Who Is Reagan Charleston? Meet the ‘Southern Charm: New Orleans’ Breakout Star (Exclusive)
By Brice Sander
Virginia Sherwood / Bravo
Grab a hurricane and some Mardi Gras beads, ‘cause it’s time to head to the Big Easy!
This Sunday, Bravo debuts the latest Southern Charm installment, Southern Charm: New Orleans, and ahead of the big premiere, ET caught up with the series’ breakout star, Reagan Charleston. Yes, she shares a last name with Southern Charm’s original city.
Reagan is a New Orleans native, and promises her city brings some spice to the franchise.
“New Orleans is bold and it’s vibrant, and the people are just the most interesting people I think that you’ll find, not just in the South, but in the country,” Reagan shares. “Our food is unique to New Orleans, our music is unique to New Orleans, our culture is literally unmatched and I think that my group of friends [embody] all of those fun things that people come from all over the world to see in the city.”
Reagan grew up in her family’s art galleries in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Her grandparents and her mother were all copper sculpture artists.
“I got to see, firsthand, unique and diverse people that make up the art scene in New Orleans,” she recalls. “That was something that I didn’t appreciate until I was adult. It was work. When you grow up in a family business, whether it’s art or law or otherwise, it’s work at the end of the day and, as a kid, I didn’t realize how cool it was that my babysitters were sculptors from around the world, who were coming in to shadow my grandparents.”
Reagan’s family history in the city dates back to the 1700s, and she claims to have roots from all over, citing relatives from France, Spain and even the islands, making her the perfect mix of what she calls “creole culture.” One of Reagan’s ancestors even invented the state drink of Louisiana, the Sazerac.
“Knowing that there’s a good reason I enjoy a good cocktail I think is fun, and makes me feel a little better, I guess?” she jokes.
The 30-year-old has followed somewhat in her family’s footsteps. While she doesn’t make copper sculptures, she is a jewelry designer -- and a soon-to-be lawyer!
“I wear many hats,” she notes. “I’m in my third year of law school. I’m graduating, I walk in May. I have loved law school, every second of it. I’m also a jewelry designer, I’m an artist. So, those things are, you think, polar opposites. But I think I’ve excelled in school because I’ve learned how to utilize that creative side of my brain that I’ve used for so many years with my jewelry business.”
Reagan, who married former NFL player Jeff Charleston in 2012, describes herself as “unabashedly honest” and promises Southern Charm: New Orleans will more than live up to the original series. Fun fact: Southern Charm star Whitney Sudler-Smith is one of the show’s producers!
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“We love Whitney,” Reagan gushes. “It’s such a wonderful group of people, we’re stepping into the Southern Charm family and it’s just so welcoming.”
Reagan says the New Orleans spinoff is “equally as fun, as funny and as honest” as the original show.
“You’re going to see the same [kind of] parties, excitement, the music,” she notes. “I mean, we match everything that’s exciting about Charleston, but then you get to add all the New Orleans flavor to the mix, and it’s just exceptional.”
“I think that my group of friends, we’re just so much fun,” Reagan adds. “We have exciting, diverse lives. Very different. We’re into so many different things, all of us … We just come from so many different backgrounds, and we’re constantly involved in so many different things that you wouldn’t necessarily expect that, why not reality TV?”