Paige DeSorbo reflects on season 7 of 'Summer House,' her relationship with 'Southern Charm's Craig Conover and her Giggly Squad brand.
"I have been doing this for five years, and I have no idea when we're filming how it’s gonna be perceived when it airs," she admits to ET. "So, it does make me a little sad when viewers are like, 'Oh this season's awful!' I'm like, oh god..."
Season 7 features the largest cast in Summer House history, with some housemates skipping weekends (and therefore an episode or two), and some appearing to age out of the show's set-up: a place to party and let off steam from hustling in the city.
"I still had a great time, and I still think there so many funny moments this season and so many relationships that have taken turns, and ups and downs, and that’s really what the show was about it’s about a group of friends -- and in real life, groups of friends have that," Paige notes.
Last summer proved to be one filled with growing pains for the long-time stars of the series; OG cast members Lindsay Hubbard and Carl Radke's relationship raced toward a soon-to-air engagement, creating a new dynamic for the larger cast to navigate. Lindsay's BFF, Danielle Olivera, struggled to find her place in Lindsay's life, and vice versa, as Carl took up more space. Kyle Cooke butted heads with Carl, his then-employee at canned cocktail company Loverboy, over Carl's commitment to the brand. The duo ultimately decided to part ways by year's end. So much of that drama played out off-camera, though; or, at least, outside the house.
"Our lives in the city really are so different, and I wish we showed more of that on Summer House," Paige reflects, noting she started an entire brand -- Giggly Squad -- with former co-star Hannah Berner. The two have been traveling the U.S. with live shows, which continue throughout the year, and have taken off on TikTok, where Emily Ratajkowski took notice of "some comedian girl," aka Hannah.
"We loved it," Paige gushes. "First of all, we love when Hannah gets trolled. It's so fun for us, but it was so crazy because Emily is super famous, so for her to see our TikToks and to know who we even were was such a star-struck moment."
"Emily could host Giggly Squad," she adds. "She could take the company from us and we'd say, OK, it's yours."
Paige is also dreaming up a Gwyneth Paltrow guest appearance after her viral ski trial in Utah.
"I'd love for her to come on the podcast and tell me that she wishes me well," she laughs.
Unfortunately, all that -- and a lot more -- has largely gone unmentioned on Summer House.
"The other girls are starting a podcast," she rattles off, referencing Mya Allen and Ciara Miller's new show, Co-Dependent. "Kyle and [Amanda Batula] have so many growing pains with Loverboy. I would love their office-- also, they have some of the funniest people working in their office -- so I think our lives in New York would be a great television show."
Paige is essentially in agreement with a vocal group of viewers, calling for a New York City-set spinoff or rebrand. On a recent episode of Summer House, Paige made it clear to boyfriend Craig Conover (who lives in Charleston, South Carolina, where he films Bravo's Southern Charm) that it was New York or nowhere for her... at least for the foreseeable future. She teared up at the thought of living far away from her family, emotions that shocked even her. Paige calls the conversation "one of the realest" she's had on reality TV.
"My mom was so nervous that I was gonna get so much online hate, because I was crying about leaving my mom and she was like, 'You don’t live with us.' Like, 'You haven’t lived with us for 10 years, don’t worry about it...'" Paige shares, "and I talked to my parents after and I said, 'What if I do have to move to Charleston and have children in a different state?' And my mom said, 'Do not worry about it. Wherever you go, I will come to you,' so that made me feel so much better."
"Craig and I are still together, and we still have the same conversations that we had over the summer, and we have only been dating for a year and a half," she adds. "I am only 30, and I’m just so focused on my career right now -- and he is so supportive of that -- and so it’s kind of like, when I’m ready, I’ll go on down to the South."
In the emotional moment, Craig called out Paige for loving the city more than she loves him.
"I definitely don’t love skyscrapers more than my boyfriend," she clarifies, "but I am very focused on my career, and I do get nervous that if I moved down to Charleston -- which is a little bit smaller of a city -- that I would lose myself a little, and I don’t want that to happen, and of course he wouldn’t want that to happen, either."
"They don’t have my facialist down there, what would I do?" she jokingly asks.
Paige and Craig "cheat long distance a little bit" thanks to their flexible schedules; Paige says they find a way to see each other every week and she's not applying any pressure to their future beyond that.
"I used to plan so much," she says. "I've stepped back from doing that, and kind of taking things a day at a time. You have no idea what can happen tomorrow, so it’s not like we have a set schedule, but of course being in a relationship, we get closer and closer and it is harder to be away now for longer."
While they spend more time together than ever before, Paige and Craig don't post much about each other on social media anymore.
"I have never really posted a boyfriend that much on Instagram, because I've always seen my Instagram for the girls," Paige explains. "It's outfits, it's Giggly Squad, it's funny things. Craig is FaceTiming on me all day, do I really need to see him on my Instagram, too? Like, you know, enough with him."
Paige suggests posting less was both a conscious and subconscious choice; the two faced a pile-on from haters in the early days of going public.
"You also open yourself up to so many opinions and comments, and being on three shows, all the opinions... I know all the comments," she adds. Still, she makes the most of them.
"I obviously like to make everything a joke, so whenever I see headlines of like, 'Oh my god, they hate each other. They're going to break up...' I always call Craig and say, 'Did you know we broke up two days ago? Why are you still calling me?'" she shares. "It's funny. It does bring us closer, and it is such a weird world that we're in. It's so nice to have someone that totally gets it and doesn't get annoyed by random headlines we know aren't true."
Those three shows Paige mentioned would be Summer House, Southern Charm and Winter House. She and Craig missed out on filming the third season of that last one.
"Southern Charm was filming at exactly the same time and so, we just couldn't make it work, but I hear -- from what I hear from the Summer House cast that has been there -- it sounds good," she teases. It's rumored season 3 involves the extended Bravo universe, with alumni from Family Karma and the Below Deck franchise joining select Summer House stars.
"Look, Austen did enough during Southern Charm filming that I had zero FOMO during Winter House," Paige adds. "I was too engulfed in other drama."
Austen would be Austen Kroll, Craig's bestie and podcast partner, who caused drama across franchises after finding himself entangled with both Summer House's Lindsay and Ciara. His latest dalliance hits closer to home; he apparently hooked up with Shep Rose's ex and co-star, Taylor Ann Green, just after filming their season 8 reunion last fall.
"He loves a love triangle and we love that for television," Paige quips. "We really do, we love Austen on reality TV. He's perfect for it, he always gets himself in some sort of mess."
"I wasn't aware until we were actually filming and I heard some speculation of it," she clarifies. "It's just so, so nutty. It's so crazy, but that's Charleston."
Paige says she's "definitely on a lot more" of Southern Charm's upcoming ninth season than she was last year, seeing as she's "just naturally down there a lot more." She says she found friendship with Austen's exes, Madison LeCroy and Olivia Flowers, over the course of filming.
"I am kind of starting my own social circle in Charleston, and it feels good to know that it's not all Craig's friends, that I have some of my own friends, too," she remarks.
It's not a huge surprise that Paige would align herself with two outspoken women. She's never been one to shy away from voicing her opinion, even if it can lead to a little backlash. This season on Summer House, some have labeled her a "mean girl," claiming she stoked the fire in Lindsay and Danielle's feud, encouraging Danielle to stand up to Lindsay.
"I honestly think people think I'm a lot smarter than I am, which I love that for me," she cracks. "I think it’s so insulting to the other girls that like I can manipulate their brain, because -- as we know -- I don't do much. Like, I love lying in bed. So if people think I'm that smart at manipulating, I will take it, because the people around me know that I never know what’s going on."
Viewers also toss the labels "lazy" and "bed girl" at Paige, who owns them proudly. She's also not offended by some referring to her, Amanda and Ciara as the "bedsore girls," given how much they like to lounge.
"I kind of love that," she beams. "That is kind of accurate. I think I would like to put a spin on it and just be like 'bed bugs,' and that’s a podcast that someone should start."
Paige sat down with ET just ahead of filming the Summer House reunion, at which both Lindsay and Danielle had said they'd aim to make peace, or at least progress. Paige says there's years of history between the two women that's gone unnoticed by viewers, as tension between them has largely been left on the cutting room floor.
"You only get 45 minutes each Monday; they don't know the depth of their relationship and of their friendship," she says. "I think maybe each summer, when a little scuffle has been left out, then yeah, the viewers are like, 'But we didn't ever see them fight...' But because I've spent five summers with them now, I've seen their relationship at their deepest point. I've seen little snafus that don't make it onto camera, and they were so close -- I mean they hung out all the time -- so there’s a lot of underlying things that the viewer never got to see that the two of them know about."
Paige was hopeful Lindsay and Danielle would "get to some type of agreement" by reunion's end to "move forward," energy she also wanted to trickle down throughout the group.
"My first two summers after reunions, we were all still friends," she says. "We would all still go get a drink after, and then the past couple reunions, we all didn’t hang out after. We all didn’t see each other. So, I’m hoping after this reunion, everyone can kind of agree to disagree and then we can go have a cocktail, because we are a group of friends, you know? We're different from Housewives. We see each other on random days. We're in multiple group chats with each other, and I think that’s really what the show is about."