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When it comes to TV viewing habits, we all have our own routines, and it can be difficult when anything—or anyone—encroaches on your sacred (couch) space. But unless you live alone and don’t let anyone into your space (which like, respect), inevitably you’re going to have to watch TV with others at some point. And unfortunately, that even includes watching Real Housewives with the straight men in your life. Whether you live with a significant other, are staying with your parents for a while, or just happen to be in the vicinity of any non-Bravo-watching man, just know that you are so strong. Today, we’re bringing you a vital resource to make it through this trying time: ideal responses to some FAQs that your dad/husband/male friend will undoubtedly be asking over the course of a 43-minute episode. Godspeed.
Who are these people?
When faced with a question like this, it’s easy to overshare and dive into the origin story of each Housewife, but that’s not what your dad/boyfriend/brother/pizza delivery guy who got too sucked in is asking. He probably doesn’t even know what city you’re watching, so start with broad strokes (are we watching New Jersey or Beverly Hills?), and get more specific (which woman is planning a vow renewal as a last-ditch attempt at saving her marriage?) if he signals interest. If one of the women has been arrested or married to an athlete, I recommend dropping that into the conversation at the first opportune moment.
Who’s the blonde one?
If your male viewing companion asks the name of a specific cast member, this is a fundamentally different question than a general “who are these people?” Whoever he’s asking about, he thinks she is HOT, and he’d like to look up her Instagram to see if she’s worth a thirst follow. I won’t tell you how to live your life, but if it’s your boyfriend/husband/significant other, shut that sh*t down and tell him he doesn’t need to know. If it’s your dad, just let him have this one.
Is she the one that sells alcohol?
This is a bit of a trick question. Based on the sheer volume of Bravolebrities with liquor brands, chances are whoever he’s asking about does sell alcohol. This could apply to women on nearly every show on Bravo, so it’s kind of like asking if a millennial in New York has a leopard print midi skirt. Like, probably! But he’s actually thinking of Bethenny Frankel, so unless you’re watching seasons 1-3 or 7-11 of RHONY, the answer is no.
What are they fighting about?
If he’s inquiring about the source of tension within the group, congratulations, you’ve gotten his attention. He might pretend not to care about what’s happening, but now he’s invested enough to want the backstory so he can form his own opinion about whether What’s-Her-Name was being shady to The Tall One. He’s no longer trying to grab the remote to change the channel to “check the score of the game” every five minutes, and if you do a good enough job selling him on the storylines, he might even tell you to play another episode when this one ends. Good work.
How do you watch this stuff?
As a dedicated Housewives viewer, it’s important to stand your ground, and not to let anyone disrespect the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve put into this journey. If a man in your life is spewing negativity, feel free to remind him of the many hours he’s spent watching Bitcoin YouTube videos, or random strangers play video games on Twitch, or *shudders* golf. We all have our different viewing habits, and trust me, there are way more embarrassing things to be obsessed with than Bravo.
Images: Steve Dietl/Bravo
I’ll admit it. I was on the verge of an ugly Kim K cry when the final episodes of RHOBH and RHONY aired and the seasons came to an end. There’s just something about watching middle-aged women fight, scream, make up, lie, drink too much, spread rumors, and flaunt their wealth that makes me so unbelievably happy. And if you feel anything like I do, you’ve probably been counting down the days until Bravo’s newest Housewives franchise, Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, premieres. I assure you, if I wasn’t so lazy or had even a shred of artistic skill, I would have made an advent calendar to track the days.
So why am I so excited? Well, RHOSLC is sure to bring the same level of craziness we’ve grown accustomed to on the other franchises—and then it tops that by promising the most religiously and culturally diverse cast we’ve seen to date. Before you tune into the premiere on November 11 and start following the #RHOSLC hashtag on Twitter, let me break down the six ladies on the cast so you know what you’re in for.
Meredith Marks, a Jewish woman, is a celeb jewelry designer whose pieces have been seen on A-list stars like Rihanna, Bravolebrities like Tinsley Mortimer, and Bachelor royalty like Hannah Brown. Call me a dreamer, but I’ll be praying to the Bravo Gods for a “friend of” scene with Riri.
Beyond doing online sales and over-promoting her jewelry on her personal IG, Meredith has a boutique storefront in Utah. Unfortunately, let’s just say that for someone like me who’s still living at home (thanks Mom and Dad!), the pieces are way, way, WAY, out of my price range.
But even though her products have an expensive price tag, her castmates Jen Shah and Lisa Barlow are apparently frequent buyers—which tells me that Jen and Lisa have real money (and not Dorit Kemsley/PK money).
Anyway, given the storefront is in a city neighboring Salt Lake City, we can bet to have a scene or two take place there.
Meredith has both a law degree and MBA, so she’s got brains too. TG, every cast needs at least one actually intelligent person.
From her Bravo bio, it looks like Meredith’s storyline will involve marital issues with her husband of 25 years, Seth Marks. The couple is originally from Chicago, and according to Seth’s LinkedIn, until January of 2020 he was actually living in Chicago and not Utah, which may have contributed to the relationship issues. I guess Meredith has more of a connection to Tinsley than just selling jewelry to her, huh?
Whitney Rose is a mother of two and the co-founder of a natural anti-aging skin care company called Iris + Beau. Besides founding and running a business, Whitney is now married to her former boss, Justin Rose, after the two had an affair a decade ago. In what sounds like a plotline out of a Lifetime movie, both she and Justin left their respective partners to be with one another when Whitney became pregnant as a result of the affair. The two are still married a decade later, and some of the cast were rumored to have filmed together at their 10 year vow renewal ceremony.
After visiting Whitney’s company’s website, I realized she’s one of three of the cast who runs a company in the beauty space. What makes hers unique is that it has a partner program—basically, earning commission off affiliate linking. From what I could find, her business doesn’t seem to be an MLM (it seems closer to your influencers who promote sweaters on IG stories to get a kickback on sales). But if your MLM senses were tingling, you weren’t that far off: Her husband is an exec at an MLM called LifeVantage, which happened to be sued in 2018 on claims that it was operating as a pyramid scheme. I mean, this is Utah after all, the pyramid scheme capital of the U.S. I know the allegations and businesses aren’t the same, but Whitney and her hubby are giving me MAJOR Teresa and Joe Guidice vibes. What I’m dying to know: Are they going to discuss the allegations this season, or will they keep this topic under wraps like they do on RHOBH?
Heather Gay is a mother of three, was married into Mormon royalty (WTF is Mormon royalty??), and has since divorced her husband of 11 years. She loosely practices Mormonism and as her Bravo bio states, considers herself a “good Mormon gone bad”. I’m sure they love that.
Speaking of good things gone bad, Heather’s already taken a step towards cringey by creating a Heather Gay fan page and updates page on Instagram. Ok, I have no evidence that she created either, but who TF would create an account for a cast member on a show that hasn’t even premiered yet?
For work, Heather co-owns a cosmetic medical practice in Utah called Beauty Lab + Laser and co-hosts a beauty podcast called Live Love Lab. Either her, her co-owner, or their social media manager think they’re funny, because the company’s Instagram is FILLED with memes. Personally, I’m hoping it’s Heather that’s the funny one—we need some Sonja Morgan-esque comic relief on every Real Housewives franchise.
An interesting disconnect is that in her Bravo Bio, it says “she owns a burgeoning Med-Spa business…” and on the company’s About page it says “WE ARE NOT A MED SPA. We are a Beauty Lab.” (yes, it really is in all caps on the site). WTF is the difference between a med spa and a beauty lab, and did we just catch her in a white lie?
Jen Shah is Tongan and Hawaiian, the CEO of three marketing companies, a mother of two, and converted from Mormonism to Islam. In her Bravo bio she mentions she’s “always decked out in designer brands”. If Jen’s bringing the type of outfits and glam Dorit Kemsley’s been serving us the past few seasons of RHOBH, I’m majorly here for it.
It’s unclear whether the three businesses mentioned in Jen’s Bravo Bio are the same three she lists in her Instagram bio. The first handle in her bio links to JXA Fashion, which sells custom couture pieces. @Jovani—move TF aside because we have a new designer in town…
The second and third handles link to Shah Beauty and The Real Shah Lashes, which are both “coming soon”. I’m no detective, but it kinda seems like she may have started these two businesses after hearing she was cast for the show, and is planning to build, launch, and profit off them after the season begins airing. I hope someone tells her this is Bravo and not The Bachelor, and she probably won’t leave this season with an automatic 100,000+ new followers willing to buy any Fit Tea she shills on IG.
And Jen’s business acumen doesn’t stop at the companies she runs. She’s also trying to build a brand around her family like she’s Kris Jenner, by adding hashtags like #ShahsOfSLC and #ShahsSlay on almost every photo she posts on IG. Alright then.
Speaking of Jen’s family, although they aren’t “Mormon royalty” like some of the other cast are claiming to be (again, WTF is Mormon royalty?), they do seem to be local football celebs. Her husband, Sharrieff Shah Sr., is a coach at the University of Utah, where their son also played and attended.
Lisa Barlow is a mother of two, owns a marketing company and a distillery called VIDA Tequila, and sort of looks like a cross between Kyle Richards and Scheana Shay. Although she’s an active Mormon, she only loosely follows the religion’s traditional rules, according to her Bravo bio (I mean, she owns an alcohol company, so how traditional can she be?).
Of all the cast, Lisa seems to have the most celeb friends. Both Brie Bella and Ashlee White have commented on her Instagram photos, and she’s posted pics of John Legend and Charles Barkley at VIDA Tequila events. If we can get a Chrissy Teigen cameo, I’m all for it.
Besides promoting her brands on her personal Instagram and adding a white frame to all of her pics (2016 aesthetic, much?), she seemingly runs her family’s IG account (@barlow_crew). And your mom just made photo albums.
Although the assumed purpose of a family account is to post photos of the family (shocking!), the @barlow_crew feed includes an overwhelming number of solo shots of Lisa. And on top of that, the account’s profile photo is literally a mirror pic of Lisa herself. Sure, every good Bravo Housewife is a little egotistical, and I guess Lisa’s already got that skill down pat.
Beyond running her businesses, Lisa plays the piano and flute and loves horseback riding (like any good Lisa on Bravo).
Mary Cosby is Pentecostal, has an online resale shop called Mari Marta Couture, and married her late grandmother’s husband, with whom she now has a teenage son. Yes, you read that correctly: she married her step-grandpa. WHAT?! If that doesn’t make for TV gold and interesting on-screen conversation, I don’t know what does.
In her Bravo bio, Mary notes that she inherited a portfolio of family businesses, which includes restaurants and churches. Going back to the step-grandpa thing… I guess they were trying to keep the money in the family??
Although it’s unclear of her day-to-day involvement in the family businesses, her online resale shop seems to be an endeavor she started on her own. From the shop’s site it’s clear that she pays almost zero attention to it, because there’s literally nothing listed for sale as of October 2020.
Of all the ladies on the cast, Mary posts the least on IG. When she does, it’s often a confusing AF video of her doing nothing/walking/sitting OR a photo montage put to music. Seriously, her social media is a 911 situation that requires a MASSIVE overhaul.
Honestly, I’m just shocked that none of these women are at the top of the LuLaRoe pyramid. Either way, I’ll be tuning it on November 11th on Bravo.
Images: Chad Kirkland / Bravo
It would be an understatement to say that Galentine’s Day is a big deal in my friend group. It’s a day to celebrate friendships, new and old, without the overbearing presence of cis-heteroxual male energy. It’s a day to turn an absolute look, because you cannot spell “lifelong friendships’”without “photo shoot.” And it’s a day to drink prosecco. So much prosecco. Scholars and theorists alike might even say too much prosecco. Galentine’s Day is always one of my favorite days of the year, but when I think of Galentine’s Day 2020, it can be characterized by one defining moment: the day my friend Danny and I reached peaked anti-social status, and left mid-party to start watching The Real Housewives of Potomac. (Also, it’s the day I discovered what a ring light is, and that I firmly believe that access to free health care and an affordable ring light are basic human rights).
If you’re like me, The Real Housewives are your lifeblood: you breathe Herman Munster Louis Vuitton; you bleed SHE by Shereé Joggers (release date: tbd). You would never accept a stuffed bunny for your grandson unless it had the right energy. You meet the knowledge of someone being engaged 19 times with the flip of a table. You know every franchise inside and out, which means you also know there is currently an opening for the best Real Housewives franchise.
It’s an unfortunate, yet known fact that previous Real Housewives front runners are, frankly, losing their elite status. New York is currently in a transition period, still trying to find its footing without Bethenny, while our usual favorites (Dorinda, Ramona, Sonja) are growing less and less lovable. Beverly Hills is begging for plotlines—making an entire season not even about an actual threesome, but the mere discussion of hypothetical threesomes, and bringing back Brandi Glanville in what can only be described as an act of desperation. Atlanta is a close front runner, but current speculations of a future without NeNe Leakes create an air of uncertainty surrounding the strength of the franchise. This all leaves the perfect opening for The Real Housewives of Potomac to take its rightful spot as the supreme Real Housewives franchise.
As we watched in our too-much-prosecco hazed state in the aftermath of Galentine’s Day, my friend and I immediately realized that The Real Housewives of Potomac wasn’t like any other franchise—and that’s what made it so hard to look away. While all of the ladies of Potomac are Black women, their lives are diverse in ways that make for excellent TV. Of course you have the women who are uber rich, with mansions galore and glam-squads at the ready (Karen, Monique, Katie), but you also have women who are just, dare I say, middle class—they’re doing well, but also have to go to work to pay the mortgage, and in some cases, the rent (Robyn, Gizelle). You have women in happy marriages to lifelong sweethearts, and you have women who are divorced, dating, and thriving—and you have one woman who is divorced from, but still living and sharing a bed with, said lifelong sweetheart. The women of Potomac also widely vary in age, with Karen Huger, the self-proclaimed Grand Dame, who began her Housewives tenure at the age of 52, and Ashley Darby, who made Housewives history as the youngest Housewife at the age of 27.
Potomac is also different from any other franchise because it takes place in, well, Potomac. Andy Cohen is known for giving us inside looks into the lifestyles of the rich and famous with women reigning from notable, big-named cities like Beverly Hills, New York, and even Dallas. But, he took a sharp left turn in choosing to establish a franchise in a place like Potomac, a small town in Maryland that, while boasted as one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, very few people could place on map. In short, I will boldly claim that The Real Housewives of Potomac reinvents the wheel and challenges what it means to be a Real Housewives franchise in new, exciting, and unique ways.
That’s not at all to say, however, that Potomac doesn’t know how to deliver classic, Housewives-defining elements that every franchise is required, by Bravo law, to possess. You have your overbearing mother (à la Atlanta’s Mama Joyce and New York’s Dale) in Candiace’s mom, Ms. Dorothy, who never provides a dull moment in being both a therapist but also someone who hits her daughter with her purse at social events. You have sightings from random celebrities you have not thought about in years (à la Fetty Wap in New Jersey) in Macy Gray, when she appears in season 4 to teach Karen’s daughter, Rayvin, how to sing. And of course, you cannot have real Real Housewives drama without the husbands getting involved. Much like PK and Ken in Beverly Hills, and the New Jersey Joes, the husbands of Potomac also reluctantly become roped into plotlines, most notably with “Did Michael Touch That Man’s Butt-gate”—a fascinatingly complicated plotline that transcends season lines.
One of my favorite Housewives tropes is the classic power struggle between the queens of the franchises: Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga, Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards, Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel. Potomac follows suit with the constant back-and-forth between Karen Huger and Gizelle Bryant. These women have a unique friendship, in that Gizelle’s achilles heel is not being able to recognize when she’s wrong, and Karen’s achilles heel is only being able to recognize when Gizelle is wrong. The women begin their tussle early on in season 1, and the cycle of “fight, no apology, fight, bad apology, fight, real apology” has, without fail, occurred every season since. However, what sets Karen and Gizelle’s friendship apart from other franchises is that it’s clear that there is genuine respect and love between them. We learn that the two have been friends for years, far preceding the Real Housewives cameras—and that is apparent. Yes, Gizelle hits below the belt when she wears a T-shirt that says “#FreeKarenHuger #TaxReform,” after Karen and her husband’s tax debts come to light, but she is also the first one to wipe away Karen’s tears when she breaks down at the season 3 reunion after the deaths of her parents. The ladies fight hard and love hard, a prime example of how Potomac gives you classic Housewives, while also pushing and redefining the Housewives narrative.
Past seasons have been nail-bitingly thrilling, but season 5 is where I expect The Real Housewives of Potomac to really come into their own, and secure the currently empty slot of best Real Housewives franchise. The season 5 trailer gives us broken wine glasses, the introduction of a new Housewife, and wigs both good and bad. But, I’m most excited to see how the fifth season of Potomac will handle and discuss our current social climate as it pertains to race. It is true—we are living in unprecedented times, and the culture we consume, especially culture that is centered upon the lives of seven black women, should reflect that. Simply going based off Instagram posts, the women of most other franchises (except, you guessed it, Atlanta) have missed the mark incredibly when it comes to the anti-racism discussion. But the ladies of Potomac have never been strangers to the discussion of race on the show, from season 1 when Robyn and Gizelle cling tightly and proudly to their blackness, despite the lighter hues of their skin, to season 4 when Gizelle hosts a trip to New Orleans and the women emotionally tour a slave plantation. I’m excited and optimistic to see how the ladies of Potomac approach the current racial movement and show the women of other franchises that posting a black square to the grid, or simply ignoring the movement entirely, simply ain’t it.
I was asked the other day who my favorite housewife was on Potomac, and I didn’t have a clear answer. Not because there are not personalities with a capital P within the franchise, but because these women are all connected, a cohort of women who pristinely works off each other to serve the plotline. You can’t have Ashley without Monique and Karen; you can’t have Robyn without Gizelle; you can’t have Candiace without her mom paying half the mortgage. The Real Housewives of Potomac is storyline-driven, which I think is where their lasting power lies. I simply cannot wait to see these women sweep the #1 Real Housewives spot with the premiere of their fifth season.
If you love RHOP, check out our video with Ashley Darby:
Photo by: Sophy Holland/Bravo
It’s no secret from my many articles on the subject that I’m a Bravoholic with an affinity for all things Real Housewives. And while I didn’t think my appreciation for these women could get any deeper, I’ve been especially thankful for them while battling bouts of boredom and anxiety in self-quarantine. In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, it’s only right that we pay tribute to the amazing women that not only gave life to our Housewives, but who have made a lasting impression in their own right while appearing onscreen.
10. Ms. Diane, ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’
Ms. Diane is an angel. She ranks this high on the list because she’s one of the most normal and seemingly sane mothers this franchise has ever seen. Her calm demeanor and unwavering support of Porsha through everything from the divorce from Kordell to the infidelities of The Hot Dog King is truly heartwarming. Porsha is one of the few lucky ones.
9. Judy Stirling, ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’
Lydia’s mom, Judy, made an immediate impression when she breezed her way into the OC from what seemed like another planet entirely. She sprinkled fairy dust on her grown daughter, smoked a ton of pot, and even managed to get into it with Vicki’s aggro son-in-law over having her feet on Vicki’s couch. In short, she was a lot more interesting memorable than Lydia.
8. Dr. Deb, ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’
Dr. Deb is what you would get if you swapped out Judy’s weed for acid and proceeded to have a really bad trip at Burning Man. When she first appeared on the show, Dr. Deb intrigued viewers with her multicolored dreadlocks and general IDGAF attitude. She really got into the mix last season at “OC Fashion Week” (I refuse to believe that’s a thing) by fighting with another attendant and allegedly using a racial slur. Clearly used to chaos, it’s no wonder Braunwyn decided to have seven kids.
7. Ms. Dorothy, ‘Real Housewives of Potomac’
Ms. Dorothy made an impression from the moment we met her in season 3. Between her monthly stays at the house she bought for with Candiace and Chris and her attempts to control every aspect of their wedding, this therapist seems to have a blind spot when it comes to respecting boundaries with her daughter. Last season she took this to another level by slapping Candiace upside the head with a purse. It be ya own mother.
6. Lois Rinna, ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’
When we first met Lois, she charmed us with her happy-go-lucky attitude and positive energy. Little did we know that this ray of sunshine nearly died after surviving an attack by a literal serial killer. And not only did she survive that, she also managed to sit through dinner while Camille defended Brett Kavanaugh and served us some epic facial expressions like this in the process:
5. Marge Sr., ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’
As if Marge Jr. weren’t enough of a gift to the show when she was cast in season 8, we got the added bonus of Marge Sr. Dating well into her seventies and even admitting that she’s had sex in a cemetery, Marge Sr. is the Hungarian Samantha Jones. We have no choice but to stan.
4. Mama Elsa, ‘Real Housewives of Miami’
Almost exactly one year ago, the world lost a legend. Mama Elsa was the indisputable star of the otherwise lackluster Real Housewives of Miami. With her strong Cuban accent, flair for drama, and witchy sensibilities, she stole every scene and gave us so many hilarious moments. The world was a wonder while she was here.
3. Dale Mercer, ‘Real Housewives of New York’
Regardless of whether Tinsley decides to return to RHONY, her mother Dale would be a welcome addition to the show. She never misses an opportunity to shade her own daughter, whether it’s pointing out to Tinsley that she’s wearing shoes designed by Tinsley’s ex-husband’s new wife, or implying that her relationship with Scott is doomed. And, of course, we can never forget her indulging Tinsley’s crazy and crying with her over Tinsley’s frozen eggs “babies” while Tinsley tries on wedding dresses despite not actually being engaged.
2. Mama Dee, ‘Real Housewives of Dallas’
Speaking of women that take pleasure in shading the hell out of their spawn, no one does it like Mama Dee. Watching D’Andra squirm while asking her mom for more money to let her take over the business and Dee revel in the power dynamic is truly captivating television. Is this a healthy mother-daughter dynamic? No, but I really don’t give a dog’s rip.
1. Mama Joyce, ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’
Love her or hate her, Mama Joyce is the G.O.A.T. of outrageous Real Housewives moms. She never misses an opportunity to harass her son-in-law, whether it’s butchering the lyrics to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to make a threat, or recounting a childhood trauma about a lunchbox to allude to her distrust of him. The thirst doesn’t stop there. She tried using a shoe as a weapon against Carmon during Kandi’s wedding dress shopping trip, and put on an actual trench coat to dig up dirt on Phaedra, giving us this iconic moment:
She may be a monster hellbent on destroying anyone that gets too close to her daughter’s money, but she’s given us some incredible moments in the process.
Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying that the moms on this list make for great TV. Which Real Housewives mom is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!
Images: Bravo (2); Tenor (5); Trash Talk TV; 1drdeb / Instagram; Giphy (2)
There are a number of traits that all good Real Housewives have in common. An aspirational lifestyle, a highly suspect business venture, and a toxic husband are par for the course, but what really sets a Housewife apart from her castmates is the ability to deftly lob an insult, especially at another Housewife. This requires quick thinking and a way with the English language that few of us mere mortals possess, and when it’s done right, the results are simply magical. Below, I’ve rounded up some of the best Real Housewives zingers in history and provided real life scenarios where you can use them, so you too can feel like a friend of seasoned Housewife. You’re welcome.
“Well, Even Louis Vuitton Makes Mistakes”
Whether you love her or hate her, you can’t deny that Luann has had some of the most iconic lines in the history of The Real Housewives of New York. One of her absolute best came in season 4 when insulting castmate Alex McCord’s “Herman Munster shoes.” Alex immediately clapped back saying they were Louis Vuitton, and without missing a beat, Luann gave us this gem of a comeback, both winning the argument and proving she belongs in the Housewives Hall of Fame.
When To Use It: We’ve all known someone who never misses an opportunity to brag about the various labels they’re wearing. Next time Dorit that person pipes up, you can hit them with a variation of this epic line. For example:
Dorit: OMG could you die over this new purse?! It’s Gucci!
You: Well, even Gucci makes mistakes.
“, You Bald-Headed Scallywag”
OK, so Marlo may not technically be a Housewife, but she is putting in more work this season than many a cast member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (looking at you, NeNe). She’s long overdue for her peach, and no moment proved this more than in a recent episode on the cast trip to Toronto. As SnakeGate continued to unfold, the entire cast seemed to get into it with each other, with Marlo and Cynthia going head to head about the accusation that someone recorded Cynthia talking smack about NeNe. Cynthia loses it and goes off on Marlo, and out of the clear blue, Marlo refers to Cynthia as a “bald-headed scallywag.” The creativity in busting out a term not used in the mainstream lexicon since the wake of the Civil War leaves me no choice but to stan.
When To Use It: Although Marlo was referring to Cynthia, another woman, I think this jab would work perfectly for that f*ckboy in your life who you’re not quite ready to cut, but who continues to annoy you with his games. If he’s bald or balding, great. If not, then you can take a page out of his textbook with a neg that will surely have him considering a Rogaine purchase. The exchange could go something like this:
F*ckboy: Sry, forgot to press send. U comin over later?
You: Chad, you bald-headed scallywag
“Not Well, Bitch!”
Although Dorinda joined The Real Housewives of New York in season 7, it feels like she’s been there from the beginning. In just a few seasons she has become a fan favorite, and her incredible one-liners have everything to do with it. In season 9 she gave us this wonderfully versatile response when asked by Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, of all people, how she was doing after a particularly heated argument with castmate Sonja Morgan. In turn, we were gifted this simple, yet incredibly effective phrase. Dorinda, we thank you for your service.
When To Use It: The beauty of this one is that it can be used in so many different scenarios to capture your mood. The “I’ll tell ya how I’m doing” preamble is optional, but when you use it, it hits so much harder. Either way, it’s a fantastic way to shut up that annoying co-worker Karen who cheerfully asks you how you’re doing at 9:03am on Monday before you’ve even had a sip of your iced coffee. Or it’s a perfect response to the group chat attempting to piece together a blackout girls’ night. Like so:
Jackie (to the group): Really hurting this morning. How are you guys doing?
You: I’ll tell ya how I’m doing: not well, bitch!
“I Don’t Know If She Wants To Be Me, Or Skin Me And Wear Me Like Last Year’s Versace.”
Dina Manzo only appeared on the first two seasons of The Real Housewives of New Jersey (and randomly season 6), but she will always be remembered for her biting zingers, chief among them being her description of the one and only Beverly Ann Merrill Danielle Staub in season 1. After a bizarre encounter where Danielle hugged Dina over and over and awkwardly complimented her boobs, Dina delivered this perfect description of Danielle’s strange obsession with her. We miss you, Dina.
When To Use It: This line is best used when you want to highlight the Single White Female in your life who is seemingly always around and annoying the ever-loving shit out of you. Whether she keeps going after the guys you like, insincerely compliments you in a backhanded way, or is always showing up to frat parties in a sad variation of your outfit from last week, you can describe her as such:
Your Bestie: What’s up with Hannah? She’s basically wearing the same dress you wore last weekend.
You: I don’t know if she wants to be me, or skin me and wear me like last year’s Versace.
“Is Your Ass Jealous Of The Sh*t That Comes Out Of Your Mouth?”
I can’t say I’m going to miss Tamra now that she’s gone, but she did leave us with some truly memorable jabs. Tamra does her best work when she’s angry (never forget Jesus Jugs) and she exploded during the season 6 reunion when she sensed that Gretchen was being less than truthful, giving us this truly excellent insult. RIP, Tammy Sue.
When To Use It: This one comes in handy whenever you want to call bullsh*t on someone who is obviously lying. Of course, you can use it for more serious lies like Tamra did, but it also works when you want to joke around with someone close to you about a more harmless lie. Case in point:
You: Hey, just got here. What’s your ETA?
Friend (just got out of the shower): On my way!
You: Does your ass get jealous of the sh*t that comes out of your mouth?
Of course, there are far too many incredible Housewives insults and many of the very best had to be left off this list. What are some of your favorites and how would you use them in the real world? Sound off in the comments. Until then:
Images: Bravo; Tenor (2); Giphy (4)
There are so many things I love about watching The Real Housewives franchise that it’s impossible to name them all. (Well, it is possible, but I have a job and a social life that I’d like to get back to at some point.) Besides the goldmine of drama that presents the perfect contrast to my boring life, and the insanely rich lifestyles and fabulous wardrobes that have me crying tears of jealousy, my favorite thing about watching the Real Housewives is seeing them go to embarrassing lengths to
make a buck chase their dreams. Whether it means pretending they can sing in front of an audience of millions (they can never sing), or slapping their name on the nearest bottle of alcohol, it’s always fun to see what these women will come up with to grab a little more cash on top of their Bravoc checks. I mean, you gotta have a fallback plan once Andy Cohen gets bored and fires you! And since we can’t all be SkinnyGirl, you’ve probably forgotten about most of these cash grabs businesses—which is why I’m here to remind you, in all their glory.
Pop Of Color By Kristen Taekman
Kristen Taekman was only on RHONY for two seasons, but she wasted no time diving into the beauty business, launching her own line of nail polish called Pop of Color (inventive name). And by launching her own line, I mean her husband Josh bought her a business. And by bought her a business, I don’t mean paid for her start-up fee for some MLM company, unlike every other girl from your high school who pushes her nail polish wraps on Facebook. In classic Housewives fashion, Kristen’s business venture caused drama, when Bethenny called her dumb for not trademarking the name of her company. I mean, was she wrong? If anyone knows about being housewife with a successful business, it’s Bethenny.
Gretchen Christine Collection
Gretchen Rossi was an all-star OC housewife for five seasons, and she made sure to kickstart her personal brand before getting booted from the show. What started out as a handbag line that was definitely just a manufactured plot line for the show has become a lifestyle brand featuring jewelry, cosmetics, and hair tools. Gretchen Christine Collection was recently acquired by a global portfolio of luxury brands, so hopefully she cashed a nice check to make up for Slade not having a job. She shared the news on her Facebook page, giving full credit to God for the line’s success: “So today and always I will say thank you Lord for blessing me and my business because I remained faithful even during the difficult times.” Yes, God definitely ignored the needs of the poor and sick to help your handbag line become successful. These days, Gretchen spends most of her time Facetuning her baby, and desperately wishing Bravo wanted her back.
Melissa Gorga’s Singing Career
Melissa Gorga was not the first Bravolebrity or housewife to attempt a singing career (@Scheana and @Countess) and she certainly wasn’t the last. Melissa’s impending music stardom was a plot line for like, two whole seasons of RHONJ, and it’s wild to remember that she literally performed for Ryan Seacrest. What a time to be alive. The most interesting part of this storyline was actually Joe’s insistence that Melissa not leave the house, prompting him to build her a recording studio in the basement. It’s like Beauty and the Beast, but with sh*tty dance singles instead of books. Low-key, I still listen to “On Display” more than I’d like to admit, so I’m always hopeful we’ll see Melissa return to the studio… which is theoretically still in her basement?
Adrienne Maloof’s Zing Vodka
There have quite literally been too many Bravolebrity alcohol brands to count, but not all of them are created equal. For every SkinnyGirl Margarita or Vanderpump Rosé, you’ve got half a dozen brands that once served as a plot line, never to be heard of again. Take, for example, Adrienne Maloof’s red velvet-flavored vodka, the thought of which makes me throw up in my mouth. Marked by an extravagant launch party, at which Adrienne’s soon-to-be-ex Paul dressed up as one of the naked tree statues (2012 was crazy), no one ever really expected this to be a hit. But the final nail in the coffin for Zing Vodka? Chris Brown was the creative director. Lol, I’m f*cking done.
SHE by Shereé
The RHOA alum’s athleisure/jogger/sweatpants collection has basically been in the works since Kim Kardashian was married to Kris Humphries. From hosting a “fashion show with no fashions” to clarifying the launch date as “September/Spring/Summer,” we’ve been waiting on SHE by Shereé for a full decade, and there’s no end in sight. Currently, her website just features a homemade video of Shereé and some models wearing athleisure, and an about page that claims the line is coming “by 2022.” Basically, this sh*t doesn’t actually exist, and it probably never will. Her “Who Gon’ Check Me Boo” t-shirt (which is actually a Hanes shirt, lmao) is listed on the Nordstrom website, but it’s sold out. Classic.
Sonja Morgan’s Toaster Oven
Amelia Earhart, the lost island of Atlantis, the death of Jeffrey Epstein. These are just a few of the world’s greatest mysteries, and Sonja Morgan’s toaster oven might be the most curious one of them all. On the show, we saw Heather Thomson help her with the branding and logo, we saw a photo shoot that involved a prototype, and in 2016, she even told Forbes it was still in the works! Personally, I have my doubts, and I’m not the only one. The RHONY ladies were pretty relentless in asking her about the toaster oven progress, but never really got a straight answer. Let’s just agree that it’s never coming out, and move on with our lives. Sonja has always been a hustler, with other business including her clothing line, her event planning company, and the controversially-named Tipsy Girl Prosecco debuting to varied levels of success. Whatever, she’s delusional, and we love her for it.
Honestly, Alexis Bellino is an icon, and watching her launch a dress line with absolutely no fashion knowledge was a f*cking delight. Sure, she had no design background and couldn’t even give a solid definition of the word “couture” on the show, but she did the damn thing anyway. Actually, I’m not sure that the company ever really got off the ground, but she sure talked about it a lot. Alexis Couture was even less successful than her painful Fox 5 hosting segments, which is saying something. God, I love this woman.
Milania Hair Care
Teresa Giudice has always been a hustler, and she’s on stranger to slapping her name (or one of her daughter’s names) onto a product that makes no sense. Her hair care line was one of many products that screeched to a halt when she got indicted for fraud, but not before she got sued for copyright infringement by a company called Milani Hair Care, which just happened to be run by Alexis Bellino’s friend. It’s all one vicious cycle. Other *chef’s kiss* businesses from Teresa include her failed Italian restaurant with her brother, her many cookbooks, and of course…
Don’t ever let anyone tell you Teresa isn’t a mogul. Teresa tried her own hand at the alcohol business, with Fabellini, a line of peach- and raspberry-flavored Prosecco. I never had the privilege of trying it, but that honestly sounds like it would make me throw up. The business shut down in 2014 due to Teresa’s legal issues, but thankfully we can still enjoy the incredible Fabellini commercial. It’s full of flavor!
Housewives love the chance to slap their names on an alcohol bottle, and the OG of the OC is no exception. Vicki decided too launch a vodka brand with Brooks Ayers (yikes), and shockingly, it wasn’t a success. I guess the world just didn’t need another reality star’s sh*tty vodka. Ultimately, the vodka business failed, and Vicki and Brooks were sued by their partner for breach of contract. I have a feeling Brooks’ business dealings are just as shady as his fake cancer.
Wines By Wives
Around the same time that Vicki was launching her vodka, she was also partnering with Tamra on a wine subscription service, Wines by Wives. Because why make your own wine, when you can just pick bottles to send to people?! The wine service provided a weak excuse for a “trip” to Malibu in season 8 to taste wines, but Vicki and Tamra got in a fight because Tamra said Vicki was prioritizing her vodka over the wine club. You love to see competing businesses!
Lisa Vanderpump has had a ton of success with her restaurants, but I’m not sure her shoe line ever actually got off the ground. Originally announced in 2011, The Vanderpump shoe was “a suede and Swarovski crystals closed-toe combination that stands on a five-and-three-quarter-inches heel in pink or black.” Sounds very 2011. The shoe was supposed to retail for a disgusting $900, but it’s unclear if they ever actually made it to retail. Personally, I’d rather wear a Maloof Hoof.
Kathy’s Cannoli Kits
Kathy Wakile was never a business titan like her cousins Kathy and Melissa, but she still tried. On RHONJ, we saw her develop a line of DIY cannoli kits, because that’s apparently something people want? Idk. Kathy is actually still selling the cannoli kits on her website ($40 seems kind of expensive?), but they’re actually from another company, and QVC sells the same one. I have no idea if Kathy is making any money off of this, but I really hope so.
The L’Infinity Dress
We’ve seen tons of Bravolebrities do clothing lines, but none were quite as ridiculous as LeeAnne Locken’s L’Infinity Dress. The base dress was a cute LBD, but it came with snap-on attachments that allowed it to be worn 175 different ways. Most of them are ugly AF, but whatever. Of course, true fans will remember the Thailand trip, when D’Andra showed up to dinner in the dress, and caused some major drama because she made fun of it. As of today, the L’Infinity website doesn’t seem to be working, so maybe that business stalled along with LeeAnne’s career as a housewife…
I could literally go on for days about these failed business enterprises. I mean, just the alcohol brands could be an article by themselves—looking at you, Ramona, Brandi Glanville, and plenty of others. And that’s just Real Housewives! Who could forget Jax Taylor’s Just Add X drink line? Everyone, that’s who could forget. As long as these desperate women stay on TV, they’ll keep coming out with these low-effort, high-embarrassment business ventures, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what comes next.
Images: lev radin / Shutterstock.com; Giphy (7); Bravo; realitytvgifs / Tumblr; Page Six / YouTube
Any Real Housewives Bravoholic knows that our ladies are at their best when they go on vacation. Something about the change of scenery and being out of their element makes these already unhinged women go completely off the rails, and there’s beauty in the breakdown. But which trips deserve a spot in the top tier of the Real Housewives canon? Fortunately for you, I’ve done the lord’s work and broken down the most iconic trips in Real Housewives history.
10. Hong Kong, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 7
This trip is a standout for two primary reasons. The first is Ms. Erika Jayne’s completely over-the-top “You don’t know what I deal with every night!” freakout at Eileen, which may be the most emotion we’ve seen from Erika, well, ever. The second is Lisa Rinna’s accusation that Dorit was doing coke in her bathroom at a recent party. It came completely out of left field and is totally may not be true, but cut with the producer’s footage from that night, was one of the realest moments we’ve seen on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And that’s saying something.
9. Whistler, Real Housewives of Orange County Season 8
Despite her demotion to “friend of” this season, there’s a reason that Vicki Gunvalson is the OG of the OC, and the cast’s trip to Whistler in season 8 is a perfect example. After Lauri accuses Vicki of having a threesome at an insurance conference, Vicki reacts in a way that can only be described as, “not well, bitch!” Vicki in full ski gear screaming “I HAVE NEVER BEEN WITH MULTIPLE PARTNERS IN MY LIFE!” will haunt me for the rest of my days.
8. Anguilla, Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 5
This trip cemented Kenya Moore’s status as one of the greatest Housewives of all time. Upon arriving in Anguilla, she somehow manages to take control of the boat and tells everyone to “hold onto your weaves!” She then proceeds to throw a tantrum at the hotel when she finds out her room does not have a bathtub. As if she hasn’t contributed more in this episode than the entire cast of Beverly Hills has in several seasons, she gets into an epic brawl with Porsha that culminates in her proclaiming, “I’m Gone With the Wind fabulous!” and twirling away. For that, I am forever indebted to her.
7. Marrakech, Real Housewives of New York Season 4
There were so many unforgettable moments on this trip. A fortune teller predicting (what we now know is correctly) that Mario was cheating on Ramona. The camel being so sick of the Countess’ pretentious bullsh*t that it tried to buck her off two separate times. The most Ramotional fit of crying ever to be seen on national television. And finally, Alex trying to confront Luann in her “Herman Munster shoes” like a “buffalo,” only to be thwarted by Kelly’s constant demands that she “re-enter” because she’s “not authentic” and Luann saying, “Go back to the cabinet you came out of, witch.” So good.
6. Lake George, Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 5
The Gorga-Giudice dynamic is arguably the most compelling part of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. The tension between the two families reached a pinnacle on the cast trip to Lake George in season 5. Melissa literally gets on her knees and begs Teresa to “stop hurting us!” Then, after accusing her brother of being disloyal, Joe Gorga calls Teresa “scum,” triggering an epic Battle of the Joes that leaves these two grown men wrestling on the floor and the venue forever stained with Joe Gorga’s black spray-on hair dye.
5. Turks and Caicos, Real Housewives of New York Season 7
Despite how insufferable Luann has been in recent seasons, I can never completely forsake her. This trip is the reason. Hungover and clad in a white bathrobe and sunglasses, Luann is confronted by Heather about an unattended naked man in their house. Luann simply responds, “Be cool. Don’t be all, like, uncool.” She gives negative f*cks and it is not just a mood, it is the mood. This star turn allowed Luann, who’d been demoted to “friend of” that season, to ascend right back to a full-time cast member the following season, where she rightfully belongs. I stan.
4. Amsterdam, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 5
If the women of Beverly Hills could give up the dog drama and channel some of the energy from the season 5 trip to Amsterdam, we’d be back in business. Brandi, who I sorely miss, slaps LVP. In another scene, Kim goes in on Rinna, implying that she knows something untoward about Rinna’s husband. Eileen tries to intervene, but Kim snaps and calls her a beast. Eileen summons her years as a storied soap opera star and responds with the perfect “Beast? How dare you.” Kyle literally flees the entire restaurant, too overwhelmed to deal even a little bit. And if that wasn’t enough, Rinna smashes a glass on the table. It’s heaven.
3. The Berkshires, Real Housewives of New York Season 8
They don’t call it the Berzerkshires for nothing. Though the ladies have been there several times now, this is the one that will go down in history. Bethenny mercilessly takes down Luann for sleeping around and not owning it, screaming “You f*ck EVERYONE!” and calling her every synonym for “slut” in the thesaurus. Just when we think things may finally calm down, Luann makes the fatal mistake of insulting Dorinda’s mom’s cake, sending Dorinda into an epic tirade that will live on in Housewives history: “I decorated, I cooked, I made it NICE!”
2. Cartagena, Real Housewives of New York Season 10
Just when we think the New York ladies have peaked, they outdo themselves. This trip has it all: not one, but two fights happening simultaneously at a dinner table, a drunken Dorinda slurring her words with red lipstick smeared across her face, a boat ride so frightening that the women fear for their lives and nearly sh*t themselves, and, finally, a bout of food poisoning that causes almost all of them to actually sh*t themselves.
1. St. John aka Scary Island, Real Housewives of New York Season 3
No one travels better than the women of The Real Housewives of New York, and this trip is the jewel in the crown. There are so many quotable moments that it would be virtually impossible to list them all. Jill Zarin’s “HAAHHAIIIIIIII” as she crashes the trip is bone-chilling. Alex’s attempt to walk seductively during Kelly’s “photoshoot” while channeling her “Johan face” was blood-curdling. But nothing was more frightening than Kelly’s complete and utter mental breakdown “breakthrough” where she rambled on about Al Sharpton, satchels of gold, and jelly beans. I couldn’t GO TO SLEEP even if I tried. At least among all of the darkness we had Turtle Time.
St. Barth, Real Housewives of New York Season 5
“TAKE A XANAX, CALM DOWNNN!”
Beaver Creek, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 2
Taylor in a suitcase.
The Berkshires, Real Housewives of New York Season 6
“Who are you to get me wet?”
Cape Town, Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 4
Shereé and Marlo’s fight, comprised entirely of unintelligible shrieks.
Bali, Real Housewives of Orange County Season 9
Lizzie provoking Tamra to run away and threaten that we would never see her face again (unfortunately she did not make good on that promise) should have earned Lizzie another season.
Of course, only crowning 10 trips with this distinguished honor means that some memorable trips had to be left out. Which were your favorite trips? Let me know in the comments!
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (9)
Last August, Bravo thought they had struck gold when they cast Denise Richards on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. For years, RHOBH had been a flagship show for the network, bringing in big ratings and consistently compelling drama. But in the past couple of seasons, the drama had become stagnant, with no one in the cast seemingly willing to hit below the belt or bring up personal issues. We even wrote at the end of the most recent season that the show had become almost unwatchable. So last year, when Denise Richards was reported to have signed a three-year, $3 million contract, it seemed like Bravo was aware of the issue, and they were bringing in a heavy hitter to stir the pot.
It didn’t really work. season 9 was better than seasons 7 or 8, but we still saw RHOBH falling into the tired pattern of spending most of the season arguing over something that wasn’t that interesting in the first place (if you don’t already know about Puppygate, don’t bother). Denise Richards brought a fresh, carefree energy to her scenes, and she was pretty funny throughout the season, but she didn’t bring the real, compelling drama that the show so desperately needed. And now, there are rumors that her three-season deal won’t quite make it that far. The Beverly Hills ladies are deep into filming for the upcoming tenth season, but word is spreading that Denise Richards might not be back full-time. A source told Hollywood Life, “Denise Richards has actually been MIA from filming a lot just because she’s so busy filming her other projects. She really loves doing Housewives but being an actress is her first priority when it comes to her career and has opened even more doors for her.”
Hmm, okay, I feel like there’s a lot going on in these comments. Of course, Denise Richards is known first and foremost as an actress, so it’s no big scandal that she’s still acting in other projects. But Housewives typically have contracts regarding how much they’re required to appear, and certain obligations that are fairly difficult to get out of (think trips, reunions, major events and parties). According to the anonymous source, Denise has “barely filmed RHOBH so far this season and missed a few events just due to her own acting career which has picked up even more since she signed on for Housewives.” While it’s plausible that a Housewife with an outside career might not be at every single lunch or girls’ night, it seems hard to believe that Denise will get to keep her RHOBH diamond if she’s really “barely filmed” like the source suggests.
Denise has already confirmed that she’ll be returning for the new season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll be back as a full-time Housewife. With the new reports, it seems plausible that she could be back in a part-time role as a friend of the Housewives. While many see this as a demotion (and in some cases, like Vicki Gunvalson’s, it definitely is), I think it might be a smart move for Denise. While many come on these shows with business to promote or aspirations to do ads for CBD oil, Denise is one of the only legit famous women to join Real Housewives, and her acting career isn’t dead, either. Just this year, she joined the main cast of long-running soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, and she has numerous other TV and film projects currently in the works.
While I’m sure that Denise was happy to collect an easy million-dollar paycheck for Housewives, with all these other jobs lined up, it isn’t like she’s hard-pressed for cash. And though I enjoyed her presence on her first season of RHOBH, the anonymous source makes it sound like the reality show isn’t a natural fit for Denise. They said, “She kind of treats RHOBH like a set and the ladies constantly have to remind her it’s real.” I’m dying at the thought of Lisa Rinna telling Denise Richards to snap out of it. Of course, it makes sense that there would be some kind of learning curve for doing a show like this, and not everyone is cut out for reality TV. Even though it’s not a traditional skill like acting, there’s a reason why some women thrive on these shows, and others are quickly forgotten.
But whether or not reality TV is a good fit for Denise, I don’t blame her if she would rather spend her time acting on movie sets than sitting through petty lunches in Beverly Hills. Even though she’s already signed on for the next season, it wouldn’t surprise me if she’s slowly backing away, and keeping her hands out of any messy drama. I like Denise Richards a lot, but she doesn’t need Real Housewives the way most of the cast does. Whatever happens with Denise, I’m just hoping that someone, literally anyone, brings the drama for season 10, because the show desperately needs it.