Every ‘Real Housewives’ Cast Member on Variety’s “40 Most Powerful Women in Reality TV” List


The Big Picture

  • Variety released their “40 Most Powerful Women on Reality TV” list, including household names and newcomers from different networks.
  • The list recognized the achievements of trans drag performer Sasha Colby, who made history as the first native Hawaiian trans person to win RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15.
  • Seven Bravo housewives made the cut, including Lisa Vanderpump, Kyle Richards, Jenna Lyons, Teresa Giudice, Heather Gay, Kandi Burruss, and Tamra Judge, each bringing their unique contributions to the reality TV genre.

With the year coming to an end, reality TV is reaching its apex with fresh content, harsh competition shows, new dating shows, lifestyle shows, and a Bravo fans’ favorite: The Real Housewives franchise. As expected, Variety did their list for their “40 Most Powerful Women on Reality TV” in 2023, which came out on November 21. The list includes an array of reality TV royalty and big household names. To some people’s surprise, an inclusive choice was made, as trans drag performer Sasha Colby made the list too. Sasha came to prominence on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 this year by becoming the “first native Hawaiian trans person to win the show”.

The criteria behind the selection seem pretty clear; according to Variety, “These women have not only helped make unscripted television entertaining but have also found a way to reach audiences in a fresh way”. Some of them were asked the question, “What other reality TV show would they choose to be on?” Variety also included some newcomers from different networks and lesser-known faces like Below Deck Down Under star Aesha Scott, Vanderpump RulesAriana Madix, Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test star Jojo Siwa, The Bachelor breakout star Charity Lawson, Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba, and more.

As for groups of celebrities or pairs that made the cut, Variety included the world-renowned cast of Hulu‘s The Kardashians, Mary Bonnet, and Chrishell Stause from Selling Sunset, The D’Amelio Sisters with their mother from The D’Amelio Show, and from Shark Tank, Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner. Below are the seven Bravo housewives who made the cut for their work and service to the reality TV audience. Shocker: Bethenny Frankel did not make the list.

Two ‘RHOBH’ OG’s Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards Made the List

Image via Bravo

They were the only two original housewives from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to be on the list. It’s no surprise that Kyle Richards’ name has been on every reality TV outlet this year. Her separation from Mauricio Umansky was the breakout news piece earlier this year and is an ongoing topic of discussion on RHOBH season 13. Kyle is the only OG from this franchise who remains as a main housewife after 13 seasons.

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A former friend of Kyle’s and also an OG is British Lisa Vanderpump. Not only did Lisa excel as a housewife, but she broke records by getting nominated for her Housewives’ spin-off, Vanderpump Rules. She plays her role as executive producer and as boss restaurateur on her show that gave us this year’s Sandoval—the cheating scandal that made its place in reality TV history. When asked about another she’d like to be on, she answered, “Top Chef. I’m a restaurateur, and I love food!”

‘RHONY’s Fashion Mogul and Influencer, Jenna Lyons

Jenna Lyons
Image via Bravo

Jenna Lyons was the underdog influencer on this season of The Real Housewives of New York. She went on to promote her lash brands among her other castmates. With a quiet yet observant nature, Jenna brought her quirkiness to the table and proved that she can be both a reality star and a fashion mogul. Jenna served as the creative director of J. Crew for years before getting cast on RHONY. Lyons broke a record for being the first openly gay housewife on any Housewives franchise.

‘RONJ’ Household Name, Teresa Giudice

Teresa Giudice on 'RHONJ'
Image via Bravo

Teresa Giudice’s thick Jersey accent and her big personality made her a Housewives landmark. Since she first joined The Real Housewives of New Jersey in 2009 and after her prison comeback, fans of Teresa know that she will not hold back an inch when it comes to defending her family, despite their complicated inner relationships. Fans will also know for her beef with Melissa Gorga. Many memes have been made with her likeness, yet she remains kind to her fans, who call themselves “Tre huggers”. She states, “The biggest misconception about me is that people see me on television reacting passionately while defending my family and those that I am loyal to and think that is how I am all the time… On the contrary, I am a fun, bubbly, caring, and light-hearted woman who has persevered through so much.”

‘Bad Mormon’ and Star of ‘RHOSLC,’ Heather Gay

Heather Gay 'WWHL'
Image via Bravo

Heather Gay used to be Salt Lake City’s poster child for Mormonism. Her journey to leave the Mormon Church led her to become a spokesperson for freedom. In a courageous act, Heather published her bestseller memoir titled Bad Mormon this year and stands by her values of being a good mother to her children, a good friend, family member, and citizen. Not to mention her witty, sarcastic humor and her funny comebacks when arguing with the other housewives. “Below Deck. I fell in love with the yachting life. I love being part of a team, and I’m not afraid of hard work or close quarters”, says Heather about another reality show she could be on.

‘RHOA’ and Grammy-Winning Songwriter, Kandi Burruss

Kandi Burruss RHOA contestant promo photo 2021
Image from Bravo TV

Before becoming a housewife on season 2 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kandi Burruss was already famous for her Grammy Award-winning songwriting. Her artistic craft and her touch with people have helped her stay out of most of the drama that goes down with her castmates. Kandi has managed to promote her podcasts, businesses, and music, all while delivering iconic reality TV moments—”The Lies, the Lies, the Lies” being one of them. When Variety asked her about another show she would like to be on, she said she could be on anything on HGTV: “I love seeing the potential for homeowners to see the value in a home that they felt like was no longer suitable for them, and what would be their alternative options for a new life and their dream home.”

Orange County’s Tamra Judge

Image via Bravo

“That’s my opinion!” wouldn’t be a thing if it weren’t for Tamra Judge‘s iconic one-liners. Tamra has so many ups and downs and a love-hate televised friendship with her longtime castmates, Vicky Gunvalson and Shanon Beador. Ever since joining The Real Housewives of Orange County in season 3, Tamra’s had a rocky journey on reality TV. She paused her Bravo contract for a while and has made an astonishing comeback to the silver screen. She returned and hit the ground running on season 17 of the show. “I love all the housewife shows. ‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ is at the top of my list right now. Outside of Bravo, I can’t get enough of ‘House of Villains’ on E!”, she explained to Variety.

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