At first glance, some of the cast members of Southern Charm might fall into a stereotype that is easy to dismiss. For instance, Whitney Sudler-Smith, the Southern Charm cast member who lives with his socialite mother in a beautiful estate, might come off as a momma's boy. OK, maybe he is. But, that isn't to say that Whitney hasn't done his due diligence to earn his own hefty bank account that we see displayed lavishly on the show. So how did Southern Charm-er Whitney make all of his money that allows him to pop open bottles of $2,000 wine?
For starters, Whitney's role on the show is much larger than just playing the local wealthy, wealthy, bachelor who looks down on those who have ugly centerpieces at their baby's (second) christening (read: Kathryn & Thomas). Actually, if you're a fan of the show, you have Whitney to thank for making it happen, because he had a large hand in creating the show and the concept of following high society Charleston folk around their social circle — the filmmaker even has an Executive Producer credit on the show. So cheers to Whitney (OK, fine, I'll even try the bottle of $2,000 wine — twist my arm why dontcha).
So no, Whitney's money isn't just family money (but I can't believe that isn't at least a component of his wealth); let's look at how Whitney earned his riches.
Turns out, Whitney is actually Mr. Hollywood in Charleston. Whitney had a career in Hollywood, before spending more time in Charleston like he does now, that could have made him a little cash (what, it's not like he's sharing his deposit info with me, OK?). While in Los Angeles, Whitney was a filmmaker (he still is), he created a films such as Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston (a documentary on Roy Halston) and indie flicks like Bubba and Ike.
Whitney isn't only cashing checks for starring on the Charleston-based show, he also is the reason it exists. Whitney first had the idea of making a documentary film on Charleston and a some dramatic, but enticing, characters on the Charleston scene to drive the film to success. Whitney was able to use his Hollywood connections to create a title pitch, which later led the show to be scooped up by Bravo.
You remember the restaurant that Whitney didn't want to set up with Shep, right? Well, that's still a go, and it sounds like it is going to be delish. The restaurant, called Generalísimo, is set to open in the spring (you remember that season, right?) and will have a French/Mexican cuisine.
And OK, Family
OK, we had to say it after giving Whitney his due credit for being a hard worker too. Whitney had a very nice upbringing (see: Patricia Altschul) and let's be honest: He's probably experiencing the perks of said upbringing into mid-life. At the very least, he's been enjoying living under his mother's roof. Thankfully, in Season 2 he plans to move out of his mother's luxurious estate and into Shep's bachelor pad on the water.