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The Daily Dish Southern Hospitality

Who Is Republic Owner and Restaurateur Leva Bonaparte on Southern Hospitality?

The Southern Charm cast member has also displayed her boss babe side on the spinoff for two seasons.

By Casey Suglia, Jamontae Hickman & Shannon Raphael

Viewers first got to know Leva Bonaparte when she joined Southern Charm in Season 7, watching her life as a busy wife, mom, and as a friend to the rest of the cast members.But Southern Hospitality viewers have seen a more bossed up side to the Charm-er. The show, which recently ended its second season, followed Leva and the employees who work, mingle, and sometimes disagree at her hot Charleston nightclub, Republic Garden & Lounge.

How to Watch

Watch Southern Hospitality on Peacock and the Bravo App.

But what is Leva like when she isn’t taking charge of the Republic employees or mingling with the rest of the Southern Charm crew (which just finished its ninth season)?

Find out about Leva’s background, her family life, and her restaurants by reading below.

Where is Leva Bonaparte from?

Leva was born in India, is of Persian descent, and grew up in Canada. She currently lives in South Carolina.

She actively played classical piano until she went to college, which is part of how she ended up down South.

“I was going to go from the Royal Conservatory of Music to become a pianist at university but decided to study business instead..." Leva wrote in an Instagram post in 2022. 

RELATED: Why Leva Bonaparte Finally Joined the Southern Charm Cast After Years with the Group

Leva attended South Carolina State University as part of that decision, graduating in 1999. She sold software for her parents’ company for about a decade afterward, traveling the world as a sales representative.

But, that lifestyle became taxing on her. “I’d meet people my age like. ‘Oh, my God, you’re living the dream job, traveling between all these places! Amazing!’,” she told People in December 2023.

“And I’d be like, ‘No, I don’t ever want to look at a suitcase again!’ I wanted a dog and a mug that I drink out of every day, you know what I mean? I wanted routine.”

Leva Bonaparte in front of a step and repeat at the Watch What Happens Live clubhouse in New York City.

How did Leva Bonaparte meet her husband, Lamar Bonaparte?

The Republic matriarch met her now-husband, Lamar Bonaparte, in Charleston. At the time, Leva was traveling to the city on a regular basis for work.

“On my 29th birthday, I went out and I met Lamar. I felt like I met a wolf I could run with,” Leva said on an episode of Southern Charm Season 7. “We built things together, we were inspired together. I find his intelligence and creativity so attractive, like, it’s a sustainable sexy, and I’m pretty sure he finds the same thing with me.”

The two were friends first, investing in real estate and planning parties and fundraisers together. 

“I was very mean to him, to be honest,” Leva said of their early years in a December 2023 interview with People. “I thought he was cute and everything, but I was just dismissive of his romantic advances. I was like, ‘You’re probably full of sh-t.”

After dating for five years, the couple decided they wanted to spend their life together and eloped on a random Tuesday in 2013.

“We didn’t have time or the budget for a big wedding,” she told South Magazine in June 2021. “We had a few friends who were offended but this is what worked for us.” 

Southern Charm Personal Pictures Leva Bonaparte 16

Is Leva Bonaparte still married to Lamar Bonaparte?

Though Leva leads a life in the public eye, her husband — who helps run their businesses and their development group, Republic DMG — is more private. He’s not often seen on Leva’s Instagram feed, and he doesn’t have a public profile himself. However, he does work closely alongside Leva, and rest assured, they are still married.

So that means that viewers won’t necessarily see Lamar on Southern Charm or Southern Hospitality, but that doesn’t make him any less supportive of his wife or their businesses.

“He’s not a big TV guy,” Leva explained in an interview with The Daily Dish in December 2022. “I have to drag him into family photos. He doesn’t even like pictures.” In spite of their work and relationship overlapping, the couple has learned to keep things separate. “

There was a time where work would bleed into the relationship a lot and that we had to put boundaries down where we’d say, ‘This is the time where we don’t talk about work,’” Leva told People in December 2023. 

A split image of the opening party for Leva's new restaurant.

Leva Bonaparte's Son, Lamar Bonaparte Jr.

Leva Bonaparte with her son Lamar Bonaparte Jr. at the Fort Garry Hotel in Canada.

The power couple have a son named Lamar Bonaparte Jr.

He was born in 2018, after a “long journey” of trying to get pregnant, she told People. Although he is named after his father, you’ll often hear Leva affectionately referring to him as “Little.”

Leva has said that her world turned upside down after she gave birth to her son. “I thought that not much would change — that I would just get a nanny and keep on working — and then he arrived, and I found I could not put him down,” she told South Magazine

Leva has tried to be “very present” as a mom, she told People, in addition to running her businesses. 

“From the minute he was born, I just wanted to soak it all up and keep it all,” she said. “So in the sense, I feel like my infertility issues and the struggles I went through to have Little were a little bit of a blessing in disguise, because I never took anything for granted. The worst days, the hardest days. I was just like, 'I’m just so glad this little guy’s here.'”

How many restaurants does Leva Bonaparte own?

While Republic Garden & Lounge is the focus of Southern Hospitality, Leva and Lamar are also behind three other go-to spots on King Street that are often seen on the show.

The spouses also own Bourbon N’ Bubbles, a luxury bar and restaurant (which the Southern Charm ladies visited during Season 8), with an extensive bourbon and champagne menu, just like the name suggests. The restaurant is also equipped with personal liquor lockers for the regulars, as well as rooms that reflect the alcohol theme. In an interview with Style & Living, Leva noted that she wanted the décor to “feel very Gucci…but Mad Men at the same time.”

Leva and Lamar also have MESU, a Mexican and Japanese fusion restaurant, which serves both tacos and sushi rolls. This restaurant was inspired by Leva’s pregnancy cravings, she revealed in the same interview.

RELATED: Leva Bonaparte Shares What Republic Is “Really Known For” and It Might Surprise You

“I was five months’ pregnant [and] I couldn’t have sushi,” she said. “All I was doing was eating taco nacho platters and I was just like, ‘You know what? If I could just have […] a piece of sushi and some guacamole in my mouth with salsa… that would be amazing.”

“But think about it: All the best Mexican food, all the best sushi that we love, all in one spot.”

The couple recently opened up their newest Charleston bar, Lamar’s Sporting Club, located in the home of her former bar, 1st Place Sports Pub. The high end club is a fusion of “exclusivity, sports, and nightlife” with a cozy, Charleston-inspired interior.

Get a Sneak Peek of Southern Hospitality Season 2!

What happened to Leva Bonaparte in Southern Hospitality Season 2?

In Season 2, Leva meant business. In Episode 1, Leva kicked off the new season with a bang by firing two employees for breaking the employee handbook by drinking on the job. Leva explained to in a December 2023 interview that this toughness is here to stay.

“So, as of this year, we’re going back to the handbook,” she said. “Here are your rules: Show up on time, respect your managers, don’t drink, and if there’s insubordination, you’re fired. You’re out of here.”

In Season 2, Episode 9, Leva promoted VIP server Emmy Sharrett as the newly appointed Assistant General Manager of Republic. The boss told her new right-hand gal that her responsibly would be “managing" Joe Bradley and Maddi Reese along with the rest of the crew. 

“Emmy’s been impressive over the past eight months… She became exemplary,” Leva explained in an interview. However, it was revealed during Southern Hospitality’s Season 2 reunion that Leva demoted Emmy shortly after.

“We opened a new space, we asked several employees to go down there to help us with those new spaces,” Leva explained during the reunion. “Emmy was told, ‘Listen, you’re going to train for AGM, you’re going to train for VIP, and we need you to go down the road to train.”

Leva claimed that Emmy refused to help with the new location, which resulted in her losing the AGM role at Republic.

You can see how Leva is as business owner by catching up on Season 1 and 2 of Southern Hospitality on and in the Bravo app.

Originally published Nov 4, 2022.

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