The 15 most unforgettable Real Housewives catchphrases, ranked

The 15 most unforgettable Real Housewives catchphrases, ranked

Counting down the greatest hits from the likes of Lisa Vanderpump, NeNe Leaks, Teresa Giudice, and Bethenny Frankel

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Clockwise L-R: Luann de Lesseps, NeNe Leakes, Erika Jayne Girardi, Kenya Moore, and Lisa Vanderpump
Clockwise from top left: Luann De Lesseps, NeNe Leakes, Erika Jayne Girardi, Kenya Moore, and Lisa Vanderpump
Screenshot: Bravo

There are few surer ways to build your identity into a brand than with a really, really good catchphrase. And a certain group of women knows that better than anyone. Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise—reality TV’s definitive document of messy, fabulous, life-addicted women with expensive taste—has spanned sea to shining sea for years and collected a treasure trove of taglines along the way.

There’s no exact science to what makes a housewife’s chosen catchphrase stand out. After all, not every artist paints with the same brush. For some women, wordplay wins out; for others, a statement as blunt and crystalline as “I don’t want to get old” says more than a million puns ever could. From hundreds of choices, here are 15 of the most iconic, unhinged, and unforgettable catchphrases from the Real Housewives universe. (Needless to say, this is an article best read with a Vida Tequila margarita and a nailed-to-the-floor table by your side.)

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15. “I don’t want to get old.”—Vicki Gunvalson, season 1, Real Housewives Of Orange County

15. “I don’t want to get old.”—Vicki Gunvalson, season 1, Real Housewives Of Orange County

Vicki Gunvalson
Vicki Gunvalson
Photo: Jeff Gentner (Getty Images)

Simple, sweet, and steeped in an air of foreboding, this season-one tagline comes from the OG of all Housewives OGs, Real Housewives Of Orange County’s Vicki Gunvalson. Back in the day, taglines were mostly cribbed from real quotes from the girls throughout the season—there was less opportunity for metered artistry, but more room for serendipitous perfection. Gunvalson’s “I don’t want to get old” is one of those quotes that hints at a world of depth beneath the surface. How iconic is it to make an audience’s first impression of you that you regularly grapple with the inevitability of mortality and death? It’s no wonder she spent a whopping 12 seasons on the series—and remained relevant throughout. Loss of youth doesn’t hold a candle to longevity.

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14. “I have a taste for luxury, and luxury has a taste for me.”—Sonja Morgan, season 4, Real Housewives Of New York 

14. “I have a taste for luxury, and luxury has a taste for me.”—Sonja Morgan, season 4, Real Housewives Of New York 

Sonja Morgan
Sonja Morgan
Photo: Arturo Holmes (Getty Images)

This list just wouldn’t be complete without a Sonja Morgan entry. One of the most genuinely open-hearted housewives, Morgan often found herself a peacemaker among the girls despite her own conflicts (and the judgment she received for her charmingly unencumbered sex positivity). Early on in her 10-season arc, the J.P. Morgan heiress established her stop-and-smell-the-roses joie de vivre with this line, which feels glamorous just rolling off the tongue. It’s a quote as timeless as Morgan (my personal favorite housewife), who by her own account is as timeless as New York City.

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13. “When you take cheap shots, always expect a hangover.”— Lisa Barlow, Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City

13. “When you take cheap shots, always expect a hangover.”— Lisa Barlow, Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City

Lisa Barlow
Lisa Barlow
Photo: Leon Bennett (Getty Images)

The indomitable Lisa Barlow proves she has the Real Housewives format under her thumb with this one, which has sass, succinctness, and a heavy-handed dose of self-promotion. Barlow has fronted her tequila company, Vida Tequila, more than a few times around the girls. Why not take advantage of the slayage potential inherent in each week’s opening credits by reminding viewers at home cheap shots don’t mix with Barlow’s expensive constitution (or her penchant for disengaging)?

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12. “If you’re going to talk about me behind my back, at least check out my great ass.”—Carole Radziwill, Real Housewives Of New York

12. “If you’re going to talk about me behind my back, at least check out my great ass.”—Carole Radziwill, Real Housewives Of New York

Carole Radziwill
Carole Radziwill
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)

Throughout her five seasons on Real Housewives Of New York, journalist Carole Radziwill was a presence unlike any other: a regular Carrie Bradshaw type, married to a Kennedy, and as funny and laidback as they come. This tagline stands out because it exemplified Carole and her slot on the show—that is, self-confident, no-bullshit, and more partial to face-to-face conversations (or confrontations) than punches thrown in the confessional. Carole, we miss you every day.

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11. “The word on the street is that I’m the word on the street.”— Gizelle Bryant, season 1, Real Housewives Of Potomac

11. “The word on the street is that I’m the word on the street.”— Gizelle Bryant, season 1, Real Housewives Of Potomac

Gizelle Bryant
Gizelle Bryant
Photo: Dia Dipasupil (Getty Images)

No one in Housewives history has been more dedicated to continuity through catchphrases than Potomac’s Gizelle Bryant. Bryant’s no-nonsense season-one catchphrase established her legacy perfectly—so perfectly, in fact, that she’s stuck with a notably similar formula as seasons go on. In season two, she returned with an update: “The word on the street is that I’m still the word on the street.” And in season three, she laughed in the face of naysayers who dared believe a third time wasn’t the charm, making her go-to quote “If you don’t like the word on the street, stop listening.” Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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10. “The only thing I’m guilty of is being Shah-mazing.”—Jen Shah, season 2, Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City

10. “The only thing I’m guilty of is being Shah-mazing.”—Jen Shah, season 2, Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City

Jen Shah
Jen Shah
Screenshot: Bravo

Few new-generation housewives have made quite as significant a splash as Jen Shah, whose on-camera arrest for fraud in season two immediately joined the ranks of the franchise’s most memorable moments. Through her catchphrase, Shah bravely toted her innocence while also employing one of her tried and true (and likely copyrighted) taglines. But the ingenuity of this one didn’t fully settle in until July of 2021, months after her arrest, when Shah ... pled guilty in court to a little bit more than being Shah-mazing.

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9. “Don’t mess with the boss, because you might get fired.”—Kandi Burruss, season 10, Real Housewives Of Atlanta

9. “Don’t mess with the boss, because you might get fired.”—Kandi Burruss, season 10, Real Housewives Of Atlanta

Kandi Burruss
Kandi Burruss
Photo: Leon Bennett (Getty Images)

Like an onion, Kandi Burruss’ season 10 tagline has layers. During season nine of RHOA, Burruss’ castmate Phaedra Parks spread harmful rumors about Kandi and her husband Todd Tucker. (And when the untruths were revealed during the season nine reunion, Phaedra was fired from the cast.) This tagline is Burruss’ version of the high road—sly, smart, and just the right amount of self-congratulation. Plus, it’s the very nature of reality TV to swoon over “behind the scenes” drama that barely exists behind the scenes. Burruss knew how to capitalize on this—and wasn’t afraid to.

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8. “I used to flip tables, now I’m turning them.”—Teresa Giudice, season 7, Real Housewives Of New Jersey

8. “I used to flip tables, now I’m turning them.”—Teresa Giudice, season 7, Real Housewives Of New Jersey

Teresa Giudice
Teresa Giudice
Photo: Rich Polk (Getty Images)

Teresa Giudice and her big, brazen family created some of New Jersey’s most iconic moments long before she found herself serving time. If you don’t remember her daughter Gia’s rousing “Sad Song,” you can certainly recall an irate Giudice flipping a fully set and served dinner table during RHONJ’s season-one finale in 2009. Although it took her six seasons to take ownership of the drama, the restorative nature of this tagline–cue Adele!—smoothly hints at a cross-franchise all-time moment while setting up a longtime star for some character development.

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7. “I’m not a housewife, but I am real.”—Bethenny Frankel, season 7, Real Housewives Of New York

7. “I’m not a housewife, but I am real.”—Bethenny Frankel, season 7, Real Housewives Of New York

Bethenny Frankel
Bethenny Frankel
Photo: Rich Polk (Getty Images)

Although it’s somewhat surprising it took so long for a franchise to grasp onto likely the simplest catchphrase of all time, props to Frankel for getting her hands on it. Really, this tagline wouldn’t fit another cast member better, as Frankel was known for a down-to-earth affect in comparison to compatriots like Ramona Singer and Luann De Lesseps. She didn’t dally in frivolity but wasn’t afraid to get her hands proverbially (and as a chef, literally) dirty. Traditional housewife or not, Bethenny’s “realness” made for some great TV. And without her, the phrase “Scary Island” wouldn’t mean a thing.

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6. “If you’re not cool, you can’t be with the Countess.”—Countess Luann De Lesseps, season 8, Real Housewives Of New York

6. “If you’re not cool, you can’t be with the Countess.”—Countess Luann De Lesseps, season 8, Real Housewives Of New York

Luann de Lesseps
Luann De Lesseps
Photo: Phillip Faraone (Getty Images)

“Be cool. Don’t be all, like, uncool.” When (former) Countess Luann De Lesseps said those words in RHONY season seven, the air in New York blew colder for a moment. (Some say a shooting star flew behind the Empire State Building, lighting up the sky for just a second.) One of the most iconic quotes in the Housewives universe, De Lesseps made sure to capitalize on the zinger’s popularity come season eight, transforming it into a weirder and more wonderful statement that just never goes out of style. As De Lesseps told (or sang to) viewers in season one, money can’t buy you class—elegance is learned.

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5. “This Phoenix has risen and I’m sayin’ ‘Bye Ashes.’”—Porsha Williams, season 12, Real Housewives Of Atlanta

5. “This Phoenix has risen and I’m sayin’ ‘Bye Ashes.’”—Porsha Williams, season 12, Real Housewives Of Atlanta

Porsha Williams
Porsha Williams
Photo: Tibrina Hobson (Getty Images)

This one is just … perfect. I want this tattooed across my chest so I can feel it next to my heart. I want the sound of Porsha Williams uttering these words to be my alarm each morning. I want this quote on my headstone. When it comes to the niche sub-genre of “Housewives catchphrases that indicate some kind of desire for personal growth,” Williams’ unique, fun update on a classic couldn’t be better if Plato himself penned it. Season 12 found Williams struggling in her marriage amidst her husband’s infidelity, making this catchphrase a mantra of sorts—and there’s no law in Georgia (that I’m aware of) that forbids a healing relationship mantra from having some bite to it.

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4. “I’m passionate about dogs, just not crazy about bitches.”—Lisa Vanderpump, season 6, Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills

4. “I’m passionate about dogs, just not crazy about bitches.”—Lisa Vanderpump, season 6, Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills

Lisa Vanderpump
Lisa Vanderpump
Photo: Rodin Eckenroth (Getty Images)

Leave it to Lisa Vanderpump (who followed up her notorious Housewives run with her own spinoff, Vanderpump Rules) to provide the cameras with a layered, iconic quote worthy of a million slim-fit V-neck T-shirts. This catchphrase encompasses everything: Vanderpump’s well-documented adoration for dogs, her even more well-documented disdain for her castmates’ antics, and her unmatched quips. Best of all, the catchphrase had continuity— Vanderpump’s comically high-stakes season five quote was “Throw me to the wolves, and I shall return, leading the pack.” So ... Lisa Vanderpump’s The Grey sequel when?

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3. “I won Miss USA, not Miss Congeniality.”—Kenya Moore, season 5, Real Housewives Of Atlanta

3. “I won Miss USA, not Miss Congeniality.”—Kenya Moore, season 5, Real Housewives Of Atlanta

Kenya Moore
Kenya Moore
Photo: Paras Griffin (Getty Images)

One of the franchise’s greatest villains, Kenya Moore joined the Atlanta crew in season five and brought with her an attitude as old as reality TV itself: “I’m not here to make friends.” Moore’s update on the sentiment cleverly references the fact that she is a former Miss USA, establishing both her background and her general philosophy for the season, all in seven words. With this phrase in mind, it’s less of a wonder Moore once threw a supremely ill-fated divorce surprise party for Phaedra Parks and Cynthia Bailey.

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2. “I’m an enigma, wrapped in a riddle and cash.”—Erika Jayne Girardi, season 6, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

2. “I’m an enigma, wrapped in a riddle and cash.”—Erika Jayne Girardi, season 6, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Erika Jayne Girardi
Erika Jayne Girardi
Photo: Amy Sussman (Getty Images)

Who could’ve known, when Erika Jayne Girardi introduced her first catchprase to the world, just how ridiculously apt it would go on to be? Much of Girardi’s onscreen drama in recent seasons has related to the off-screen dirty dealings of her ex-husband Tom Girardi, including allegedly embezzling settlement funds meant to be dispersed to those who lost loved ones in a 2018 Boeing plane crash. As lawsuits upon lawsuits have piled up for the couple, it remains thoroughly unclear just how much Erika knew about his unlawful financial actions—and comments she made on a girls’ trip to Aspen didn’t help. If a great tagline uniquely personifies the housewife who utters it, Girardi had one here— and one that grew better with age to boot.

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1. “I don’t keep up with the Joneses; I am the Joneses.”—NeNe Leakes, season 1, Real Housewives Of Atlanta

1. “I don’t keep up with the Joneses; I am the Joneses.”—NeNe Leakes, season 1, Real Housewives Of Atlanta

NeNe Leakes
NeNe Leakes
Photo: Mike Coppola (Getty Images)

After years on the air and more iterations than you can count on one hand, the Housewives population grows bigger and stronger every day. Yet despite all that, in some ways, Atlanta’s NeNe Leakes will always be the backbone of the franchise. Leakes was brash, hilarious, and said whatever was on her mind, whenever. Her arc both catapulted her to fan-favorite status and set the tone and pacing for the series’ first season. That all began with one catchphrase, a statement so simple, confident, and definitive it managed to say everything about a pivotal housewife in 11 words.

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