroll, Madison LeCroy and Shep Rose joined by newcomers Venita Aspen, Taylor Ann Green, Olivia Flowers, Marcie Hobbs and Chleb Ravenell. Hallmark friends Patricia Altschul, Whitney Sudler-Smith and John Pringle will join in on the group’s antics as well. 

To sweeten the season even further, Conover’s prior love interest, Naomie Olindo, is making her highly anticipated return after a season away from the cameras. Conover’s current love interest, Paige DeSorbo (originally from Bravo’s "Summer House"), will also be appearing throughout the season. 

TODAY caught up with Shep Rose and Austen Kroll at the 2022 NBCUniversal upfront to hear all about what Season Eight has to offer.

Southern Charm - Season 8
Shep RoseStephanie Diani / Bravo

Personal drama is aplenty during the Charmers' latest season

Eight seasons in, Rose still stresses about what will be shown in the final cuts of the season’s episodes.

“When it comes out, we’re terrified. We’re like, oh, no, what are they gonna use? Let’s hope that they don’t use the things that are really embarrassing.” 

This season, Rose finds his way to the center of the drama with his girlfriend, Taylor Ann Green, as they navigate next steps in their relationship, with moments of tumult along the way. 

Rose explains, “We kind of had, I guess you could call it like a honeymoon season (in Season Seven). Like we just laughed, but of course, the layers of the onion were peeled back. And yeah, you worry about yourself, you worry about her. We just hope that the audience doesn’t tear us apart when it comes out basically.”

Romance is a huge topic this season, with Conover and DeSorbo taking their relationship down south for the season, conjuring opinions from all of the Charmers.

Craig Conover, Paige DeSorbo
Craig Conover and Paige DeSorbo have become a fan-favorite couple of many Bravo fans.Bravo

Rose shared that he feels they are a love match: “They’re kind of a lot alike. ... He’s like hey, what should we name our kids? And I’m like hey, you just met her last week, you idiot!”

But he noted the challenges that come from putting a relationship out on reality television: “There is a pressure, and it comes from all angles. Because, you know, your friends, classmates will inevitably have conversations about your relationship, and then they have opinions,” Rose explained. “And so you know, that’s happening, and you just don’t know what’s being said, and you’re trying to, like, maintain a semblance of normalcy.” 

Although we’re sure to see their relationship dramas play out all season, Kroll and Rose both noted that they’re not in a rush to walk down the aisle. 

Kroll responded, “My mother’s like, for the love of God, Austen, do not rush into anything.”

“You got to be careful and you got to be judicious, and I mean, I’m really happy at the moment.” Rose added.

Southern Charm - Season 8
Austen Kroll Stephanie Diani / Bravo

The drama will continue on two Bravo shows post-'Southern Charm'

Kroll found himself deep in drama during the last season of "Summer House," as his love triangle with Lindsay Hubbard and Ciara Miller catapulted the season into chaos — even when Kroll was hundreds of miles away.

Kroll recently wrapped filming Season Two of Bravo’s "Winter House" with Miller, and offered a tease as to what will come of their relationship.

Austen Kroll, Lindsay Hubbard.
Hubbard shared a controversial kiss with Kroll at a "Summer House" party to celebrate her birthday.Bravo

“It certainly was, like, a point of contention. You know, we hadn’t really talked too much prior to going into it. But I was confident that I was like, we’ll be fine, because we’re adults, and we can talk about it when we get there. And for the most part, you know, for the most part, it was very nice” Kroll explained.

Rose jumped in, “Would you say she was more emotional than you expected?”

“Wow Shep, are you the interviewer?” Kroll replied.

“Yes, yeah I am,” said Rose.

Kroll responded, “I wish I could dive in on that one. But yeah, you’ll see it. And there’s obviously like, a little bit of drama and tension that kind of happens. You’ll just have to watch.”

Ciara Miller, Austen Kroll.
Safe to say things were awkward between Miller and Kroll during Season Six of "Summer House" after their time together on the first season of "Winter House."Bravo

At the upfront, Bravo officially announced a new spinoff to "Southern Charm," "Southern Charm: Leva Land," featuring the ongoings at Charmer Leva Bonaparte’s Charleston establishments. Bonaparte owns several restaurants and bars in the heart of Charleston, setting the scene for a dynamic spinoff full of interesting characters. 

When asked if the pair would be making a cameo in the new show, Rose replied, “We were supposed to film with her when I was in Mexico. I wish her all the best. I don’t know how much more Charleston we can see. We’ve been everywhere, we’ve done eight seasons, so we’ve been to every restaurant, every possible activity. So it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”

Leva Bonaparte
Leva BonaparteBravo

Kroll added in, “The fact that she has four businesses on King Street. ... I’m sure there’ll be something interesting and juicy.”

Rose responded, “I would say the restaurant has a lot of a younger crowd, I think they’re dating.”

“So if I pop up on that show” Kroll quipped.

“No, you can’t, you’re overexposed” Rose responded.

With appearances on "Southern Charm," "Summer House," "Winter House" and Rose’s former dating show, "Relationshep," Kroll’s made his rounds with reality TV, but could a scripted drama be next?

Kroll said, “I’ll play a cop.”

“I’ll play the felon, that comes easier to me.” Rose responded.