It's not easy being the new girl on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Six seasons in, the crown jewel in Bravo's reality franchise has tried to infuse its winning alchemy with fresh blood nearly every year—with varying levels of success. For some, it can be hard to find an ally among the group. (Just ask Carlton Gebbia.) For others, it can seem damn near impossible to make any impression at all. (Check in with Marisa Zanuck for proof of that one—if you can even remember who she is.) 2016 has seen the addition of two new faces to the 90210, and while the jury's still out on Kathryn Edwards—though anyone who takes on Faye Resnick earns plenty of goodwill in our book—we're here to talk about Erika Girardi.
When we first met Erika, we weren't sure about her. The tagline left a little to be desired: "I'm an enigma, wrapped in a riddle—and cash." (It felt a little bit like a parody of a Housewives tagline, you know?)But in just a few short weeks, Erika has made fans out of us with her lavish lifestyle and no-nonsense attitude in the face of her co-stars histrionics. She even has an alter ego, you guys. This woman is what reality TV dreams are made of. Allow us to break it down for you.
"By day, I'm Erika Girardi, married to Thomas Girardi, uber-famous lawyer. But by night, I'm something else." Boy, she ain't kidding. One of our first impressions of Erika was during rehearsal for her alter ego Erika Jayne, a pop star with eight No. 1 hits on the Billboard dance charts who revels in "class and ass and heels." Rocking barely-there outfits and some steamy lyrics, she's just the right amount of outrageous. Plus, watching the other women refer to her "disco hits" will literally never get old—even if their dated terminology is.
The Age Difference
When the women met Erika for the first time, there was nothing better than watching their eyes bug out when she revealed the 32-year-age difference between Tom and herself. (He's 76, she's 44) Actually we take that back. Her "I don't give a crap" reaction to their reaction? That was the best.
Her Handling of Bethenny Frankel
On her first RHOBH trip, Erika was forced to face a foe no other 90210 lady had: RHONY's Bethenny Frankel. After Kyle Richards showed the Skinnygirl mogul one of Erika's music videos, poor Erika was forced to endure an entire evening of unsolicited marketing and artistic advice from Bethenny. Rather than tell her to mind her own business, she took the onslaught of opinion in stride, even giving Bethenny a dance lesson in the process. (That Bethenny's pants split during it like some slice of instant karma was just icing on the cake.) And then she fired off a few expertly worded shots in a post-game interview, like a proper Housewife.
You guys, her massive estate in Pasadena has a chapel. No, that's not a typo. As she revealed to Lisa Rinna during a tour of her epic manse, she nonchalantly offered a trip upstairs to view her freaking chapel. Why does she have one? Because she collects religious art. Duh. It takes a lot to eclipse Lisa Vanderpump's breathtaking Villa Rosa. And Erika did it, easily. We're just gonna leave this link for a photo tour of her home right here.
Her Friendship with Yolanda
She's proven to be a damn good friend to Yolanda Hadid. Maybe the only real one she has in the cast. She's given her moral support throughout her treatment for Lyme disease, she's spoken up for her in her absence when the ladies couldn't help themselves with their gossip—she even picked her up in her freaking private jet after Yo's surgery to have all the silicon removed from her body. After Vanderpump suggested that Yo's kids Bella and Anwar might not have Lyme disease at Kyle's BBQ-with-no-BBQ only after Yo had left the event, Erika did what a good friend should: Tell her the harmful things people were saying on camera about her without exaggerating or stoking the flames of drama.
So, let's hear it for Erika Girardi. May she forever keep her promise and give the gays (and everyone else) exactly what they want out of a Real Housewife.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
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