The Best (and the Cringiest) Things I Saw at BravoCon

bravocon panel lisa vanderpump tom sandoval
The Best (and Cringiest) Things I Saw at BravoConNicole Weingart/Bravo - Getty Images

If seven years in L.A. has taught me anything, it’s how to exhibit decorum when I encounter a celebrity in the wild. Whether I find myself behind Goldie Hawn for coffee or next to Arnold Schwarzenegger picking out peaches at the farmers market, I do not initiate conversation, make eye contact, and I never, ever sneak a picture, let alone ask for one. In the timeless words of Countess de Lesseps, I do my very best to “be cool, not all uncool.”

At this year’s BravoCon, set in Las Vegas and featuring a menagerie of Housewives from cities across the country, SURvers of WeHo, Yachties of the Mediterranean, Southern Charmers of Chucktown, and Summer Housemates of Montauk, I experienced a total abandonment of cool. I gawked openly and took pictures brazenly. I screamed “I love you” at the mother-in-law of an OC housewife wearing head-to-toe metallics and her sunglasses inside, who quietly assured me she loved me back. I felt like I was at a petting zoo, if petting zoos served tequila and offered Juvéderm lip injections (seriously, there was a booth for that), and housed spray-tanned icons in five-inch Loubs throwing shade for days.

Below, the highs and lows of my 48 hours in Sin City with the wild animals of the Bravosphere.

My Roses

  • Ken Todd sitting at a table in the media room, eating a sandwich while holding a small dog in an even smaller sweater, talking to no one, staring blankly into the abyss.

  • Sonja Morgan exiting a sprinter van after Jackie Goldschneider and before Karen Huger, wearing a transparent black dress and shouting that she’s not on Ozempic “or any of that shit” when I gushed about how phenomenal she looked.

  • Lindsay Hubbard in revenge-red vinyl.

lindsay hubbard
Rich Polk/Bravo - Getty Images
  • Craig Conover discussing his love for Real Househusband John Barlow of Salt Lake City and chastising Shep Rose (looking like he lost a bet in a button-down beer shirt) for cutting out of the interview line early.

  • An hour or so later, spotting Shep Rose drinking alone at the bar at The Delano and entertaining a cohort of adoring female fans.

  • Emily Simpson looking like an Amazonian goddess and her mother-in-law, Perry, posing like the pint-sized star that she is.

  • Andrea Denver without a shirt.

bravo summer house cast
Nicole Weingart/Bravo - Getty Images
  • A push-up contest between DJ James Kennedy and Tom Sandoval. James won, because God is just.

  • Lisa Vanderpump in a sparkly blazer by one her favorite designers (Ermanno Scervino, which she spelled for me and helped me find online) saying she vowed not to buy anything new for the weekend. We stan a shop-your-own-closet queen.

  • At the Real Housewives of Potomac panel, Karen Huger said she was getting ready to celebrate her triple-20th birthday. Happy almost birthday to the grand dame, and I will be stealing that for my fast-approaching double-20th birthday.

  • The embattled green negligee gifted to Jessel Taank from Jenna Lyons hanging in the Bravo Hall of Fame, looking not one iota like a Christmas tree.

My Thorns

  • Ariana and Katie, ILY both to pieces, but I waited in a long line at the Something About her Booth because I was promised grilled cheese and tomato soup, “born cool” cucumber salad, and an oatmeal and chocolate cookie, only to be told at the counter that I had to choose one, and then the one I chose was a cold piece of flatbread and gummy gazpacho—an insult to grilled cheese and tomato soup! I’m not mad, just disappointed.

  • Avery Singer manning a merch booth in the wake of her mother’s scandal with very few takers. Just an all-around strange choice to show up.

  • Women screaming and throwing themselves at an aggressively spray-tanned Tom Sandoval wearing the West Hollywood–issued cream-colored Alo hat. Ick doesn’t begin to cover it.

  • I’m not not saying it was because Prince Pavit Taank got a standing ovation at the RHONY panel, but Erin Lichy attempted to get an Abe the Babe chant going, fist pump and all, to a tepid, horrified response from the crowd. The whole thing landed like such a wet balloon that the woman next to me, a complete stranger, grabbed my knee and squeezed her eyes shut in secondhand embarrassment.

bravocon rhony panel
Greg Doherty/Bravo - Getty Images
  • Venita from Southern Charm told me she was most looking forward to seeing Jenna Lyons—same, Venita, same—but ultimately, JFL (IYKYK) was a no show. The tea in the media room was that this was all simply too cheesy for her, and she won’t be back next season. Much like the white Bengal tiger, JFL is a rare and mythologized breed, and not even zookeeper Andy Cohen could coax from her Farrow & Ball–painted lair.

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