'It was a blast': 'Southern Charm' star and Hilton Head Island native Shep Rose reflects on show

eshaw@islandpacket.comApril 19, 2014 

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Hilton Head Island native Shep Rose, star of "Southern Charm," which has its finale at 10 p.m. April 21 on Bravo.

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    The "Southern Charm" finale is at 10 p.m. April 21 on Bravo. "Secrets Revealed," the lost-footage episode, will air at 10 p.m. April 28.

Monday night marks the finale of Bravo TV's freshman series "Southern Charm," a reality show that created a buzz around the Lowcountry, where it was filmed.

The show followed six singles living in Charleston and promised to offer a peek behind the curtain at how the city's genteel, wealthy elite live.

Whether the cast was genteel or charming, though, is up for debate, with many people dismissing the show as a poor representation of Charleston, even before the first episode aired.

Charlestonians were especially up in arms over the cast selection -- only one cast member, disgraced politician Thomas Ravenel, is actually from the Holy City.

For "Charm" star and Hilton Head Island native Shep Rose, though, the show was a decidedly positive experience.

"It was a blast, and I think it was harmless," Rose said.

Rose and castmates Cameran Eubanks, Jenna King, Craig Conover, Whitney Sudler-Smith and Ravenel were hated and heralded on social media throughout the show's seven previous episodes although Rose and Eubanks were generally fan favorites.

On the show, Rose was a lovable ladies' man, unapologetic about his freewheeling ways and admittedly suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome, or a refusal to grow up and settle down. He also didn't seem to have a job, listing his occupation as "raconteur" on his Bravo profile. Rose, 34, was often a provider of comic relief when other castmates stirred up conflict and drama.

"My goal was to come off as my usual affable self. That's me, man. What you saw is how I act around my mom, my grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends," Rose said.

While Rose received praise for his charm and good looks, viewers were quick to criticize Conover's Northern tendencies, Sudler-Smith's living with his mother and Ravenel's salacious relationship with Kathryn Dennis, a woman 29 years his junior.

Refreshingly, the cast seemed to accept their ribbings, often laughing at themselves on their created-for-the-show Twitter handles.

When someone tweeted at Ravenel, "you define everything that is wrong with politics grow up and go away," his tongue-and-cheek response was "I'm not going anywhere. Sorry for your luck."

For Rose, social media interaction was his favorite outcome of the show.

"It's tremendously fun," he said. "It's an outlet to be funny, maybe even a little insightful now and then."

He did have to learn the ins and outs of the various platforms, however.

"I didn't realize that on Twitter, when you follow someone back, they can send you all sorts of messages and pictures," he added. "Now I keep it very surface."

Post-"Southern Charm," Rose is pursuing multiple business ventures, including opening a restaurant and bar on the East Side.

Ravenel and Dennis, who became romantically involved on the show and provided most of the season's fodder, welcomed a baby girl in March. Their age difference was a point of contention for many viewers, yet the two continued to date after the show. The couple recently returned to Charleston from Palm Beach, Fla., where their daughter, Kensington Calhoun Ravenel, was born.

Conover is finishing law school at Charleston School of Law, and King is in L.A. dating Ronnie Radke, the lead singer of hardcore band Falling in Reverse.

Eubanks, the show's narrator and often voice of reason, was married last weekend.

A second season is possible, Rose said, depending on how the last episode's ratings come in.

The series averaged around 915,000 total viewers, according to Neilsen Media Research.

For the last two weeks, the show exceeded 1 million viewers, perhaps just in time for a renewal.

If the show does get a second season, Rose said he would buy a house in Charleston, possibly from Eubanks, who is pursuing a real estate career.

"Whether there's a Season Two or not, I'm proud of the final product."

Follow reporter Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.

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