Kathryn Calhoun Dennis has always had big shoes to fill. The granddaughter of legendary South Carolina senator Rembert C. Dennis, Kathryn initially felt compelled to uphold the family legacy by pursuing a law degree. She quickly realized that political life wasn’t for her—a sentiment perhaps influenced by her stormy relationship with politician Thomas Ravenel. The Southern Charm star is clearly focused on family and her future, now raising two children as a single mom and pledging to live a sober lifestyle. She opened up about her real estate ambitions, the struggle of single motherhood, and the power of handwritten notes. Put the good ole boys club on notice—Kathryn is coming for you!
Cliché: You come from a very politically prominent family. Do you ever feel pressure to uphold that legacy?
Kathryn Calhoun Dennis: Absolutely. My grandfather was a senator and I’ve always admired him and what he did for the state of South Carolina. I felt like I needed to pursue a law degree and get into politics in order to continue the Dennis legacy. Our family was known for truly helping people and I was so proud of that. But now I realize there are so many other opportunities to help people and make a big impact without having to go the political route. Politics don’t always bring out the best in people and I prefer to make my own path.
You’re only 25 and you’ve navigated most of your young adult years on television. How do you hold up under the scrutiny of public opinion?
In the beginning, being on television took a toll on me. I didn’t know what I was signing up for. Once I became a mother, things changed for the best. My children became my focus and nothing else matters. My goal is to become the best mom and to make my children proud. All of my struggles have given me the best platform to show other women that even after you fall you can get back up and kick ass.
You’ve also recently committed yourself to living a drug and alcohol free lifestyle. What prompted you to make this change?
I didn’t want anything to cloud my vision while I’m trying to navigate through all the chaos in my life. At this time it’s what is best for me and my kids.
What motivates you to stay sober?
My kids, Kensie and Saint.
Now that you are sober, what do you hope to accomplish?
Now that I’m out of my toxic relationship, I’m focusing on my future and my brand. I start real estate school in July and I’ve partnered with my best friend Jaime Huffman to launch our own business. Jaime and I are both young moms with big dreams and ambitions, so we are the ultimate team. We are two girl bosses that are ready to take over the south because—yes—the good ole boy’s system is dead.
You share two adorable children with your ex Thomas Ravenel. How is co-parenting going? Are there any challenges you didn’t anticipate?
Honestly, it is tough. I want to give a shout out to all mothers and especially my fellow single mothers because this is the hardest job on Earth. We should all be proud. The hardest challenge has been maintaining a normal schedule and routine, and that’s something I’m working really hard at right now.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
The purity of a child’s love for their mother. It is complete, uncomplicated, and it gives my life a purpose. With all the chaos come tears of happiness and frustration, but I wouldn’t trade any of it.
Social etiquette is very important to you as a southern belle. In your opinion, what’s the #1 social etiquette mistake people make and how can they work to correct it?
The art of a handwritten note. I think people need to stop texting so much and take the time to send a handwritten note every so often. Sometimes they even have the ability to mend relationships.
You’re a big advocate of “being seen AND heard” as a Southern lady. What does modern Southern womanhood mean to you?
Dress to impress. Know your worth. Find your girl squad. Be loyal. Act like a queen to be treated like one.
If you could give your children one piece of advice, what would it be?
Never give up.
Southern Charm airs on Bravo Thursdays at 9pm.
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Kathryn Calhoun Dennis on Single Motherhood, Sobriety, and Dismantling the Good Ole Boys Club. Photo Credit: J Michael Walker