Eliza Limehouse knows she got off on the wrong foot with the Southern Charm gang.
"Oh my gosh, it was like a lion’s den," Eliza admits to ET. "It was awful."
The 23-year-old made her debut as an official Southern Charm cast member on last week’s season premiere, accompanying Shep Rose to Patricia Altschul’s dinner party, the first all-cast gathering of season six. From the second she stepped inside the Isaac Jenkins Mikell House, Eliza received a cold reception from Kathryn Dennis. After an awkward dinner, some of the Charmers sat Eliza down to tell her to pull back on, essentially, being herself.
"I’m damned if I do, I’m damned if I don’t," Eliza laments. "If I’m myself, and I’m nice and I’m funny and I’m talking to people, I’m trying too hard. But if I don’t talk, I look like a b***h, you know what I mean? So, I’m kind of screwed either way. That’s kind of how I felt with the group when I walked in, and then that gives a pack mentality."
After Cameran Eubanks and Shep Rose’s micro-intervention with Eliza, she attempted to apologize to Kathryn for bringing up Kathryn’s ex, Thomas Ravenel, multiple times at the party. Eliza says she didn’t realize how many times she brought up the one-time politician, who shares two children with Kathryn, 5-year-old Kensie and 3-year-old Saint. The former couple is currently in the middle of a tense custody battle over their kids.
"It’s just, like, awkward," Eliza says of her dynamic with Kathryn.
Eliza and Thomas have history, too; their families have known each other for generations. In fact, Eliza says she considers Thomas to be like a "crazy uncle." She previously appeared on season four of Southern Charm, discussing Kathryn’s sobriety with Thomas. Thomas is no longer a cast member on Southern Charm for various reasons, but Eliza’s connection to him will be a point of contention within the group, seemingly, all season. Eliza is also friendly with Kathryn’s cousin, Shelby, whom Kathryn no longer speaks with, though it’s unclear why.
"This group of friends, if you’ve noticed, it’s like a bandwagon," Eliza surmises. "If somebody’s mad, everybody jumps on the bandwagon, ‘cause everybody don’t want to be in the hot seat. There’s always gotta be a kick the cat. I was the cat."
Eliza likens joining the cast of Southern Charm to starting high school; she’s a freshman, and the rest of the cast is full of seniors. Eliza says she is able to make inroads with everyone, even having Kathryn “warm up to me” at one point… but things get complicated once Eliza brings the cast’s sworn enemy, Ashley Jacobs, around. Ashley, Thomas’ on-again, off-again girlfriend, was, essentially, the “villain” of season five.
"So Ashley, I hadn’t seen her in a long time, ever since season five had gotten filmed," Eliza explains. "She seemed super sweet, nice, and bubbly and fun."
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“I hadn’t seen her since all that had gone down, her calling Kathryn names and fights,” she adds, admitting she didn’t watch Southern Charm before joining the cast. “I’m the only person who she hadn’t ticked off … She came to me and said, 'I want a second chance, I want to gain Kathryn’s forgiveness, trust back,’ or whatever, ‘And I want to apologize.’ And I was like, you know what? The Bible says you gotta forgive in order to be forgiven, so I’m gonna give you that. So, I’m the vessel of forgiveness. So I tried, didn’t go as planned.”
“The vessel sank within two seconds,” she jokes. “I tried. I gave her the opportunity to apologize … I didn’t know she has problems with, basically, every cast member. I didn’t know. I wouldn’t have even stepped foot into that chaos if I had known.”
“I think Ashley means well,” Eliza continues. “I still think everybody’s got a heart underneath, and I think she is a nice person at heart, but I think she hasn’t forgiven herself [for her actions].”
“I think she really needs to figure out what she wants out of all this, if anything,” she says.
ET met up with Eliza at her family’s estate, Airy Hall Plantation, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. (The property itself is famous, having been used as a filming location for The Notebook!) Eliza claims her family has been in Charleston since, basically, its founding, longer than the Ravenels.
"We already have a huge family, we’re from here, we’ve been in business, politics, we have so much chaos, it’s not much different adding reality TV to the already chaotic family," she shares. "You can’t fart in this family without 10 people knowing on your group text chain."
If it's not clear, the recent college grad is full of energy, can speak a mile a minute and likes to keep busy. Eliza trains horses for polo, which she also plays, helps run her family’s hotel and real estate businesses, and is an entrepreneur in her own right, with jewelry and candle lines, among other endeavors. She hopes Southern Charm fans don’t write her off for the Ashley of it all.
"I hope they know I am just trying to do good with these people, and that they gotta give me some slack," she says. "I want to be your friend, there’s no ulterior motive."
"I also just got through crazy stuff in my life personally, not just with the cast," she shares. "My parents just got a divorce, I just graduated college a year early, I’m running all these businesses, I lost four [polo] horses back to back. I’ve gone through a lot of stuff and so, I think, if the cast knew all this, they would have been easier on me."
"Everybody is also so weary, you’re constantly watching your back and they think by me being nice and sincere and trying to let Ashley apologize, trying to be nice to Kathryn, even though with those issues, they take that wrong," Eliza continues. "Like, I am doing something sneaky and, really, I’m just like, hey, here I am."
Get to know Eliza better on season six of Southern Charm. New episodes air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.