As 2023 comes to a close, Variety is recognizing the most powerful women in reality TV for their contribution to unscripted–- and at times, unhinged-– television entertainment.
This week, the outlet revealed their list of the “40 Most Powerful Women on Reality TV in 2023,” featuring stars from MTV, Bravo, TLC, Netflix, NBC and more.
One of the women to nab a spot on the list this year– as well as a new husband– is Sister Wives star Christine Brown.
While the mom of six left her unhappy marriage to Kody Brown back in 2021, viewers have been able to watch Christine flourish in her new Kody-free life on Season 18 of ‘Sister Wives.’
(Christine was excited and happy to see her name on the list. After it was posted, she took to Instagram to write, ” “Holy jalapeno!! What an honor! THANK YOU Variety.”)
Another reality star who came out on top following a monumental breakup is Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix, who also landed a spot on this year’s list of Most Powerful Women on Reality TV.
After discovering her longtime boyfriend Tom Sandoval was having a months-long affair with their friend and co-star Rachel Leviss, Ariana found a way to parlay Scandoval into countless brand deals, a couple guest appearances on Love Island, a solo cocktail book and, most recently, a spot on Dancing with the Stars. Ariana is set to return to Bravo screens in January for Season 11 of ‘Vanderpump Rules,’ along with the show’s matriarch, Lisa Vanderpump, who was also included on this year’s list of “Powerful Women.”
Variety also recognized The Challenge star Tori Deal, who fans first met on Are You The One? in 2016. After 11 seasons of competing on MTV’s ‘The Challenge,’ Tori earned her first win (and a cool $500,000) this year on Season 38. She also penned a children’s book and volume of poetry in 2023.
Tori wasn’t the only MTV reality star to earn the “Powerful Woman” title: Jersey Shore OGs Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWoww” Farley shared a spot on the list, with former Ridiculousness star Chanel West Coast also being recognized.
Cirie Fields, the only Survivor competitor to appear on four seasons of the reality series, also earned a spot on Variety’s list after taking home a win on Peacock’s The Traitors and making it to the final five on Big Brother.
Longtime ‘Big Brother’ host Julie Chen Moonves was recognized, as well as Love Is Blind co-host Vanessa Lachey and Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi–- the latter of whom said goodbye to the Bravo competition series this year after 19 seasons of hosting and producing.
The 2023 list also featured multiple celebrities-turned reality TV stars, including America’s Got Talent judge Mel B, who has also competed on Fox’s Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test. Singer and American Idol judge Katy Perry was also included, along with singer and The Voice coach Gwen Stefani.
A number of reality stars with multiple shows under their belt also received a shoutout, including former Dance Moms star JoJo Siwa, who stayed busy in 2023 by competing on ‘Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test’ and serving as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. JoJo’s fellow ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ judge Michelle Visage also made the list, as did Sasha Colby, Season 15 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Bachelor contestant-turned Season 20 Bachelorette (and ‘DWTS’ competitor) Charity Lawson was among those recognized by Variety, along with former Chrisley Knows Best star Savannah Chrisley.
Some OGs of reality TV were also acknowledged this year. Tiffany “New York” Pollard, who viewers first met on 2006’s Flavor of Love, returned to the reality TV world in 2023 as a main cast member on E!’s House of Villains, bringing with her the same personality that made her reality TV gold so many years ago.
Another OG on the list is Paris in Love star Paris Hilton, who made her reality TV debut on 2003’s The Simple Life.
The list also featured nearly a dozen Bravo stars, including Aesha Scott (Below Deck); Kandi Burruss (Real Housewives of Atlanta); Paige DeSorbo (Summer House); and Jenna Lyons (Real Housewives of New York).
Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner (Shark Tank); Alex Hall (Selling the OC); and Carrie Ann Inaba (‘DWTS’) were also among those recognized.
Click here to check out Variety’s full list.
(Photos: TLC; Instagram; MTV)