My dad’s going to hate this,” she says with a sly grin. Savannah Chrisley pulls an $8,000 plunging, V-neck couture dress off the rack of glistening designer pieces. She runs her fingers over the delicate lace of the dress, then the tight beadwork of a cardigan, flipping through the looks as if swiping through a vintage catalogue of records. She sighs, taking in the moment, calming her nerves.
Today, she walks onto set a pageant queen but will emerge a fashion model. Outside, the sun is starting to rise over the Atlanta History Center, and we want to get first light. The young star, known for her lovely, mischievous ways and charming, but relentless father on the instant-success reality show, “Chrisley Knows Best,” has become a Southern icon in the making. Her good looks, coupled with wild family antics, has turned the heads of network powers that be — proclaiming this the next Kardashian family. And if so, then she is Kim — though obviously more demure. She’s spent hours parading down pageant runways, answering questions on world peace and chasing crowns (a hobby she acquired to develop her public speaking and self-confidence), finding herself now drawn to an edgier space in the modeling realm — as proof by her new locks, cut off to reveal a more sophisticated appearance.
No longer the bubbly sprout of a teenager we met in Season 1, a year of sun-drenched limelight in an increasingly public world has changed her. She’s calmer, more self-assured, unknowingly more in control.
At 17, there’s a team of beauty and hair stylists fawning over her, powdering here and curling there to stay on the call sheet schedule. And she’s glowing, as comforted and unaffected by this routine as she might be grabbing her order through the Starbucks drive-thru window. Although it’s safe to say there’s no real routine left in her life, on-camera or otherwise.
“All the normal things that I used to do aren’t so normal anymore,” she says, candidly. “The mall is my go-to hangout spot because, let’s face it, shopping is my get-away when I just need a break. But now, going to the mall gets difficult at times because there’s always people stopping me, so now I have to strategize and go at the least busiest times of the day.” She takes a breath and smiles. “Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE our fans and I wouldn’t trade them for the world but, it’s still nice to have a little quiet time,” she amends graciously.
And now I see how different her childhood must be than mine; than all of ours. She has fans, for one. Not the ubiquitous few hundred ever-present social media supporters that thumbs-up your selfie efforts. She has a sea of strangers fighting over every 140th character for a shot at her response. And she loves them back, responding with heartfelt sincerity you’d expect from a cherished pen pal. “I try to have a conversation. I get their name and I try to hear their story because we all have a story of some sort. I want to make people feel special and feel the love that we all deserve.”
Though, not every engagement is even worthy of this kindness. She’s had to develop a balanced world perspective — one that rivals most of the Dr. Phil guest experts I’ve seen. She deals with challenges that would tear most adults to shreds, and does so with grace. People call her fat, they say her dad is gay, or make fun of her niece for being biracial.
“The world that we live in can be so amazing but also so horrible at the same time,” she says with a clarity speaking beyond her years. “The absolute hardest thing for me to get over would be the labels. I don’t get why people feel a need to define a person with a word.” A comment revealing a sad wisdom that has come hand-in-hand with her opportunities. “It’s hard always being around adults and having to act like an adult,” she says. “But at the same time, this whole experience has caused me to grow as a person and definitely mature.” ...
See Savannah on USA Tuesday night at 10 PM for Chrisley Knows Best! It's not to be missed!