Let’s face facts, shall we? Without the hair-flipping, insult-spewing women of reality TV, life would a lot less interesting. (We don’t want to picture a world without the phrase, “I’m very rich, bitch,” to be frank.) From the over-Botoxed Real Housewives ladies to Love & Hip Hop’s shady goddesses, women absolutely dominate the reality television world. And we’re so here for it.
But who is the ultimate Reality TV Queen? (And yes, that’s an official title.) Who has the perfect mix of snappy one-liners, savvy business instincts, and on-point style to reign supreme? Well, that’s what VH1 is determined to find out, with your help.
Today kicks off our Reality TV Queen competition, and it is your job to crown her. It’s a daunting task, we know, but you can do it. We have faith!
Here’s how it works. We picked 12 women who all rock the reality TV game in their own fab AF ways. Get to know them below, and cast your vote in the poll at the bottom of this post. All week, we’ll bring you more factoids about these ladies—their classic TV moments, craziest outfits, tons of fun stuff! You can vote until the poll closes Thursday, August 27 at 8 p.m. So let’s get started, shall we?
No reality TV queen competition is complete without Kim. She is certainly not the funniest or most outrageous Kardashian sister, but yet Kim is the cultural touchstone of the family. We’re obsessed with her—and we don’t know why. She’s transformed a soapy reality career into an international empire, and that is pretty badass. Don’t get it twisted, though, she does have her entertaining moments that equal television gold. (We worship her crying face and penchant for taking selfies at inopportune moments, tbh.) Plus, Kim is married to Kanye West, and her daughter North is the sassiest (i.e. best) baby on Earth. A modern-day Mother Teresa. —Christopher Rosa
NeNe Leakes has done more for pop culture by simply existing than most reality TV stars can lay claim to. Memes, Dubsmash videos, quotes. So many good things have come out of NeNe’s Real Housewives persona, which has actually advanced her career more than anything. NeNe is so ingrained in our culture, she managed to transcend reality TV with roles on Glee and The New Normal, as well as a Broadway run on Cinderella as the wicked stepmother. Call her stubborn, call her mean, call her what you want. She’s highly entertaining and she calls it like she sees it. Oh, and she’s very rich, bitch. Bloop! —Alexa Tietjen
Listen, don’t act like Heidi and her damn mood crystals didn’t give you life on The Hills. (Well, the crystals were actually Husband of the Year Spencer Pratt’s idea, but Heidi jumped on the bandwagon flawlessly.) Sure, she wasn’t the star of The Hills, but Heidi’s brazen antics made her infinitely more fun to watch than her former BFF Lauren Conrad. Her talent for trolling LC at random events and picking fights should be applauded. (Remember that epic, “You know what you did!” spat from The Hills’ third season?) She is the essence of delicious, catty reality froth. Mix in some cuckoo-bananas plastic surgery, an iconic music career, and several shameless publicity stunts, and you have a chick who knows how to play the fame game. And isn’t that what reality TV is all about? —CR
I don’t think reality TV would go on if it weren’t for the Kween Kris Jenner. Actually, I don’t even think life would go on. Let’s face it, the world’s most famous, envied fam wouldn’t have shit if it weren’t for this momager boss lady calling the shots like the savvy media beast she is. She’s fugging fabulous and preaches the importance of family, always. I’m done here. —Taylor Ferber
Bethenny is a reality TV personality-turned-businesswoman. She’s authored four books, started a Skinny Girl business (the lime-flavored popcorn is choice), and landed her own shows outside of Real Housewives, including a talk show. Bethenny’s most powerful asset, though, isn’t any of these. It’s the fact that she knows herself and isn’t willing to change for anyone. Bethenny can be unapologetically bitchy and abrasive, and you can always count on her to tell it like it is. What’s more, though, is that she’ll be the first to admit to all of these things. She is the realest, and what more could you ask for from a reality TV queen? —AT
Tamar is, without a doubt, the reality TV queen because she’s a pioneer for shade in the 21st century. Her quick slogans like “tried it,” “stay with it,” “she did that,” and “lies” are contagious. It’s safe to say she made the terms “Getchoe life” and “Take/Have several seats” the phenomenon they are today. Not to mention she’s made speaking in third person cool. She’s also made a very successful career for herself after reality TV. Always a star in her own right, she was never in her Grammy-nominated sister Toni’s shadow on Braxton Family Values. Tamar is now a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, talk show host on Fox’s The Real, and has her own reality TV show, Tamar & Vince. She wins! —Isha Thorpe
Angela “Big Ang” Raiola
Listen, Big Ang is classy AF. She is a fan favorite for all who watch her show. While everyone is constantly fighting and getting emotional, Ang is always the voice of reason. She’s consistently cool, calm and collected—which is quite rare in reality TV. Ang should be the queen because she shows viewers that not all reality females are cray cray. You can still be the ish and loved and honored in these streets without constant drama in your life. Ang is a prime example that being strong but cordial can get you respect, too. Praise her! —IT
Tami grew up on TV. When she joined the second season of MTV’s The Real World in 1993, she had just graduated from Howard University and reality TV was in its infancy. On The Real World, Tami was in a girl group, she had her jaw wired shut, and infamously got in a faux-fight-turned-real-fight with housemate David, which resulted in “It wasn’t not funny” and him being kicked off the show. All that, and at 22 years old, Tami had an abortion on national television. Truly growing with the genre, Tami later joined the cast of VH1’s original Basketball Wives and fell right into the reality soap opera with ease. At this point in her career, T knows how to deliver a one-liner with aplomb and how to mediate or initiate the drama depending on her mood. Her breadth of work on reality TV (I’m serious) is so diverse, she truly has evolved with the game and is still kicking. —Damian Bellino
Joseline catapulted to fame as the artist slash mistress to Stevie J on VH1’s wildly popular Love & Hip Hop spinoff, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta. The self-proclaimed Puerto Rican Princess has influenced a generation of reality TV fans who just want to be the “Baddest Boosh” (see also: bad b—h). With her makeup always done and her sharp tongue and questionable take on the English language, Joseline is both hilarious and terrifying, which is basically the definition of queen. —DB
Tiffany “New York” Pollard
Tiffany was christened “New York” by Flavor Flav own VH1’s own Bachelor-like series Flavor of Love in 2006 and a (reality) star was born. In a post-Survivor, pre-Real Housewives world, Tiffany became the first reality personality to create a persona so hilarious, over-the-top, and fabulous. Before the NeNes of the world gave us “bloop” and the Joselines of the world were the “Baddest Boosh,” Tiffany was the HBIC full of one-liners and catchphrases that live on in infamy nearly 10 years later. Tumblrs and Vine accounts are devoted to just her brilliance as a reality personality. Housewives, bow down, because the HBIC taught you how to make reality TV a true art form. A pioneer, a kween. —DB
“It’s on, bitch.” Three words, and you have an icon. You can thank K. Cav for making Laguna so damn entertaining and pulling you out of the depression that was watching a constantly-crying LC on The Hills. She’s just such an unapologetic, bad bitch, but also a great time. A combo that’s almost an art to attain. We would totally hang out IRL. I love it. —TF
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
For starters, Jersey Shore would have been nothing without the 4’8″ queen known as Snooki. Not to mention that, without her, the world would be deprived of words like “smush” and “cuca.” She may be tiny, but she sure can pack a punch. Even though everyone else in the house could (and did) throw her over the shoulder with ease, you can guarantee Snooki would not back down from a fight. She was so open and so honest, it was refreshing. Especially after a drink or two, Snooki had no problems letting her mouth run wild. This guidette puts the “real” in “reality television.” —Ali Read
You have all the facts, so let’s get down to business. Cast your vote for the ultimate Reality TV Queen in the poll below. And tell your friends! Summon the armies, y’all. Things are about to get ugly.
Check out more from VH1’s month-long Keepin’ It Real reality TV package.