Real Housewives Rookies Who Nailed Their First Season
From Dorinda Medley to Erika Girardi, these Real Housewives rocked their debut seasons and instantly won everyone over.
Margaret JosephsArmed with a signature look (pigtails!) and a scene-stealing mother, Margaret entered the scene on The Real Housewives of New Jersey as if she was there from the begging.
Margaret was introduced to us by Siggy Flicker, but ended up feuding with Siggy and aligning herself with the OGs of the franchise, Teresa Giudice and Danielle Staub. The drama between Margaret and Siggy became a major story line in season 8, and most people would probably say Margaret came out on top.
Debut: RHONJ season 8
Related: Then & Now: The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Amanda HansenWhen new girls make their debut on The Real Housewives, they have a decision to make about which clique to join. Amanda wasted no time – she was Team Jody all the way. Sure, it got a bit obnoxious seeing the two of them tear into the rest of the cast, but since the show never made Mia a full-time Housewife, we were happy to see Amanda fill in as Jody’s substitute mini-me.
Debut: RHOV season 2
Related: The Real Housewives of Vancouver: Where Are They Now?
Brandi GlanvilleBrandi limped onto The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on crutches and was immediately caught in the crossfire of the other women. From the very first second, everyone had something to say about her – and she had something to say back – which made for great TV. She was definitely Rookie of the year, 2011-2012.
Debut: RHOBH season 2
Related: Here's what Brandi Glanville has been up to since leaving RHOBH
Carole RadziwillOf all the Housewives rookies, Carole seemed the least likely to last. She had a long, serious career in broadcast journalism and a New York Times best seller before ever being on the show – not exactly the makings of reality star. Despite all her accomplishments, Carole has never acted like she’s above the show. By the end of her first season Carole was comfortable, entertaining and, importantly, not afraid of have conflict with her castmates.
Debut: RHONY season 5
Related: All of The Real Housewives of New York with royal connections
Claudia JordanFor Kenya’s third season on RHOA, the producers gifted her with a friend – Claudia. Because of that friendship, Claudia went into the show with a target on her back, but always held her own.
Claudia refused to back down to Porsha when the two clashed at work, and she went toe-to-toe with Nene in an epic read-off (where Claudia was arguably the winner!).
Debut: RHOA season 7
Related: How old are The Real Housewives of Atlanta?
Dorinda MedleyUsually Housewives get pushed around their first season. Not Dorinda. She gains a bit of standing as a legitimate friend of one of the veterans (Ramona), but we’ve been seriously impressed by how she’s handled herself with all the other Housewives, too. She knows how to stay out of the crossfires, but she also speaks up when she has an opinion.
Debut: RHONY season 7
Joanna KrupaYou have to hand it to Joanna. Miami wasn’t the most-watched Housewives franchise (tbh it was underrated – Elsa was divine and so were the fights), but Joanna is on the upper echelons of the Housewives. She made a big impression in just two seasons and is without a doubt the most remembered of the RHOM wives. (Though maybe it’s just because we remember her off-screen feud with Brandi.)
Debut: RHOM season 2
Meghan King EdmondsMost rookies crumble when threatened by the queen bee of their respective city. Not Meghan. She went toe-to-toe with Vicki and ended up taking her down with a deep investigation into the lies Brooks and Vicki had been telling about Brooks' cancer. Not bad for a first season. Not bad at all.
Debut: RHOC season 10
Melissa GorgaMelissa had a lot working against her on her first season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Her sister-in-law Teresa was HBIC of the franchise and hated her, but she won over the other wives (and viewers) and eventually (like, forever later), Teresa came around too.
Debut: RHONJ season 3
Shannon BeadorMost of the Housewives have a culpability problem – not Shannon, though! At the end of her first season, Shannon admitted she didn’t like what she saw in her marriage, and in herself, after watching the show. It’s the ability to be honest and self-reflect that makes Shannon an anomaly in the Housewives universe – and so beloved by the fans.
Debut: RHOC season 9