- Real Housewives of Beverly Hills -Who *Really* Wears The Crown On ‘The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills’?
Vicki Gunvalson may forever refer to herself as “The OG of the OC,” but Lisa Vanderpump undisputedly spent nine glorious seasons as The HB of the BH, until it all came crumbling down.
It's possible the crown started to become loose when she cheekily, but sincerely claimed in her Season 7 Real Housewives of Beverly Hills tagline in 2016, “The crown is heavy, darlings, so just leave it where it belongs." Because when she wore a tiara during her April 2019 appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen the week after viewers saw her dismiss longtime frienemy Kyle Richards from her Villa Rosa home (and, it turned out, her life), we saw just how heavy, and teetering, that crown can be.
The grand fashion statement was trademark LVP, but her storyline at the time wasn't all diamonds and rosé. Her friendships were in tatters (with both Kyle and Dorit Kemsley, following previous public falling outs with former co-stars Adrienne Maloof and Brandi Glanville), she was in the midst of a messy imbroglio involving a dog adoption, and no one seemed to believe her continuing denials that she does not sell stories about her castmates to the tabloids.
It was in June of 2019 when the crown officially fell off: Vanderpump announced she was leaving the series after nine seasons, skipping the reunion and giving little closure to fans, a "bummed" Andy Cohen, and most importantly, Lucy Lucy Apple Juice.
The throne was officially up-for-grabs when the most recent season, Season 10, premiered with the episode “The Crown Isn’t So Heavy.” Throughout the 16 episodes, some of the cast certainly believed they were the one to claim the crown, but who ultimately emotionally fulfilled us? Using five points of comparison — so, an exact science — I've narrowed down the next in line.
Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave
Influencing Her Subjects: Lisa Vanderpump was often accused of trying to manipulate her co-stars, and it’s true that at least part of the reason her friendships flamed out so spectacularly is that so many of the women did follow behind her so closely for quite a while. Teddi was among those followers, but aside from sparking the conversation in Rome about Denise Richards and Brandi, we’ve seen not a shred of evidence that she has leader of the pack potential.
Talking The Talk: And Teddi is no LVP when it comes to a quick quip or a slice of shade. Teddi has shown some evidence of a classic Housewives evolution — the Finding of the Voice (usually happening in a Housewife's second or third season) — but really, she’s just swapped in following LVP with following Kyle, which is something I hate to admit, since that means I agree with Dorit.
Professional Life: Few Housewives are as successful with their businesses like the queen of hospitality, LVP, but you gotta give it up to Teddi here: It took her less than a few seasons on Bravo to scale up that accountability coaching gig of hers from a few clients to a full-fledged organization. And bonus points for having a job that helps others, and for not attempting some fashion-related business despite having no actual style whatsoever, which certainly hasn’t stopped plenty of other Bravolebrities (ahem, Luann de Lesseps).
Demanding The Royal Treatment: Lisa Vanderpump works hard and lives large, from her luxury estate and personal zoo to her fancy cars and designer-stocked, apartment-sized closet. Teddi recently upgraded to a new $6.49 million house, but for the daughter of a rock superstar (c’mon, you can’t not mention it), she lives pretty low key.
Crown-ing Glory (on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the most crown-worthy): One. In fairness to Teddi, she doesn’t seem to want to wear the RHOBH crown. Maybe Sutton went a little far when she said she thought Teddi was going to be boring, but Teddi is down to earth (even if she does like to drop shit-stirring truth bombs at group dinners), which does not make for a consistent enough Real Housewives scene stealer, and certainly not a crown holder.
Influencing Her Subjects: The newest RHOBH star defended friend Denise throughout the entire season, even when it was kinda hard to. She also called out perennial Housewife Kyle for not being friendly or welcoming to her. While she wasn't in a position to sway her subjects just yet, she did earn the respect of the other women, which puts her in a good place moving forward.
Talking The Talk: She’s unafraid to go beyond the surface and ask Erika Girardi about her sex life with 80-something super-lawyer Tom, or ask Sutton the question we're all wondering: where'd she get her money? Kinda like how LVP rattled Eileen Davidson with her attempts to get the scoop on the soap star’s "affair" with now-hubs Vince Van Patten, Garcelle "goes there," like a true reality queen.
Professional Life: The former supermodel is an actor, producer, jewelry designer, children’s author, podcaster, and recently announced daytime talk show host, so she keeps busy.
Demanding The Royal Treatment: She moved into a fancy home she built for herself and her twin sons during Season 10, and her wardrobe is colorful and memorable, best exemplified by the mustard-colored blazer dress with feather sleeves she’s sporting on the reunion.
Crown-ing Glory (on a scale of 1 to 5): Four. Garcelle’s almost got it all, except for the desire to wear the crown. She seems more interested in having fun and legitimately getting to know her co-stars than in manipulating them into agreeing with her all the time.
Influencing Her Subjects: If anyone on the show actually has subjects (well, a paid team of creative and glam professionals) it is Erika Girardi. But when it comes to influencing the other women, rarely do we see Erika play puppetmaster. Her real strengths lie in being the voice of reason (see: taking on Lisa Rinna's Munchhausen claims in Season 6) and delivering deadpan quips during her confessional interviews.
Talking The Talk: As a living, breathing soundbite, Erika certainly knows how to talk the talk and walk the walk (in a very, very good shoe). She doesn't run from confrontation (cough, Denise and Kyle) and barely raises her voice above a smooth speaking voice, even when being confronted about Pantygate.
Professional Life: Being Erika Jayne, and all the singing, dancing, Broadway musicals that entails.
Crown-ing Glory (on a scale of 1 to 5): Four. She has the capacity for everything except the sheer amount of Fake Housewives Drama a Real Housewives queen has to create and tolerate to wear the crown.
Influencing Her Subjects: Dorit, like her frienemy Kyle, thinks she’s wearing the crown in Season 10, but then again, she probably thought she was wearing it when LVP was still around, too. She does get points for confidence, which she is full of, and that is no small thing among a cast full of women who would be only too happy to tear her down (including several who have tried, looking at you, Camille Grammer).
Talking The Talk: If an accent is what you're looking for, then yes, Dorit says a lot of things. And if outfits could communicate, Dorit says a novel's worth with every single fashion decision she makes, no matter how late it makes her.
Professional Life: Swimwear and athleisure wear designer. Respectable.
Demanding The Royal Treatment: Always, despite her family’s alleged financial woes. It is both the most Housewives thing about her, and the most crown-worthy thing about her.
Crown-ing Glory (on a scale of 1 to 5): Four. Close, but no cigar. Dorit wants the crown more than all the other women combined, which may be her downfall. And she knows how to play the part. But like that overdone room she designed at Robert Earl’s Buca di Beppo, she’s just a little too fake to ever truly run the RHOBH crew. Plus, would the crown fit atop all those barrettes?
Influencing Her Subjects: Nah, especially now that she has officially left the show. Denise was all about keeping her own house in tight running order. She doesn’t have time to tell anyone else what to do. But she also doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do.
Talking The Talk: She does love a good F-bomb drop, be it her “I’m fucking Denise Richards, Kyle” instant classic, or the “Bravo, Bravo, fucking Bravo” line she cleverly, but ultimately unsuccessfully, used to try to keep her Brandi scandal off the air.
Professional Life: As the series’ busiest working actor, she’ll be just fine.
Demanding The Royal Treatment: She has access to, and cash to afford, the finer things, but she makes no bones about being most comfy in jeans (and not even the best ones) and a tee. Dig that about her so much.
Crown-ing Glory (on a scale of 1 to 5): If she stayed? A four. See above; Denise wants to do her thing, the way she wants to do it, and she’s cool with the same for the people around her. But “live and let live” has been the motto for no reality TV queen ever, and Denise isn’t going to be the first.
Influencing Her Subjects: As the only remaining original RHOBH cast member, Kyle acts like she’s entitled to the crown LVP left behind. But for most of the series, if she wasn’t following or fighting with Vanderpump, she was painting herself as a victim of someone (her sisters, Brandi, Camille, Taylor, Yolanda, Dorit …).
Talking The Talk: Kyle can be fun, and even funny (sometimes), but among her most annoying qualities is her habit of laughing at her own jokes. It also comes off as a sign of insecurity, something LVP never showed.
Professional Life: Actor, and now fashion designer. She does one of those things well.
Demanding The Royal Treatment: Her wardrobes, like her houses, have grown bigger and more luxurious throughout the seasons, and she never met a vacation or a shopping trip she didn’t like.
Crown-ing Glory (on a scale of 1 to 5): Three. She has been a good friend to many of her co-stars, and she and Mauricio remain the Real Housewives super-couple. But Kyle is best suited to be the respected OG of the cast, not its leader.
Influencing Her Subjects: Rinna’s biggest influence is as the cast pot stirrer, which was fine when she embraced that role. Now she claims to be reformed, but her former friend Denise would probably have quite a bit to say about that.
Talking The Talk: Rinna has renounced her title as show troublemaker multiple times throughout her tenure, and yet still waffled throughout the entire season with her loyalty to Denise (a friendship that pre-dates the show). If Rinna deserves any royal-adjacent item, it would be a ladle-shaped scepter so she can continue to stir the pot.
Professional Life: Actor and duster cardigan-wearing QVC fashion queen.
Demanding The Royal Treatment: She can shop with the best of ‘em, but nothing about Rinna screams opulence, especially when compared to Dorit, Erika, and Sutton. However, she will do anything for a buck, like sell adult diapers, so while she may not demand the royal treatment, she certainly works hard to earn it.
Crown-ing Glory (on a scale of 1 to 5): One. She’d throw the crown under the bus, too.
Influencing Her Subjects: Only if they want advice on gaudy couture.
Talking The Talk: She’s got LVP potential with a quip. Unfortunately, they often come out as shade, and are frequently aimed at lower hanging fruit, like Teddi.
Professional Life: She owns a West Hollywood clothing boutique that gave out gift bags with a $1,200 clutch in them, and gifted bedazzled rain boots to her castmates in Italy.
Demanding The Royal Treatment: She shops at Dolce's house (as in Dolce and Gabbana) and listed her Bel-Air house for just under $9 million earlier this summer. Plus, she may or may not have ever been to an Olive Garden... she's riiiich, hunny.
Crown-ing Glory (on a scale of 1 to 5): One. It will be surprising if Bravo keeps her around for another season, so being anointed the crown keeper feels like a stretch.
And The Queen Is...
Which brings us to, drumroll please… she who wears The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills crown is … Lisa Vanderpump, in a surprise comeback!
OK, OK… Garcelle! Unless she doesn’t return. Then it’s … Erika! Except she really doesn’t want it.
The crown, then, must go to Dorit. And she’d really appreciate it if you could put a Dior logo on it.
Images: John Tsiavis/Bravo