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Craig Conover Won ‘Southern Charm’ in 2023: His Best TV Moments

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Craig Conover has come a long way since his reality TV debut in 2014. His evolution during season 9 — and his hilarious one-liners — make him the unsung hero of Southern Charm in 2023.

Craig’s transformation has been apparent since the September premiere. “[I] started to get healthier and cut my drinking and try to be a little less reactive,” Craig, 34, exclusively told Us after the season began, noting he’s transformed. “Fortunately, I’ve grown up a little bit, so my behavior has changed, hopefully for the better, but it’s just me being myself.”

Craig’s new outlook on filming has also led to an overall happier lifestyle, which his castmates have noticed. “It’s hard to ever feel bad for Craig because, Craig’s, like, kinda perfect,” Jarrett “JT” Thomas said during a November episode of the Bravo series.

Craig isn’t always perfect, but he did continually bring the laughs this season. Case and point: When Craig told the cameras why he was convinced that pal Austen Kroll was lying about hooking up with Taylor Ann Green.

Related: Southern Charm’s Austen Kroll, Craig Conover’s Friendship Ups and Downs

Southern Charm fans have seen many friendships come and go on the series, but when Austen Kroll joined the cast in season 4, his instant bond with Craig Conover was hard to miss. Conover quickly connected with Kroll in 2016 when he started filming with the Charleston, South Carolina, residents. Unlike most of the original […]

“You only have to watch a handful of spy movies to know if you look down and to the left that means you’re lying,” Craig claimed with a straight face during a September clip after noticing Austen’s body language. “Watch any show where there’s an interrogation and they’ll talk about it. It’s based off something!” (Austen, 36, and Taylor, 28, later confessed to kissing after previously denying it.)

Scroll down to see why Craig is Southern Charm’s 2023 MVP:

1. He’s a Hopeless Romantic

During a boys’ trip to North Carolina, Craig got excited after learning that his BFF Austen was abstaining from sex for two months. “This could be the start of a great rom-com,” Craig exclaimed. “Like, you meet the right girl, but you’re like, ‘I have to wait two months still.’ Then the big night finally comes!”

2. He Became a Style Star — With Paige’s Help

Craig has upgraded his wardrobe from Charleston frat boy to a sophisticated businessman. Even though the Pillow Talk author still wears a lot of pastels, which his girlfriend, Paige DeSorbo, usually shies away from, his style is much more adult.

3. He Wasn’t Afraid to Call Out Shep and Austen

The biggest drama from season 9 stemmed from Austen kissing Shep Rose’s ex-girlfriend Taylor just months after they split in 2022. Austen, meanwhile, was fresh off a breakup with costar Olivia Flowers, who was close with Taylor at the time.

As the drama played out, Craig became the voice of reason. “I’m not preachy with you ever, but you know my theory on spending time with exes,” Craig told Austen during a sitdown, warning him to keep his distance from Olivia, 31.

Elsewhere in the same November episode, Craig slammed Shep, 43, and Austen for not being honest with each other about the Taylor scandal. “No, you didn’t choose to be a gentleman. You chose to be like, ‘I don’t how the f–k to deal with this right now, because one of my best friends hooked up with my ex,’” Craig told Shep during a group dinner. “You are a lot angrier than how you let off.”

Craig confessed that he had “some serious s–t against” what Austen did to Shep, but noted that Shep “burying” his feelings about the betrayal was making things worse. Craig alleged that both Shep and Austen were “burying s–t because they’re boys and they don’t talk about their feelings.”

Related: ‘Southern Charm’ Kids: A Guide to the Cast’s Little Ones

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4. His Desire to Be a Dad Is Too Cute

“I want that story book life. I do want the white picket fence,” Craig confessed during a November episode, noting he was ready to “be engaged” to Paige, 31, by the end of 2023. “I just want to make sure we continue to trend in that direction.”

Craig explained that his “future always consisted of a family with kids,” which led to him questioning whether Paige is worth the wait. “What do I want more? Do I want to be with Paige and be patient to eventually have that family with her? Or do I want the family so bad that I’m going to leave the love of my life?” he pondered, before confirming that he doesn’t want kids with someone he doesn’t love.

“Paige is 30 and when we talk about this stuff, usually she’s like, ‘Well, I’ll have kids at 35.’ Five years from now, I’ll be 40,” Craig told the cameras. “My biological clock is ticking.”

5. His Sewing Empire Is Thriving

Craig launched Sewing Down South in 2019 after being ridiculed for his sewing by ex-girlfriend Naomie Olindo on season 5. “Sewing Down South has grown exponentially,” he explained during a September scene, noting that he started in his house before expanding to online sales, a flagship store and most recently a warehouse. “Move over Martha Stewart, I’m here to stay!” he declared.

6. He Stood By His Outlandish Theories, No Matter the Backlash

“Do you think panda bears are real? I really wanted them to be real,” Craig revealed while hanging out with the guys in a November episode. When the group asked why Craig doesn’t think the animal is real, he replied, “There’s just no evidence of it.” Craig later told the cameras, “Pandas definitely aren’t real. They are people in panda suits.”

Craig once again shared his theories on how the world works during their trip to Jamaica, telling Madison LeCroy that the best way to get rid of hiccups was to say, “I’m not a fish.” He explained, “Hiccups come from the fact that we evolved from fish. We used to breathe underwater and they forget [we are] not fish.” Madison, 33, followed his instructions, but surprisingly it didn’t work.

7. He’s a True ‘90s Kid at Heart

Craig showed off his moves during a trip to Jamaica after revealing he wanted to learn how the locals danced. “I love dancing. I remember watching YouTube videos trying to learn how to dance like Justin Bieber,” he said during a December scene. “I probably started with, like, ‘NSync, then Usher and Justin Bieber.”

8. He Was the Ultimate Host During the Group’s Jamaica Trip

The gang’s tropical getaway was dramatic from start to finish, but Craig kept everyone’s spirits up as he organized one fun activity after the other. The best part was that he had dress codes for each occasion. “Adventure chic is the theme tomorrow with a swimming aspect to it,” he told his friends during a November episode before they headed out to see waterfalls.

9. He Is in Love and He Doesn’t Care Who Knows It

Throughout the season, fans got a better glimpse into Paige and Craig’s romance in Charleston. Craig, who has been dating Paige since 2021, also gave more insight into his feelings toward her during his confessionals, sharing in an October episode that “Paige has the attitude and energy of a Yankee, we’ll say. … She’s feisty!”

In a separate clip, Craig revealed why he thinks Paige and costar Madison became fast friends. “Paige loves Madison, actually, because they’re both fiery as heck sometimes,” he teased. “But see, I love fire. I love fireworks. As long as it doesn’t blow up in my face, I enjoy it.”

During a December scene, Craig gushed to the cameras about his girlfriend, saying, “I’m so appreciative that I have someone that I get along with and that I love. All that matters is that I’m happy and she’s supportive of me.”

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