Craig Conover From ‘Southern Charm’ Says He Is Heartbroken Over the Destruction in the Bahamas (Exclusive)
When Craig Conover appeared on Southern Charm this season, Cameran Eubanks could tell something was different about the lawyer turned entrepreneur.
She remarked how Conover looked so refreshed she joked about ditching her husband and running away with him instead. Indeed, Conover did have an aura surrounding him this season. The reason? He found his “happy place” … the Bahamas.
Last year, Conover was at a low point living in Charleston. But a chance opportunity from Whitney Sudler-Smith took him to Bimini. From there he ventured to Marsh Harbour. That’s where he found inspiration to create his booming new company, Sewing Down South and where he got his “groove back.”
Craig Conover’s company was born in the Bahamas
Conover’s professional life meandered during previous seasons of Southern Charm. He became an attorney but kept going back to sewing. He also hit a personal low point when he and girlfriend Naomie Olindo broke up.
“Charleston is such a small social circle,” he told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in April. “After being here like 12 years I felt like I couldn’t break out of these walls around me. Plus I just wasn’t meeting anyone who wasn’t connected to my ex and it just wasn’t the best atmosphere to allow me to move on.”
When Sudler-Smith suggested Conover meet him in Bimini, he thought it was a good opportunity to hit the reset button. “Whitney called me and said he was casting a new show and asked me to come down to Bimini,” Conover said. “While I was in the Bahamas I really started to find some inspiration. I borrowed a sewing machine from friends and just started to design stuff.”
He returned to the States, but the magical island chain was never far from his mind. He eventually returned, introducing Shep Rose and Austen Kroll to the lush paradise. The friends posted pictures with the famous swimming pigs of Abaco island, enjoyed the salty air, and bathed in the sumptuous sunshine.
Complete destruction in Dorian’s wake
To say Conover is heartbroken over the devastation left in Hurricane Dorian’s wake is an understatement. “The first few days were focused on getting people out,” Conover said in a new interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “Human nature took over and it kind of turned into a war zone. And it’s a lot worse and uglier than anyone will ever hear about.” He adds his best friends, including manager Anna-Heyward Smith Hegamyer and her husband, are safely back in the States too.
He noted the lawlessness that initially occurred after the storm seems to be better under control. Conover also says he’s heard stories of tremendous heroics during the storm too. “It definitely sounds like there were a lot of heroes during the storm, but it really sucks right now,” he says. “But today when I saw the news and weather it had a different feeling now that I knew everyone is safe. There’s that feeling of sadness because there’s nothing left. Its complete destruction.”
Conover adds, “Now I can see the places where I took my parents and when Shep and Austen came down. And everything’s gone. It’s a bummer because it was an amazing, magical place and a ton of memories. But I also became family with a lot of people on the island and it’s heartbreaking for them because they don’t have jobs or their schools. Unfortunately a lot of the animals I became friends with didn’t make it, which is really sad too. It’ll take years and years to [rebuild], but they are in high spirits. It just really sucks.” He adds the eye went directly by a lodge owned by one of his friends.
He’s ready to help when possible
Conover immediately sprung into action, donating 100% of the proceeds from his special Spiny Lobster pillow to relief efforts. He quickly raised $5,000, which is up to $15,000 in three days he reports. “It’s been very well received so fortunately, I have this one degree of separation from the island so I’m being pointed in the right direction to the right 501 (c)(3)s.”
As much as he’d love to run down to help, he knows he needs to have patience. “Right now if you try to go down to help you’d be just getting in the way. In a week or two when my buddy gives me the green light, whenever I’m welcome to come help, I’d love to. I’d like to go see it and help them rebuild.” He’s also thinking about venturing down to Florida to shop at a warehouse club and help load up a container to send too.