Kandi Burruss
(Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Top Iconic Real Housewives Who Are Not Original Cast Members

The title of OG is a rarity these days on Bravo. An OG started from Season 1 and created an impact that essentially leveled up the show. Real Housewives of Atlanta lost NeNe Leakes. RHOA continued without her, but she was a formidable presence on the network for years. Real Housewives of Beverly Hills said goodbye to Lisa Vanderpump a few seasons back. Like it or not, Lisa’s absence is still felt today. Current and former cast members still can’t stop talking about her.

Then we have Real Housewives who weren’t on board when the program premiered but maybe slid in Season 2 or shortly thereafter. They have become organic members of their franchise and you basically can’t remember the episodes prior to their introduction. You might even assume they are an OG, given the contributions made to further storylines and drama. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite Real Housewives who might have OG status but cannot be fully certified.

Real Housewives Of Atlanta / Kenya Moore

Can you believe we are 14 seasons into RHOA? It blows my mind and I feel like I’ve grown up with this show. The first four seasons were like a different realm of time. The wardrobes, home decor, and the original faces are but a mere memory to old-school viewers. But things changed in Season 5. The winds blew in Ms. Kenya Summer Moore and life as we knew it in Atlanta would be different. Some people didn’t like Kenya, but Kenya didn’t care.

She gave us lines Beyoncé used, she gave us amazing conflict, and Kenya gave us the perfect foe for Porsha Williams. Walter Jackson might not have lasted long, but Kenya has had some serious staying power. This woman has given us so much and in return, she was dragged across the stage in an unforgettable reunion. Kenya might not be an OG, but RHOA would not be where it is today without her.

Real Housewives Of Potomac / Candiace Dillard Bassett

Back in November 2015, we learned Bravo was going to try again in the DMV area. If you’re old enough to recall Real Housewives of DC, you already know they didn’t strike gold in the Mid-Atlantic region. But Potomac, Maryland got the nod and Real Housewives of Potomac premiered in January 2016. I’m not even sure how we survived, but this program had two full seasons before Candiace Dillard Bassett arrived to spice things up.

Candiace is tiny, but she is mighty and you absolutely know when she enters the room. RHOP is still relatively young and next year will be the 8th season, but I’m not sure it would have gone as well without Candy. When Monique Samuels and Candiace fought at a winery, it basically woke people up and got them to pay attention. Candiace does not mind getting a little dirty and if you step out of line, you may be introduced to her butter knife. We’ve had episodes that border on the edge of being lackluster until one of Candiace’s interviews saves the day. Not today NECK.

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Real Housewives Of New York / Sonja Morgan

While I’m sad about the ending of one Real Housewives of New York (thanks Ramona Singer), I’m keeping an open mind for the all-new RHONY. It would be futile to try and forget such a huge part of the Bravoverse. The way it went out was a disservice to longtime fans. That said, we can still reminisce about the glory days of our first installment. I’m not sure anyone was ready for the ladies of New York. They were very blunt and didn’t mince a lot of words. The audience fell in love with Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel, until they fell out of love with Bethenny and Jill a few seasons later.

But can you believe Sonja Morgan wasn’t part of the original cast? This absolute legend could drink an entire construction team under the table. This blooming flower almost suffocated beneath the weight of Ramona’s ego but managed to become one of the most memorable Real Housewives in recent history. Bless Sonja’s delusion, for it carried her through years of denial and obvious frustration. But fear not, Sonja lovers. If all goes well, her show with Luann de Lesseps will be here to soothe us. Hopefully, it is set to premiere over the summer.

Real Housewives Of Orange County / Tamra Judge

Yes, I know. Tamra Judge seems to irritate most people on this side of the Universe. But she put Real Housewives of Orange County on the map and I will die on this hill. Also, can you believe we’ve been “behind the gates” since 2006? Man, I’ve had two human beings leave my body in that timeframe. As much as Vicki Gunvalson clawed for that main-character energy, we didn’t see it until Season 3 when Tammy Sue jumped in head first. At that point, Vicki was starting to irritate people and we were already sick of hearing how miserable she was.

Tamra appeared with some hair desperately in need of conditioner and a finger that was ready to point. RHOC had been relatively low-key until Tamra’s introduction to the master class on how to create drama. You know a Real Housewife left a major impression if their contract wasn’t renewed but they are asked back a few years later. Tamra feels like an OG and like an OG, she’s still there. Sorry, Vicki.

Real Housewives Of Atlanta / Kandi Burruss

It really is shocking when I think about Kandi Burruss. How far this woman has come and the amount of her life she has offered to RHOA. If you asked me who the original cast members were for this show, I would immediately forget poor DeShawn Snow and add Kandi’s name. It really is hard to believe she didn’t kick off the premier because by now RHOA is Kandi. She came in on Season 2 and it was a big moment for the show. An extremely successful songwriter and singer, if you listened to the radio in the 90s, you heard Kandi’s words at some point in a 4-hour time period.

Kandi has all but offered her soul to RHOA. She has been open about her music career and her family struggles. We’ve watched her raise one child and add to her family after marrying Todd Tucker. There really isn’t a lot Kandi doesn’t reveal and she definitely understands the assignment. Always with upward mobility and making as much money as possible, Kandi is definitely someone who deserves OG status. She has done the time and paid her dues. Was there even an RHOA before she came along?


[Photo Credit: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images]