Truly awful: a guide to reality TV's most devious villains

Yomi Adegoke
·2 min read

Tiffany “New York” Pollard
Flavor of Love

Pollard was a pioneer of the school of “I’m not here to make friends” reality TV frostiness, making it clear from the get-go she was on this landmark dating show to do one thing only: win the heart of Flavor Flav. Her quotability (“Cute next to gorgeous, gorgeous is gonna, you know, DEVOUR cute”) has made her a star both on reality TV and on the internet.

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Grace Adams-Short
Big Brother

Forget Nasty Nick, the real Big Brother villain was series seven’s Grace. The 20-year-old dance teacher left the house the most hated woman in Britain due to her dogged campaign against fellow contestant Susie Verrico. She also revolutionised the heckling industry: previously, disliked contestants left to boos but Grace was met by a chorus of “Get Grace Out!” chanting that even the show’s non-partisan narrator Marcus Bentley admitted to taking part in.

Christine Quinn
Selling Sunset

It is a pretty mean feat to rank alongside the giants of reality TV villainy so early in one’s career, but Christine Quinn has already cemented herself in the antihero hall of fame. Selling Sunset, which follows the staff of a high-end real estate agency in LA, only started last March, but in that short time Quinn’s antics – ripped right out of the Mean Girls playbook – have made her a reality TV icon.

Phi Phi O’Hara
RuPaul’s Drag Race

The Drag Race ecosystem runs on bitchiness, and Phi Phi is – hands down – the bitchiest contestant on the show to date. Her sabotaging of fellow queen Jiggly Caliente and antagonising of the affable weirdo Sharon Needles led to Phi Phi being universally loathed. That said, her “Go back to Party City where you belong!” barb during a fight with Sharon will surely go down as one of the most beloved Drag Race quotes of all time.

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Spencer Matthews
Made in Chelsea

Made in Chelsea’s serial cheat was unfaithful to four women during the course of the show: Louise Thompson, Lauren Hutton, Lucy Watson and Stephanie Pratt, the latter of whom he apologised to with a Prada bag. To make matters worse, he was rarely remorseful; when Thompson accused him of disrespect, he retorted: “It’s fucking hard to respect you when you allow me to cheat on you!”

Phaedra Parks
Real Housewives of Atlanta

Phaedra Parks could have made this list solely on the strength of her eye-watering monologue about castmate Kenya Moore, which viewers have since dubbed “the read of the decade”. Phaedra was consistently and casually catty on the well-to-do reality show, so much so that her stint culminated in her being fired from the franchise after making defamatory allegations about a fellow castmate.