Leva Bonaparte from Bravo‘s Southern Hospitality runs a pretty tight ship at her nightclub Republic and she shared why being a woman gives her an advantage in the nightclub space.
Bonaparte and her husband Lamar own four popular restaurant-based businesses in Charleston, South Carolina, which she joked about being a cacophony of controlled chaos.
“I feel like I have been very good at controlling chaos,” she told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “The funny part is most club owners are men. And I think that most club owners should be women because we don’t run on ego. This is a very ego business. We multitask like unicorns, you know what I mean?”
Leva tells the ‘Southern Hospitality’ cast to ‘Zen it out’
In only a few Southern Hospitality episodes, Bonaparte’s management style is in clear focus. She’s tough on her employees but has a sincere desire to lift them up.
“I can literally hear a conversation and be doing something else and thinking about something else and filing something and noticing something else,” she said. “So, yeah, it’s a chaotic business. It’s controlled chaos. I always tell the kids, like, we need to Zen it out.”
Bonaparte acknowledged how the door at Republic can be overwhelming. “Because that front door is a trigger. People are going to come at you like, ‘Who do you think you are? You can’t let me in?’ And they come in, rightfully so,” she said. “They want the best experience.”
‘Southern Hospitality’ cast faces challenges at Republic’s door, Leva helps them deal with it
The door at Republic can also turn into a negative experience for the client if her staff isn’t trained to handle a slew of reactions. “The door can feel intimidating,” she admitted. “Or they assume they can walk in and they may not know and they don’t want to feel embarrassed. And so there’s a lot of ego, alcohol, and insecurity.”
“You put that all at the front door and you put it in with 100 people in line staring at you. That’s a lot of big feelings, right? So, yeah, my big thing with them is like, you make sure that you don’t embarrass people, but you make sure that you explain how everything works,” she said. “You make sure that you’re kind. You make sure that you let them know that we want them in our space.”
Leva isn’t the typical ‘Southern Hospitality’ club owner on Bravo
Bonaparte puts herself in the client’s shoes, but she’s also protective and almost parental with her staff. “You don’t necessarily get that in a lot of nightclubs. Like you get a lot of attitude up front,” she shared. “I can’t stand that. Because if I’m going to spend thousands of dollars, you better be nice to me and you better make me feel special and you better explain everything.”
“Nightclubs are known for attitude and that’s a big thing. But I always feel like we’re in the South. There’s no attitude here,” she emphasized. “This is supposed to be where people are nice and sweet.”
She also has an eye on image too. “Also pull your skirt down a little bit, please. You know what I mean? It’s not Miami, it’s Charleston, right? So I’m also not like the typical club owner because they always want to be, like, super young and hot,” she said about her staff. “And they’re like, ‘Leva’s here, she’s gonna make us pull everything down and cover up!’ But it’s like, no – one or the other. A little bit boobs, a little bit legs. I dress pretty scandalously for a 43-year-old. I feel like I’m pretty hip and cool. But according to them, I am not so hip.”
Southern Hospitality is on Monday at 9 pm ET on Bravo.