‘Southern Hospitality: Joe Bradley Reveals Why Leva Gave Him a ‘Slap on the Wrist’ & a Promotion [Exclusive]

As excited as Joe Bradley was to be promoted to Republic’s VIP Manager on Southern Hospitality, he started the new gig with a slap on the wrist.

Republic owner Leva Bonaparte’s big rule was that managers couldn’t date (or hook up with) anyone on staff. And Bradley blew that rule almost immediately.

“I don’t know if kissing Mia on the Jumbotron when I got my promotion was the right thing,” he laughed during an interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “Charleston’s a really small town. Leva actually saw it. She’s like that’s your one slap on the wrist. It is so complicated. I’m really excited for everyone to see what happens later on. We learn some lessons and move forward, but it definitely gets a little complicated.”

Joe Bradley reflects on a ‘confusing summer’ on ‘Southern Hospitality’

Bradley started a romance with hostess Mia Alario, almost in an effort to push his feelings aside for Maddi Reese. Bradley was falling for Reese – someone he considered to be one of his best friends – but she had gotten back together with her boyfriend.

Leva Bonaparte, Maddi Reese, Joe Bradley chat at the bar on 'Southern Hospitality'
Leva Bonaparte, Maddi Reese, Joe Bradley |Jeff Gentner/Bravo

“I think this summer was a very confusing time for me,” Bradley reflected. “I think I was trying to get my mind off a lot of things with Maddi. But at the same time, my feelings for Maddi were kind of fading and there are some pretty girls that I work with, too.”

“And it’s a confusing thing. It’s like my dad always told me to never dip your pen in the company ink,” he laughed. “But I don’t think a lot of other companies are going on boats every day and going on vacations with their coworkers. So working with your best friends definitely complicates things. And I just feel like Mia made me feel really comfortable and she’s gorgeous. So I thought I would see where this goes.”

Was being promoted an easy transition for Joe Bradley?

Bradley recognized he was already viewed as a leader at Republic and the new title made it official. “Maddi is the manager of the servers, and I became kind of the leader of all the hosts,” he explained.

“I think everyone looked at me like that before the promotion. But the promotion was a big moment to where it was official,” Bradley said. “And that gave me that extra mojo to become a leader. I’ve never had a managerial position in my life, so that was probably the biggest challenge starting off.”

“But it wasn’t a black-and-white transition. It was just kind of like, this is my title,” he said. “And it was a level of respect that everyone kind of gave me, which was a great feeling.”

The management job was the first promotion Joe ever asked for on ‘Southern Hospitality’

Asking for the promotion was the hardest part of it all, Bradley said. “It was really hard for me with that. Leva and [husband] Lamar have so much going on in their lives and they have hundreds of employees. The winter leading up to that, I got a big award at our holiday party. Like little things, and I just kept wanting to prove to them,” he shared.

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“But I never have been the person that asked for a promotion or asked for money. But Leva is very adamant. She goes, I know someone deserves it when they want it enough to ask for it. Like, I deserve this. This is my time,” he said. “So she kind of has a different business tactic than a lot of people, and I think I was just sitting there waiting for it.”

“But she was like, ‘Hey, kid, send that email.’ So that’s why that email was so lengthy,” he recalled. “I was like sitting right over there writing. And was calling my brother, calling my dad, and I was just kind of overthinking it. I think in reality I should have written a short one and said I want to meet and I should have done it in person. But it was really cool to just kind of put my thoughts in the email and go for it. I’ve never asked for a promotion or asked for a raise or anything like that, but you can earn [Leva’s] respect by doing that.”

Southern Hospitality is on Monday at 9 pm ET on Bravo.