The Real Housewives of Atlanta changed the Bravo TV franchise forever. After putting the Southern locale center stage, the Housewives brand became more Bad Girls Club than Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous. When the franchise first started it was about women feigning opulence and slamming each other at fancy lunches. Thanks to these Georgia peaches the series morphed into a hair-pulling, insult spewing shade-fest that has incurred ratings success and major attention.
But in taking a look at the women who have earned this reputation, it is tough to determine who is the most trashy, ratchet, classless... you get the idea. Although none of these ladies veers into posh territory, some go above and beyond, with extra-marital affairs, felonious businesses, and smoking Newports. We’ve ranked all the ladies of Real Housewives of Atlanta to determine the hierarchy of tackiness.
11. DeShawn Snow
DeShawn gets a pass because she is smart in how she handles her time on the show. She wasn’t ratings gold because she kept her private life private. She did have a major divorce from husband Eric Snow when he cheated and left her for another woman. However, she lost 30 pounds, continues to work with her foundation, and has released some children’s books. That’s not half bad.
10. Kenya Moore
It’s a little controversial to have Kenya so high on this list. Kenya may be conniving, with questionable moral fiber, and a troublemaker, but she behaves in a pretty dignified manner. Unlike other housewives, she lives within her means. It doesn’t look like any repo men will be knocking at her door. Her music video wasn't a production value powerhouse. But, hey, she hasn’t had any businesses go into foreclosure or a criminal record, so she's doing okay. Considering her issues with her mother and her verbally abusive father, she often is pretty composed, and even slightly respectful even during a fight. Despite a major altercation in the Season 6 reunion special, Kenya is the one who gets attacked.
9. Porsha Stewart
Is Porsha too stupid to be judged harshly? When she arrives on the show she has a very unhealthy relationship with Kordell Stewart but she doesn’t really play the reindeer games the other ladies do. She does call Kenya ashy in a hilarious moment but she doesn’t really go to the gutter level. However, with her position on the show in jeopardy she quickly ups the ante. She’s currently on the cusp of being fired for getting physical with Kenya Moore. She also has bought into the "fake it 'til you make it" mentality, living in a huge house and shopping left and right without much money. Let’s also not forget Kordell talking about her evictions and her mother eating an entire pepperoni pizza on his bed.
8. Lisa Wu
The level of Lisa’s trashiness is up in the air. While she was on the show she was presented as a successful businesswoman and mother. She was often a voice of reason and it was only on the reunion special that she threatened to attack Kim Zolciak. However, most of the businesses she was plugging on the show are not in existence today. Also, she has two divorces under her belt, including one with Keith Sweat, who has custody of their two children. She's no longer with Ed Hartwell, her husband on Real Housewives. It’s not quite clear what is happening behind closed doors, but is there a reason she doesn't have custody of her children?
7. Cynthia Bailey
Cynthia is tough to categorize. She’s well composed, polished, and stunningly beautiful. She often seems above all the petty fighting and bickering. However, her husband Peter Thomas hardly helps her cause. He’s the one who makes questionable business decisions, yells at her on camera, and is always ready for a fight. Still, even if Cynthia was as ratchet as her husband she wouldn’t be close to some of the other women on the show. So maybe she gets a pass. After all, her modeling school does seem somewhat legit, right?
6. Kandi Burruss
Kandi has always been the most successful and composed of the housewives. However, this season we saw what lies beneath. First, her mother starts a potential fist fight at her wedding dress fitting. Now that isn’t ratchet behavior by Kandi but it is definitely a clue. When a fight breaks out at NeNe’s pajama drama jam things get ugly fast and Kandi shows she’s more hood than she looks. So it seems like when she's talked about clocking girls... she might have been serious. A girl knows how to fight.
5. NeNe Leakes
NeNe often hides her trashy behavior behind her alternate personality, NayNay. She can afford to drop the attitude occasionally and be the original real NeNe we fell in love with. She has the distinction of having fought with every housewife on the seriesm, along with Latoya Jackson and Star Jones. She also doesn't care who, when, or where she's going off on someone. Some of these fights have even gone physical. Plus, despite how exemplary she and her husband Gregg Leakes seem to be at parenting, their son did wind up in the slammer jail.
4. Kim Zolciack-Beerman
Where do we begin with Kim? Is it the Kim with the super fake looking synthetic hair who changed into a trashy mini-dress in a parking lot? Or the woman with the notorious family issues including children by three different fathers? Or do we look at the woman who profited off of a song without giving any money to her producers? Let’s also not forget that Kim had a long time affair with her sugar daddy Big Poppa, Lee Najjar, who was married at the time.
3. Marlo Hampton
Marlo was arrested seven times! 'Nuff said.
2. Phaedra Parks
Phaedra is one of the most fun characters on the show. However, she does have a lot going on. Her public face is mother of two, businesswoman, lawyer, and Southern belle. But, occasionally, there is a side of her that comes out that puts her public face in question. For example, how much of a high-class celebrity lawyer can she be if she’s representing a guy with tinted windows and taking her payment in cash in the courthouse parking lot. Her possibly soon-to-be ex-husband Apollo Nida is in trouble with the law again. There is even a tell-all by Angela Stanton called Lies of a Real Housewife: Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil. The book alleges that Phaedra was the mastermind behind the charges that Stanton and Nida were charged with. Occasionally, Phaedra’s façade cracks and we see what she's really like underneath. See for yourself:
1. Sheree Whitfield
Congratulations Sheree! Not only is so much of her “success” questionable, but she will also get roughneck when she needs to. Both She by Sheree and Château Sheree were a huge bust. She got into multiple fights with her fellow housewives, all beginning with the pulling of Kim’s wig). Her appearance on Iyanla: Fix My Life didn’t make anything better. It looks like the only one who is going to check her... is herself.
Now is the about the time in the Real Housewives of Atlanta season when the ladies can get super annoying. This week's episode is meant to prepare us for the upcoming finale. However, it’s really showing the ladies at their worst. This episode takes the worst of each lady and puts it on display, in a big way.
This episode begins with NeNe Leakes, Gregg Leakes, and Peter Thomas resuming their fight. NeNe’s holier-than-thou attitude is getting old. In the past, she has proved to be great at producing some memorable reality moments. However, she’s suffering from an ego inflation problem that would make Kanye West say, “You might want to take it down a notch.” Her television career is tenuous at best and if she alienates her following she will go the way of Danielle Staub. There’s a farm just outside of Pleasantville, N.Y. where old housewives are sent to pasture. Lisa Wu Hartwell and Jill Zarin are eating cud and starting drama over who has the shiniest coat.
Kandi Burruss is a bit tired with the whole constant product placement. Bethenny Frankel made millions by establishing a brand and then successfully selling it. Kandi, on the other hand, is just selling anything and everything. This season, her storyline about her problems with her mother are the basis for a musical that she’s producing on the show. Her place of business is named for her horrible Bravo spin-off The Kandi Factory which is also known as America’s 500th attempt to replicate American Idol. Her status as a businesswoman is suspect because she’s entertaining contract negotiations with Porsha Stewart. This is the woman who had to be convinced that the Underground Railroad was not an actual train. If Kandi called in more musician pals rather than Real Housewives, her play would be taken more seriously.
Kandi has a needlessly elaborate press opportunity for her show. She enlists two high school students, from her alma mater, to star in her show. Hopefully, they will be getting paid. She really shouldn’t show rehearsals for a show that hasn’t been work-shopped. Even though it has Eddie Levert, which Kandi mentions every five minutes, rehearsals without a live band and a stage don’t mean anything to strangers. It really does look like they’re prepping for Ratchet: The Musical. It looks like Porsha thinks she’s too good to star in the production… and she just might be.
Porsha is annoying with her complete obliviousness. She’s pretty and simple but she’s completely misguided. She is icing out Kandi’s production but what else would she be doing? She doesn’t seem to be qualified to do anything professionally other than being pretty. She goes out with her sister and friends, looking like a busted version of Girlfriends. Porsha flirts with the best guy the local acting pool could provide.
Cynthia Bailey has no backbone. She gets verbally abused by her husband and by her friend NeNe. The whole reason her husband is getting into “women business” is because their lives are boring. Being broke and struggling isn’t engaging. This whole fighting with NeNe storyline feels manufactured. It’s hypocritical for Gregg to attack Peter when NeNe wants Peter not involved in the drama of the show. Plus, Cynthia and Peter are one paycheck away from using their studios, For Lease... or whatever it’s called.
Phaedra Parks is lovably bizarre and chock full of the most delicious reads. And yet, why would a successful attorney want to spend the time and money to become a mortician? All of her business ventures are a little questionable considering her husband, Apollo Nida is in hot water with the law over his various “businesses.”
Did someone mention deluded? Kenya Moore is acting particularly kooky this episode. She’s celebrating her desperate attempts to keep Marlo Hampton on the show. She has a woman come by to teach her how to be a mother. This involves getting a baby doll that’s programmed to track how well Kenya will take care of it. Hopefully she doesn’t leave the baby in Narnia when she’s visiting her boyfriend the Prince. She even takes the doll shopping and just seems to be trying too hard.
Speaking of trying too hard, the inevitable confrontation between NeNe and Cynthia happens. It looks like it’s happening at a Bennigans. If you think this fight will be full of quotables or if NeNe will pull a big piece of bric-a-brac off the wall and bludgeon Peter… you’re wrong. Instead, this awkward small talk happens without much fanfare. It’s completely contrived. Cynthia and Peter would never have a falling out with NeNe A.K.A. Mama Paycheck. It’s evident when Cynthia hands her husband’s drink over to NeNe. NeNe isn’t apologetic and neither Cynthia or Peter have the nerve to really take her on. They end the fight by all holding hands. If only it was after a 12-step meeting for fame-whore addiction.
Best Lines of the Night
"That’s crazy to call someone’s husband a bitch…but we are talking about Peter." – Porsha
"Poor Cynthia. She doesn’t know what’s going on. She’s got a contract with NeNe to be her friend and it’s her husband that’s in the fire." – Phaedra
"I don’t want to name my child Apollo because I don’t want him to go to jail. I don’t want to name my child Porsha because I want them to find the United States on the map and I don’t want them to be NeNe because I want them to actually be born with hair." – Kenya
"Not many folks want to fall asleep at the funeral home. We might be lurking around to take them to the back." – Phaedra
"You know that she’s the only person with an understudy. Mmm Hmm." – Kandi about Porsha’s role