Shep Rose & Craig Conover Preview Southern Charm Season 8 - Exclusive Interview

"Southern Charm" is returning to Bravo for another season of drama, romantic entanglements, and chaotic friendships. The series chronicles the lives of Southern socialites living in Charleston, South Carolina, and Season 8 is bringing back familiar faces like Naomie Olindo, Venita Aspen, Kathryn Dennis, Craig Conover, Shep Rose, and Austen Kroll.

Conover and Rose sat down for an exclusive interview with The List to discuss the show. Going into this season, Rose is getting more serious with his long-term girlfriend Taylor Ann Green at the same time that Conover has just made things official with Paige DeSorbo of "Summer House." During their interview, the reality stars discussed the pressures that being filmed puts on their relationships as well as other challenges they faced while filming the series. They opened up about moments they've wanted to leave "Southern Charm," strains on the friendship between the two of them, as well as the bonds that keep them coming back each season.

The biggest changes this season

Over the years on the show, you guys have gone through a lot of changes with relationships, your careers, and everything. What do you feel like has been the biggest change going into this season?

Craig: I've never had a career. I've never been successful in anything on "Southern Charm" before this year. I was lollygagging around and trying to find myself. This is the first season where I'm actually on a path to somewhere.

Shep: It was entering year two or a year and a half into my relationship. That was a thing that we were going through. We were going into filming, and I was like, "Okay. Here we go. Let's see how this works." It was up and down, that's for sure, but we survived.

Then, how were you feeling, Craig, like you said, with your career taking off, having your shop open, and everything like that?

Craig: It feels like a dream. It's a very warm feeling. People are so positive about it. I couldn't be happier that it worked out the way it did. To share that with everyone ... Because a lot of people rooted for me throughout the years, and they were like, "Please don't make us wrong. Don't make us look like idiots for supporting you, even though it's taken so long." I'm happy that I can show that taking the not-so-clear path and taking a very strange path can also work out well.

How the show affects their relationships

As you mentioned, you're going into the ... Did you say the second year of your relationship on the show?

Shep: Around there, yeah.

How do you feel like having your life on camera affects your relationships?

Shep: It can be quite daunting. I never really had to deal with that pressure and anxiety in [Seasons 1 through] 6. I would even say 7 because we had just started dating. It was definitely uncharted waters, and there were some bumpy waves.

Craig: It's a stressor. It's a very difficult thing that we do when it comes to relationships –

Shep: – because everyone wants to peel back the onions and see what's underneath. Turns out that when you do that, it makes you cry because onions make you cry.

Craig: Happiness, sometimes, isn't good for business, especially around our friends. It's challenging. If you can push through it, it's good.

Shep: You almost feel like you're in the cross hairs. That's an uncomfortable feeling to have. It can cause you to do stupid things.

Craig, you were on the opposite end because you just made things official with Paige [Desorbo] at the start of this season. Did you have anxiety about her coming on the show?

Craig: No, I was actually excited. I mean, I'm fortunate that she does this. She's in the business too. I was really excited to show her "Southern Charm" because I've done her style of filming so much that I was like, "Come see how we do it, too." It was exciting to share with her. Like Shep said, you're in the cross hairs. As fun as it is to share, it's still a vulnerable feeling to be in a relationship during "Southern Charm." This is the first time that you get to see us officially dating because, on the other shows, we were still trying to figure it out, so that's good.

Big surprises in store this season

Do you feel like, over the years, you've gotten used to being on camera and living your life like that? Or does it still ever feel strange while you're shooting?

Shep: It doesn't feel strange. We're used to it. It probably took a season and a half.

Craig: We would be better at protecting ourselves if we realized the cameras are there, but what you see is what you get.

Shep: I feel like we're pretty darn good at what we do. That's being ourselves. That's also realizing a situation that's developing, realizing how to approach it, and being as real and honest as you can. Even if that means it hurts someone's feelings, that's what we have to do and what we should do. We're not trying to hide anything. There are not secret alliances or anything like that. I hope that comes through because this is ... We're not actors. We're doing it. Real.

Do you think that honesty and how real it is what attracts fans the show?

Craig: I think so.

Shep: 100%.

Craig: If we weren't as transparent as we were, we wouldn't still be on because that crazy stuff is what brings people back. There's a lot of it this season.

Shep: In the beginning, what drew people in was the friendships and the honesty and the closeness because we didn't know each other all that well, necessarily, when it started. You actually get to see friendships develop and all that stuff. People enjoyed that. That mixed with the beautiful backdrop of Charleston and a part of [that] world, people were interested in how it works. Craig was talking about "Jersey Shore." People from around the country and beyond were like, "What the hell is going on in Jersey Shore?" They have that much curiosity about the South and especially Charleston.

Do you think there's anything on this season that viewers will be excited to see?

Shep: Yeah.

Craig: Yes. Yes.

Shep: There's one big romance that we can't tell you about, but it's going to blow everyone's mind.

Craig: Everyone's minds. Yeah.

Shep: It's going to be good.

Craig: I don't think you've seen it in a while, but the guys really have some fun times. Me, Shep, and Austin have our friendship. Once we work through some stuff, we find ourselves again, and we laugh. Good old laughter. Hopefully, you get to see some of that.

Their concerns about the new season

With the new season coming out, do you ever worry about what parts will be in the show or how you'll be perceived or that kind of thing?

Shep: Yes. Yes.

Craig: That's why I said I hope you get to see the laughter.

Shep: It's cool and all, but it's definitely nerve-wracking because it's not like I didn't do what I did or [say] what I said. It's just how focused will it be and what scope will be on there.

Craig: They only have 46 minutes, and sometimes the context that we would appreciate ... They don't care about.

Shep: Sometimes, not all sides of the story are taken into account.

Craig: It comes with the territory.

Shep: We wish we could have a "Truman Show" style.

Craig: I thought that too, at one point. Well, if it was completely unfettered, but .... That's one of the stresses.

What would you say is the most challenging part of being on the show?

Shep: It's right now. No offense to you, but it's right before things are getting cranked up on TV. Each week, you're going to have a chatter online about this, and "I can't believe this happened," and it retreads a lot of the stuff that is in the past, which is okay, but it also can be painful.

Craig: You'll see this season there's a lot of conflict and conflict resolution. What it does — and some people handle it better than others — it brings all of that conflict back to light, and some people get sensitive again about it. You're like, "We already worked through this." Reliving some of those crazy things that we already lived can be tough too.

Shep: We don't learn lessons all that well, Craig and I. We're slow. We're plodding along.

Have they ever thought of leaving Southern Charm?

Have there ever been any points where you thought about leaving the show or "I don't want to do reality TV anymore?"

Shep: Yes, absolutely — about 20 times during this season, being like, "I can't do this again. I cannot do this again." It's funny. Time heals everything, and then when it rolls back around, the opportunity to potentially do another season, you forget about all the stuff that made you [think that way].

Craig: We definitely all scream that we would never do it again, but we're all still here.

Shep: We'll see.

Craig: I wouldn't change a thing, though. I really love the life that we've gotten to share together because of the show, but there are some dark moments for me this season where I'm like, "It's not worth it anymore." You either feel ganged up on or ... It happens to everyone, but you get to see all of that, which is good because there's really no hiding.

Shep: There's a black SUV outside going to take me to the airport in a little while. I'm way too cheap in real life to be able to do that. It's amazing. There's a guy when you land with your name on a thing, just like in the movies. It's crazy. I don't regret it.

What would you say is the main thing that makes all of that worth it and makes you keep coming back for the seasons?

Shep: It's the stuff that happens when we're not filming. It's getting to meet these people, people that you might even really admire, and they, for some reason, like your show. It's a trip. [We] get to go to LA. We get to maybe go backstage at a concert or something like that.

Craig: When we get to spend the time together is great. Filming really brings us together. We all see each other anyway, but [it's] fun. We've done a lot of cool stuff from it.

"Southern Charm" Season 8 premieres with a supersized episode tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.

This interview has been edited for clarity.