Betches co-founders open up about pushback, growing pains and success of their brand

Jordana Abraham and Sami Sage are two of the co-founders of Betches Media. Gibson Johns interviews the duo about the origins of their brand and its incredible growth over the past decade, including pushback they received over the years, misconceptons about Betches, that awkward "Today" show interview from 2013 and their evolving roles at the company. They also discuss all things pop culture, including "Red (Taylor's Version)," "And Just Like That...," the "Gossip Girl" reboot and all things Bravo, "The Real Housewives" and "Summer House."

Video Transcript


GIBSON JOHNS: Hi, guys. Welcome back to We Should Talk a pop culture interview series from In The Know. I'm your host, Gibson Johns. And this week on the podcast, we have Jordana Abraham and Sami Sage, who are two of the co-founders of Betches Media.

Betches was founded about 10 years ago as basically a standalone blog, but since has turned into this multi-platform media company with podcasts and books and meme accounts and just-- it's really a far reaching brand, and what's central to it is that it's founded by young women, and it's for young women.

And they're really growing with their audience, but you know, it was really fascinating to hear about their origin story and how the brand has grown over the years because it really came of age-- came of age, no. It really grew at the same time as kind of bro culture was also permeating the culture and kind of fueled by companies like Barstool Sports, and they were kind of growing alongside that.

But the difference of how both those companies were treated as very different. And so to hear about, kind of from the inside, how they viewed how different people were perceiving their company or kind of misinterpreting their company and their mission, and it was just really fascinating to hear that side of it.

Halfway through the interview, we kind of switch gears to talking pop culture, a lot of Bravo's stuff because I-- 1, I can't help myself, but 2, pop culture is really kind of intrinsic to the DNA of Betches. And if you are in sort of that Bravo social media space, if you follow pop culture accounts on Instagram and Twitter, you probably-- chances are, you have probably come across a Betches account or Betches content because they do a really, really good job of permeating those spheres.

And so I loved hearing their thoughts on these things. And again, I can't help myself, but they completely held their own, and they really know their stuff. So it was fun to pick their brains about all things Bravo and some other pop culture topics. Keep listening for my interview with Jordana Abraham and Sami Sage from Betches Media, and please rate, review, and subscribe to We Should Talk on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.


All right, so we are here with two of the co-founders of Betches Media, Jordana Abraham and Sami Sage. How are you guys? Thanks for being here.

BOTH: We're great. Thank you for having us.

GIBSON JOHNS: Of course.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: We like to speak at the exact same time, so get excited. It's fun.

GIBSON JOHNS: Have you guys done a lot of podcasts together over the years, I'm assuming? Over the past 10 years?

SAMI SAGE: Honestly, we do them all the time. So we're very much--

GIBSON JOHNS: You're pros.

SAMI SAGE: We should probably just come up with a signal by now for when-- for who is going to talk next.


GIBSON JOHNS: I love it.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: After 10 years, yeah.


GIBSON JOHNS: [LAUGHS] So it's been 10 years since Betches started. And you know, you've grown it into this incredible multi-platform media company that has-- I see it every day on social media. It has this amazing reach, especially, I think, for our generation of millennials. And you know, before we get into that success story, I'd love for you to kind of give me the TLDR on how you guys met, how it started. I'm sure you've told the story a million times, but for people listening that aren't familiar with the story, let us now.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Sami, do you want to take this one.

SAMI SAGE: Sure. I mean, I was trying to pass out a hand.

GIBSON JOHNS: She gave you a little point.


SAMI SAGE: Yeah. Obviously that didn't work this time. OK, so yeah, we have known each other-- us and our third co-founder Aleen-- Aleen Dreksler. We have known each other since we were very young children. I think we met in, like, elementary school, all of us at different points.

And then, you know, we were friends in middle school and high school, and we ended up going to college together at Cornell. And that's actually where we started Betches. We started-- we were living together in an apartment our senior year. It was-- gets very cold in Ithaca and very boring.


SAMI SAGE: So we were kind of just-- you know, there was a lot of-- at the time, just culturally, there was a lot of-- fratire was very popular, if you remember, like Tucker Max, and--

GIBSON JOHNS: Oh yeah, and there was Being a Barstool, yeah.

SAMI SAGE: Exactly. So that was very popular at the time. And I think, you know, where the concept for Betches and what it eventually became is that there was really no female counterpart, and we felt that there was not really anything on the internet that spoke to the type of women that we were, which was a little bit more edgy, unafraid to say what was on our minds-- at the time, much more confused than I think we had realized.


But so we really were writing satirical observations and humor about the culture that we were in, and that was the end of our senior year of college. And--


SAMI SAGE: --that eventually-- you know, we were basically put in touch with the book agent, and that essentially kind of kicked off the next 10 years, where we continued writing and got on Instagram and then into podcasting and so much more.

GIBSON JOHNS: The rest is history.


GIBSON JOHNS: Well, I remember-- I was in college around that time, and I remember reading the early days of-- when it was called Betches Love This. And it was just--


GIBSON JOHNS: I remember it was-- essentially, what I thought of it as like a blog, and there were different posts about specific things, and it was very satirical.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Yeah, in the beginning, it was really the three of us, and we would write. And then one of us would write it, and then the other two would edit it. And then the third person would publish it. It was like-- that was all the three of us really did.

And I think part of it was like a fun outlet for us to sort of describe the world around us and even some of the things that seemed a little messed up at the time. I think we were kind of like, we don't want to be, like, haters and be writing like a scholarly critique of these things, but maybe if we parody them, it'll be like a funny, fun way to sort of make some social commentary.

GIBSON JOHNS: Totally. Totally, and I got that. But there were clearly people that didn't get it at the time-- and maybe still don't get it. But I remember-- like, I had in the back of my head when I was researching for this interview-- I was like, I remember watching a Today Show interview that you guys did.

And I remember it feeling, like, kind of awkward and Hoda and Kathie Lee, like, just did not understand what you guys were doing. And I went back and re-watched that this morning, and it just struck me as, like, they just totally did not latch on to what-- they didn't-- they weren't buying what you were selling.


GIBSON JOHNS: And I was one of the people who was. But what did-- I guess, what do you remember about that interview, and what did it tell you about-- what did it tell you about, sort of, like, who wasn't getting what you guys were putting out there?

JORDANA ABRAHAM: That's a really interesting point. No one's really brought up that interview to us in a while. It's-- it's a nice--


I remember that interview, and I remember feeling like they just didn't get it. They didn't really get what we were doing. I think that, like, if you don't look deeper into what we were doing, it was just a few girls just spouting kind of, like, mean spirited things, just making fun of people and making fun of everyone around them and just being mean for no reason.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: And I think that that's sort of what-- on The Today Show, that's kind of like how they were interpreting. But that's really-- and it's funny, because a few years later, we did an interview with Dan Rather, and he did a little like write up on what we were doing at the time also, and I think he is someone who really understood what we were doing. Like, he went into it, I think, not understanding and was like, I expected to just meet these very superficial, very kind of like annoying girls.


And then-- but I think he went from-- from actually meeting us, he understood what it was about-- that it was social commentary, that it was all exaggerated, that it was a parody, that we were talking about a caricature.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: So that was-- yeah, I don't think we've ever even really talked about that in an interview. So I'm very excited to have the opportunity to discuss it now.

GIBSON JOHNS: Well, yeah, Sami, go. What do you remember about that?

SAMI SAGE: You know, so with-- something that we did always talk about early on between the three of us was that we always felt there were two cross sections of the audience. There was one that was reading it for the joke and to kind of understand that to see the ridiculousness in it, and then there was a section of the audience that really, like, idolized it in a way that it was like, I should be like this.

And I always sort of wondered at the time, like, is this a net good or a net bad for that reason? And then I completely remember The Today Show and being, like, personally disappointed because I sort of internalized that as like a failure on our part that, like, they didn't receive it, you know. I didn't understand how to contextualize their lack of understanding--


SAMI SAGE: --with the interview experience that we had had. And you know, look, it's not for everyone. I think if you don't really, like, uncover-- if you don't really know the references, you're not going to get that it's a joke.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. And so--

SAMI SAGE: There's a generational gap too. That's what I was going to ask. For you guys, was it generational? Was it-- was there like a socioeconomic aspect to it? It's interesting to me that Dan Rather totally understood what you were [LAUGHS] putting out there and that Kathie Lee and Hoda didn't. And so I don't know. That's probably hard to parse through as people who founded the brand.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: I think, also, The Today Show was our first on-screen interview that we ever did, and we were like 22, 23 years old, something like that. And I think that, obviously, not having done any other media or any other training, we didn't really know to, like, come in that someone-- that someone might not get it, almost.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: Or like, not understanding.

GIBSON JOHNS: Have that answer prepared. Yeah, exactly.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Right, just like really-- just entering the real world and kind of coming in with this blog and with this brand associated with us. I think that it wasn't necessarily even on our radar to be like, and you have to show people like what's actually intellectual and interesting and, like, funny and self-aware about it. Like, that was on us to prove to them, and I think that we didn't go in with that, and that was probably a big part of it.


SAMI SAGE: Also, I will say with Dan Rather-- I remember when organizing that interview, his producer was a woman who really understood it. And my guess is that, when she pitched it to him and she, like, prepped him for what it was going to be, she understood enough to, like, explain it in that way. And you know, you sort of just have to wonder, like, you know, Kathie Lee and Hoda probably--

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Interview tons of people every day, yeah.


SAMI SAGE: --so many segments. They're not actually reading, like, you know--

GIBSON JOHNS: They were given-- they were given those pull quotes that didn't-- you know, didn't-- there were no context, and they didn't really shine the best light on what you guys were talking about.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Yeah Dan Rather, I think, has probably a different approach to prepping and that producer, I'm sure, painted us in a way that was more flattering, perhaps.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, right. And you mentioned how it also was sort of a response-- it was giving voice to millennial women at the time who weren't being represented in the rise of bro culture. And I think you called it fratire, which I never heard before. That's a funny term. But obviously Barstool has also had a huge rise over the past decade as well.

And you know, I guess-- you know, I think it's interesting that it hasn't been-- I mean, obviously Barstool has seen its own fair share of criticism as well-- I think, fairly. But to me, the interview that you-- again, that Today Show interview sort of represents, to me, a push-back that they weren't getting at that time, by any means, which is like-- you know, maybe because we live in a patriarchy, and that male point of view is more just accepted.

But did you guys feel as though at the time that you guys were getting sort of unfairly criticized because you were young women creating this brand? Or do you think there was a higher learning curve for culture at large to understand what you guys were saying because of that?

JORDANA ABRAHAM: I-- yeah, totally. I think there was-- and still, to an extent, this day-- I think, maybe not as much, but there is a sense of, men can be funny in a really inappropriate, kind of messed up way that might cross the line, and it's like, that's just men being funny. And if women do it, it's, I think-- and a lot of the times, it's other women who are most offended by it, and I think you saw that with the Kathie Lee thing in that sense too. But I do think there's a sense of like, it's OK for men to go a little bit further out there. Like you see-- I mean, obviously you see someone like Dave Chappelle, who does-- he does get criticism too--


JORDANA ABRAHAM: But I just feel like if a woman went up there and did that set, it would be like-- she would be over.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, completely.

SAMI SAGE: I also think you see it in like the profiles of different founders. Because some of what you see-- what it takes to get a profile on a male founder that is really unflattering, the difference in the behaviors is really stark to, let's say-- you know, one that enters my mind is the story of Away, the--

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, mhm.

SAMI SAGE: --the luggage company. And the upshot of that was that, you know, it seems like they were just kind of bitchy and overworked them and exploitative. But the consequences for, I think, that-- those founders is so much worse relative to the consequences.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: They're gone, yeah.



SAMI SAGE: --like, sexual harassment allegations or assault allegations.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Well, it's so interesting too that, like, there are certain men who are just like, I am not going to be canceled. Like, you're just not canceling me.

GIBSON JOHNS: They just refuse, right.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Like Dave Portnoy and Dave Chappelle are two names.

GIBSON JOHNS: --name I have in mind too. [LAUGHS]

JORDANA ABRAHAM: They're both like, you're-- I'm just not, like-- you're not-- I'm not-- you're not going to do it. And this kind of works. [LAUGHS]

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. And they've cultivated fans and then followers who will support them in that mentality as well, which is just-- 100%, you're right, and I mean, I wasn't even going to ask about that, but like, when you think about the Away story, the story of The Wing, that, you know, in some ways these women were contemporaries of yours, like relative, same generation, companies came up around the same time.

You guys have not gotten that treatment, like you were [LAUGHS] still at your companies and doing well and thriving. Did you guys watch those things happening and what were your reactions internally to be like, like, [BLEEP] we need to-- I don't know. It's a cautionary-- they're all cautionary tales.

SAMI SAGE: Mhm, definitely. I mean, I read that, and I 100% learned from that. And I try to-- it's so funny because there's these men who are like, I'll not be canceled no matter what I do, and I will continue to push the line with my behavior and even make it worse, whereas I read something like that, and I'm like-- I have the complete opposite reaction. I'm taking stock of maybe things I've said that could have been interpreted, you know--


SAMI SAGE: --with more harm than I intended. And I'm now like reflecting on my behavior, and I'm, like, more trying to be more considerate going forward, and it's just-- yeah, I mean, they're cautionary tales. And I think that, you know, we've always just kind of wanted to, like, do our best, and that has sort of just been our outlook.

I also think we're not-- although we are contemporaries of, let's say, like Away and The Wing, I never really felt that we were-- that we would be categorized with companies like that. I think part of it is that we are completely-- we've never taken investors. We've funded this through its own profit and revenue. And I think we kind of always kept our heads down and really focused on our own business rather than, you know, kind of chasing that girl power--

GIBSON JOHNS: Image, yeah, yeah. And you're not answering to anybody, either. You're answering to yourselves.

SAMI SAGE: You never try to girlboss too close to the sun, as the memes put that.

GIBSON JOHNS: Good point. [LAUGHS] I love it. And that just describes itself as being for millennials and Gen Z, but I feel like it really is, to me, a millennial, like-- because-- maybe because I'm a millennial and I grew up as it was coming-- or I was growing up as it was coming up, but it really is a millennial brand to me, and you guys are millennials.

But obviously now, right now, like every brand wants to reach Gen Z. They want to kind of Gen Z-ify their own brands and really speak to that next generation. How have you guys been able to do that, try to do that, or how do you approach that kind of next frontier, I guess?

SAMI SAGE: So it's interesting to talk about Gen Z because Gen Z is huge. It's like-- I think about Gen Z, and it's anyone from like a 10-year-old to a 24-year-old.


SAMI SAGE: And so when you're-- so when I'm thinking Gen Z, I'm thinking like, OK, it's this certain aesthetic. But we as a company, I don't think at this point, are prepared to try to reach the bottom.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: The 10-year-olds?

GIBSON JOHNS: The 11-year-old, right. [LAUGHS]

SAMI SAGE: So what we're really-- what we really are focusing on is sort of like the Elder Gen Z, if you will. And you know, from that, it's really, like, a question of like talent and platforms that you're-- that we want to be on. Because the truth is the two of us are not Gen Z, and we're not Gen Z influencers. But it does become a company-wide content strategy. So that is something we're working on, is just sort of--


SAMI SAGE: --expanding in a way that's organic because we want it to be natural and true to the brand.

GIBSON JOHNS: Of course.

SAMI SAGE: And not really sacrifice that, and yeah.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Yeah. And I think, just to, like-- we never want to force-- like, we never-- we've never tried to like do something and force it just because it was, like, the thing that people wanted us to do. Like, again, obviously we're on TikTok, and we are trying to-- we're working with creators who speak to that audience too. But I mean, like you said, we are millennials, and we do-- we try to stick to-- we do try to stick, at least the two of us in our own personal commentary, stick to what we know.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: And so a lot of our expansion has been to grow with our audience. So you know, you have-- we started talking-- when we started this company, we were talking about college pre-games. Now we're talking about-- we have Betches Brides, Betches Moms, fi-- Betches, we have like a finance vertical, Money Please.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: So there is a-- we obviously want to still appeal to some of the younger generation, but we want to do it in a way that isn't-- we're just like trying-- you know, we're like--

GIBSON JOHNS: Of course, of course.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: That meme of like, how do you do, kids?

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, exactly, exactly.

SAMI SAGE: Exactly. Yeah, that's been our worst nightmare.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, yeah. You're growing with your-- I like how you say you're growing with your audience, and that, to me, makes the most sense, you know? And I think you're doing it well. Before we get into pop culture and Bravo and just kind of shoot the [BLEEP] about that, I'm curious how your guys' personal roles have evolved over the years into what they are now. Because obviously, you both co-host a variety of podcasts, and you're still involved in the business side of the company. Talk to me about where you guys stand now at Betches Media.

SAMI SAGE: So I mean, like you said, it has 100% evolved. It went from literally the three of us doing every single bit of content, and the three of us are, I would say, we lead with creativity rather than business acumen--


SAMI SAGE: --or particularly keen organizational skills. So it has been a training. You know, it has been 10 years of training ourselves on how to run a business and really getting us into more siloed areas. So I mean-- so basically, I run the content team, so covering everything on our Instagram accounts, TikTok, podcasts, email, and just any sort of creative-- anything related to copy or anything like, you know, marketing and that sort of thing. Jordana, do you want to speak to your--



JORDANA ABRAHAM: We've all sort of at some point worked or dabbled in everything. So it's actually in some ways kind of cool because you got to actually see who you are, and we've grown up so much with this company from starting it at 21, 22 years old. And now, you know, our lives are just totally different.

And what I do is I'm Chief of Innovation, which means I explore new and interesting and larger partnerships for the brand, to sort of expand whether digitally or through tech. And we've got some exciting things coming at the beginning of next year, which we can't really fully share, but basically working on like interesting creative product expansions and projects.

GIBSON JOHNS: Awesome. But in some ways, I feel like your guys' roles really complement each other still. And that's probably really fun for you guys, because I mean, obviously innovation and creativity go hand in hand. So that's awesome. And I think it's awesome that you guys have continued to find a place for yourselves as this company continues to grow. I think it's-- you're right there with it, which is really cool.

So I want to talk a little bit about pop culture and Bravo, and I'm curious, in general, what are each of your current obsessions when it comes to pop culture or TV or celebrity? Like, what are you thinking about? What do you watching? What are you obsessed with?

SAMI SAGE: I mean, it just ended, but "Succession." I'm eager to see where the "Sex and the City" reboot is going.


SAMI SAGE: "Real Housewives of Orange County--" very good this season. "Salt Lake City," we're continuing to see--


SAMI SAGE: --some standout episodes.


And more recent-- ugh, I have so many-- "Sex Lives of College Girls."

JORDANA ABRAHAM: There's so much on right now that's amazing.

GIBSON JOHNS: It's so overwhelming.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: There's so many good shows.

GIBSON JOHNS: It's so overwhelming.

SAMI SAGE: Sorry, I've named every show, true that. [LAUGHS] Do you have any?

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Yeah, I mean, all of those-- I was always a big-- it's funny like how things are just, like, coming back. So there's "Sex in the City" coming back. "Dexter" came back. I was always kind of a big fan of "Dexter," so I'm excited about that. And then, you know, it's funny, on multiple podcasts I've done like a high level breakdown of the Taylor Swift "All Too Well." [LAUGHS]

GIBSON JOHNS: Huge Swifty over here, so I appreciate that. [LAUGHS]

SAMI SAGE: Love Taylor.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Of course. It's like everything old is new again.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: But slightly different.

GIBSON JOHNS: Do you guys watch the "Gossip Girl" reboot?

SAMI SAGE: I watched like five episodes of it.

GIBSON JOHNS: Or what are your feelings?

SAMI SAGE: I watched a couple episodes of it.


SAMI SAGE: OK, I liked it, but I didn't like it enough, I guess, to pick up again. But I did like it. Maybe-- maybe I would.

GIBSON JOHNS: I will say, I'm telling-- I know that the first several-- that first half of the season was kind of a struggle, like we had to get-- it took some getting used to, but the second batch of episodes, honestly, was a huge level up for me. So I-- if it's around the holidays or whatever and you want to binge something, I think give it another shot.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Maybe I need to go back to that.

SAMI SAGE: I think that's where I stopped, the second batch. You know, sometimes I'm like-- I couldn't help but wonder, is it me? Is the content worse because it's trying to be what it was? And with "Gossip Girl," I'm like why don't you just make sort of more of a-- make it more of a clear off-shoot, and then everyone will stop comparing it to what it isn't. And like, can we get some new IP up in here?

GIBSON JOHNS: I know, I know. That's what I tell people who are complaining to me about the new "Gossip Girl." I'm like, but like it's-- it's the same universe, but it's a different-- it really is a different show. Like, you have to kind of approach it as a different show. But-- and that's why I think, you know, the "Sex and the City," you know-- I guess-- and "Just Like That--" I don't know if it's a revival or a reboot or a continuation, whatever you want to call it.

SAMI SAGE: It's a new chapter.

GIBSON JOHNS: To me, like, it's a distinctly different story.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: That's what call it.

GIBSON JOHNS: To me, it's like a distinctly different show. It has a different name. One of our main characters isn't there. We don't have the voiceover anymore. It's 10 years later. You know, it's-- I don't know. I think people need to kind of-- I think it's more of it on the audience to like forward their thinking, but I don't know. Maybe that's just me.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: I'm interested to see where-- I mean, the "Sex and the City," yeah, is like the still-- you still have the main-- the same people playing the same character.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: Which gives it, I think, an attachment that people might not have for the "Gossip Girl" part.

GIBSON JOHNS: Of course. Yeah, for sure.

SAMI SAGE: Well, it's interesting because it's like they kind of need to market based on the previous thing. That's where the marketing value comes in. But then you create expectations that it's going to be matching this thing that was amazing in the back of our heads.


SAMI SAGE: Because we were younger, and it was a different time.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Well, that's like "All Too Well."



SAMI SAGE: I actually think, of all the things that have lived up to their round two, "All Too Well" is-- I know, Jordana, I know we've talked about this, and you don't like the second song as much. But I do think the "Red" re-release was incredibly well done-- of all the--

GIBSON JOHNS: I think so too.

SAMI SAGE: Here's the thing. It was the exact same.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Well, that's what I said. No one is like, this song is worse. It's like the exact same thing.

GIBSON JOHNS: It was the exact same, but I think that she gave us a couple things that people always sort of wanted, which was a visual component for "All Too Well, the full version of "All Too Well." But also, I've always loved the song "Better Man" that she wrote-- that she wrote and never released herself. And now we have, I think, all five of those new-- all six of those new songs, or however many there were, all great. But-- and she-- the rollout was very Taylor Swift-ian. It was very, like, over the top and in your face, but it worked, I think.

SAMI SAGE: It's worthy. I almost think it's worthy of the over-the-top-ness because the vault. So it's not just-- you're not just getting the re-produced songs, which, in some cases, I think are so much better produced on the second version. Like, "Girl at Home" is perfect.

GIBSON JOHNS: It's it's bop now, right.

SAMI SAGE: Yeah, bop now, exactly. It became-- it went from, like, a whatever song to a true bop. So with that-- and then the vault songs stand on their own so solidly as really good songs that aren't-- that they don't feel like throwaways. Like, sometimes her secondary releases, like--

GIBSON JOHNS: There's a reason why they weren't released, yeah.

SAMI SAGE: Like, the leaks, I'm like, OK, like-- I'm OK, fine. I don't mind it.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, sure.

SAMI SAGE: But I'm not-- that's not going on my T-Swift faves list with all 200 other songs.


SAMI SAGE: But her vault songs are just as good, if not better as the original.

GIBSON JOHNS: I totally agree. Yeah, I agree. The only one that didn't do it for me-- for some reason, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together--" there's something off about it for me. The new version-- I like, I don't know what it is. There's something-- I don't know.

SAMI SAGE: Honestly, like, I don't-- I probably listened to it once and was like, I've heard this song too many times.

GIBSON JOHNS: 100 million times, exactly.

SAMI SAGE: Yeah, exactly.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. All right, so I want to talk a little about "Real Housewives." That's really my, like, my-- my area. I just had Heather on the podcast. Her episode is going live today.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Oh, wow. How was she?

SAMI SAGE: Calling up Heather.

GIBSON JOHNS: She's amazing. I mean, she is like such a pro. Like, to me, I mean, she's obviously very media trained, and she knows-- she knows how to tease things and to talk around things. But I also think that she's like-- she seems like she's in a really good head-space right now, and like, she's just really ready to like take it all on, you know what I mean?

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Like after her hiatus, do you think she was like, in bad head-space?

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, well, I just-- I think it's interesting when a housewife-- when a housewife leaves, and it's like, OK. You know, obviously you have to parse through whether they chose to leave or they didn't choose to leave. And like, if they chose to leave, is it just a permanently bad taste in their mouth and they would never come back?

And Heather, every interview she had, got asked if she was going to come back to Orange County for like five straight years. And I think that can, like-- that can push-- that can polarize somebody and push them even further away from the franchise. But I kind of feel like she always knew she would. She just had to wait for the-- she had to wait out some people on that show. I think she had to wait out certain things in maybe her own life. But I don't know, I think she's, like--

JORDANA ABRAHAM: I'm trying to remember. How did it-- what was her last-- what was going on in her last season?

GIBSON JOHNS: It was-- I'm pretty sure it was the Kelly-- Kelly Dodd's first season, I wanna say.


GIBSON JOHNS: And they went overseas, and there was that bus ride. And it was just like-- I think she kind of saw-- I kind of think that she saw Kelly and was like, I can't be associated with this. I think she saw that that was a slippery slope for the whole show. You know what I mean?

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Well, Heather has always been sort of in her-- on her own level in "Real Housewives of Orange County." Like, she's got more money than everyone else. She's got-- she seems-- she seems a little smarter than most of the other people. So I do feel like she is a little bit more calculated, in a good way--

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, very savvy.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: --what she's going to be doing, yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, I completely agree.

SAMI SAGE: Do you think that's maybe our bias as New Yorkers because she brings--

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Heather is just better than everyone else because she's from New York.

GIBSON JOHNS: Well, I think-- there's-- there's an element of that, for sure.

SAMI SAGE: And people love Gina, I think. People really enjoy Gina's presence, and I think it's-- it's refreshing amongst a sea of Tameras and Alexis Bellinos to have, like, a brunette, first of all.


Yeah, I agree that she does sort of operate on her own level. But that makes it like-- she's almost like what Lisa Vanderpump was in season one of "Beverly Hills," so it's-- yeah, it's interesting.

GIBSON JOHNS: And I think the show needs to sort of try-- at least try to meet her there. Like, I don't know if we'll ever get to her level specifically, but like, it obviously--


GIBSON JOHNS: I don't know, Orange County.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Well, it's kind of like, was she meant to be on Beverly Hills?


JORDANA ABRAHAM: I also don't know how-- I don't know how far they are proximity-wise from each other, but like, why was she cast on "Orange County" as opposed to "Beverly Hills?"

SAMI SAGE: Because she lives in New Port Richie.

GIBSON JOHNS: I guess just because lives there, but-- yeah, but like--

SAMI SAGE: They're not, like, that close.

GIBSON JOHNS: You'd that she would fit-- yeah. But maybe-- maybe it's like, she's meant to be the queen bee. Right.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Yeah, it seems like you took someone from Beverly Hills and you placed them in the "Orange County" crew--


JORDANA ABRAHAM: --a little bit.

SAMI SAGE: Something you just said I agree with is that I kind of feel like she would prefer-- "Beverly Hills," I think, she would thrive on because they keep-- they cover for each other. But in terms of like big fish, small pond, she definitely benefits from that. Because here we are talking about how she's on a different level. We're comparing her to those-- to the OC people. If she were compared to the "Beverly Hills" people--

JORDANA ABRAHAM: She might just be another-- another one.


SAMI SAGE: Another Wanda Foster, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Sure. [LAUGHS] I mean, speaking of "Beverly Hills," what do you-- what do you-- what did you-- where did you land at the end of this past season after that four part reunion, after the Erika of it all. They jump-- they jumped right back into filming. But where did you guys land when it came to Erika after that whole thing? It was a lot.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: I thought-- I thought she did a good job on the interview because she seemed less completely terrible and awful than she did on the show. I still feel like a little weird. Like, it's funny with her now, I feel like I'm kind of like, I don't totally know where to put her. So I think next season will be, like, swaying--

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, I think so too.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: --in one direction or another.

GIBSON JOHNS: And I'm curious to see, like, if they'll-- if they'll stay on this or if they're going to like let up on her and like kind of focus their efforts that elsewhere. Because I think there's more to tell, obviously, but we can't rehash the same stuff over and over.

SAMI SAGE: I think they're going to let up, and I think that that-- no offense to the production or any of them, but they really missed an opportunity for the show to take a different direction by keeping the entire Fox Force 5, as they call themselves, intact. I think they should have taken one or two of them off. I think the Dorit's robbery gave them a big opportunity to move the focus off of Erika-- Portia's bat mitzvah. You know, there's a lot that's going to be happening that I think will take some of the heat off Erika. And it kind of sucks for Sutton. She's a little bit like the Kendall Roy of the situation, where she, like, took the shot at the king and missed.


And yeah, I think also the fact that there's so many cast members-- like, they're all staying. So that diffuses some of the interest in any one person.


SAMI SAGE: And I think this is overall going to be a helpful season-- the next one will be helpful for Erika. Although, she's-- it's like she's fallen, and I don't think she's ever going to go back up.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Not to the same level.

GIBSON JOHNS: The mythology around Erika-- yeah, the Erika Jayne mythology, like, is--

SAMI SAGE: Is done.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, it's-- it's been-- yeah, it's not there anymore, and I don't think she can--

SAMI SAGE: And that's kind of her punishment.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, I think so. And like, I don't personally think she knew. I don't think that she knew, but I think that she handled the-- I think it would have been fairly-- it would have been a lot easier for her to just like be sympathetic and take a certain, you know, approach to talking about it. And she just didn't take that right approach, and that's where she botched it. And that's where, I think, she lost.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: And now it's like, we know your real personality, and that's your personality. And it's something we didn't know about you before, that this is how you would act, so we remember.

GIBSON JOHNS: And you've been-- and you've been misrepresenting your marriage a little bit. And so-- or a lot. And so it's hard to come back from that. So I kind of think the next season is going-- going to try to be the redemption of Erika Jayne, and I don't know how much people are going to buy into it.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Right. Well, that's the issue with "Beverly Hills" as a whole number. One one really tells you about their marriage, what's really going on. You'd only hear--


JORDANA ABRAHAM: Everything's very carefully curated, whereas the cool thing about someone like a Shannon Beador is that Shannon Beador is like, my husband hates me, like--


You know what I mean? Like, she's very-- she's not trying to put on a show at all, and sometimes she doesn't-- she does not come off well with it at all. But I do think there's something that the other franchises have that "Beverly Hills" does not, is a sense of, this-- like, I feel a sense of is real. And with Beverly Hills, I feel very-- it's very crafted.

GIBSON JOHNS: Totally, yeah.

SAMI SAGE: I do think you got that, though, in, like, "Potomac" and--

JORDANA ABRAHAM: It seems likes, just anywhere but-- but "Beverly." Everywhere else, you have more of a sense of it.

SAMI SAGE: Yeah. Or even like "Salt Lake City," where like some of them are very clearly trying to craft an image, it's still-- it's transparent.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, they're not-- they haven't been-- they have not-- the "Salt Lake City" women haven't been in the game enough for them to be, like, total pros at that, like, sort of being the producer and crafting the narrative and crafting the image. And I think, also, the viewers are so savvy at this point to like, [LAUGHS] know exactly what XYZ person is doing in their moment. So I think "Salt Lake City" is, like, one of the-- it's almost meta to a certain extent because it's post-Instagram. It's-- post you know eight or nine "Housewives" franchises, and then here it comes. And it's like, you know, they've all studied the handbook.

SAMI SAGE: It also took so little time for the characters' bullshit to get uncovered.

GIBSON JOHNS: To implode, right?

SAMI SAGE: Yeah. And that's different than any of the other franchises because, with them, you watched several seasons before--

JORDANA ABRAHAM: It's a slow burn.

SAMI SAGE: --you got to a scam.


GIBSON JOHNS: Right, totally. Yeah, we don't even know these women that well, and now-- [LAUGHS]

SAMI SAGE: All you know is the scam. Like, the scam they were running is all they ever were.

GIBSON JOHNS: Mhm, yeah. And yeah, to me, Jen Shah is like such a-- almost like a tragic figure because she is-- in some ways, she was, like, born for this. Like, she was born to be a reality star. She is such a character on camera. She obviously tried a little bit too hard that first season-- and then it comes crumbling down, and nobody really believes what she's telling us this season.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Right. Well, she hasn't built up-- she hasn't built up any trust--

GIBSON JOHNS: Credibility, yeah.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: --with anyone on the show or the audience, so there's no reason to believe her.

GIBSON JOHNS: Mhm. I totally agree.

SAMI SAGE: She's a regular Hamlet, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Who is your favorite on "Salt Lake City," each of you?

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Hmm, I kind of like Meredith, just because I--



JORDANA ABRAHAM: Not that she's so likable, but I maybe-- I don't know, again, she kind of has, like, more of a New York vibe.

SAMI SAGE: I think it's the-- I was going to say, it's the New York bias. Yeah, I think she comes across as the most in control of herself, and I think that's very appealing amongst many of the other people on the show. I think Lisa Barlow is, like, also made to be a housewife.


SAMI SAGE: So she's-- she's great in that capacity.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: She's, like, funny. I feel like she's funny to watch.

GIBSON JOHNS: Oh, I mean, like, everything she's-- the delivery is, like-- nobody can match her on the delivery. It's amazing, like the one liners, the tone that she takes. It's perfect. It's made for TV. I love it. Before we go, I wanted to talk a little bit about the younger, like, Bravo sphere with the "Summer House" and the "Vanderpump Rules" and the "Winter House" and all that.

Because to me, it's kind of going through the shift right now, where like, "Vanderpump Rules" reigned supreme for eight seasons, years, however long it's been on. But obviously, this season is, like, not really it. It's not-- I mean, I still love a lot of those people, and I've been having fun watching it. But it's not the same show it used to be. And then here comes "Summer House," which has had, like, the most steady rise of, like, any Bravo show I can think of. It gets better every single year.

And they're sort of feeding the "Winter House" thing. They're crossing over with "Southern Charm." It's like it's becoming this kind of different-- different world for Bravo, and I think it's working really well. What are your guys' thoughts on "Summer House" and sort of the "Vanderpump Rules" maybe reaching the end of its lifeline.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Well "Vanderpump Rules--" it's kind of like they grew up, right? And also some of them got kicked off, like the major toxic players, which gave you so much entertainment are gone. So it's-- I mean, besides James Kennedy, who's definitely still-- like, the last remaining awful person.

GIBSON JOHNS: You got a messy boy, right?



JORDANA ABRAHAM: So I think it's kind of like-- it almost feels, like, natural that that show has tapered off. Also, I feel like when the show started, Lisa Vanderpump, like, reigned supreme, and it was, like, her spin off about her stuff.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: And now I just feel like she's off "Beverly Hills." She doesn't really necessarily have the relevance that she used to. And all those people, like, they now are married, and they have babies. And that's, like, great for them, like, in life, but it's just less interesting.

GIBSON JOHNS: It's not great for us as viewers, necessarily.


SAMI SAGE: They also have like more money. And also, yeah, I think it is a little boring this season because I don't even see what's wrong with Raquel's nose. Like, I genuinely cannot find the problem.


SAMI SAGE: But "Winter--" I think "Summer House" and "Winter House--" the reason those shows work really well is because part of it was the slow rise, and it's really catching the peak time when they've all become genuinely really good friends, and the core people have stuck there.


SAMI SAGE: And there's a real friendship between I would say the like five main players-- like, Carl, Lindsay, Amanda, Kyle, and Danielle. And I think that that really drives, like, a great show. And then the people who aren't in that core group are still really good. Like, I think Paige also born for reality TV.


SAMI SAGE: You know, they are interesting characters. And "Southern Charm" also-- look, like, I actually think the dating overlap just was really-- it really worked, and it's a great network.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. No, I agree. I think it's wild.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Bravo world, yeah. And I think "Southern Charm--" what's interesting is that "Southern Charm" was sort of-- and it remains to be seen how it's going to sort of rebound, maybe. But I think it was going the same direction as "Vanderpump Rules," when last season wasn't amazing. It was sort of like, OK, what are we doing here? And then I think with this-- Paige is going to be on "Southern Charm," and we're going to-- I'm sure we'll see Sierra and some other sort of people pop up in there.

To me, that drums up a lot more excitement about the upcoming season of "Southern Charm" for the first time in, like, years. I don't-- like, I'm looking forward to "Southern Charm" in a way that I don't think I have maybe ever-- like, in a long time. So I don't know. I think it's just a very interesting, like, inflection point for Bravo right now.

SAMI SAGE: I mean, I think they needed to do it because-- you know, the "Housewives" is-- I mean, it's the most amazing, brilliant franchise, but it can't be forever, like the way-- no show can just reign forever.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: Well, the nice thing about "Housewives," though, is that they don't-- their lives don't evolve in the same way that, like, a "Vanderpump Rules" cast would. Like, they already-- they're already post the having kids--

GIBSON JOHNS: --certain point.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: --stage, right. So they can continue sort of more story-lines--

GIBSON JOHNS: Good point.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: --that don't involve them maturing because they're already like-- I wouldn't want to say mature, but--


GIBSON JOHNS: But you almost want to skip ahead like 5 or 10 years with "Vanderpump Rules" and see if you can create like a co-ed housewife show with them, you know what I mean? Where it's like-- because some of these people I really do love, but I don't know. And I think-- I mean, tying it all back, there are some people that work together at Betches that sort of reinvigorated "Summer House." And I think "Summer House" was struggling as a show for two seasons. And then it got to the third season, and Paige and Hannah and Jordan come on, who I guess-- did they all meet-- meeting at Betches? Is that what happened?

SAMI SAGE: Um, some of them did.


SAMI SAGE: I actually don't know. I think some of them knew each other before, and then some kind of did.


SAMI SAGE: Paige was a freelancer.


SAMI SAGE: And I'm pretty sure that's where she met both of them.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK. Yeah, that was sort of, like, the story that I was always-- that I always sort of heard. And so it's interesting that-- I mean, we're talking all back, but that was really the year that "Summer House" kind of, I think, solidified itself. And it was like, OK, we did a little cast reshuffle, and then now we-- we found some great people to integrate here.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Well, I feel like they were always kind of trying to find their footing with the cast, like the first few years was a lot of changing. Like, you had the twins, who I actually kind of liked and thought were entertaining. And then they took them out. You know what I mean? Like I feel like they were-- that's sort of what they were doing, is trying to find their grounding by adding in those people.

But the difference to me between "Summer House" and "Vanderpump Rules" also like, "Summer House--" they live together for-- I mean, that's why they do the trips in "Real Housewives" because they want to put them in the same place so that the tension builds up and then it explodes. And in "Vanderpump Rules," they like-- they see each other for filming, but in "Summer House," it's like this sort of unnatural thing where they're all placed in a house for like 16 weeks.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, it's a good point.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Or something-- or 12 weeks.

SAMI SAGE: "Vanderpump Rules" worked more when, even though they were working together and showing up for filming, they also were really friends and dating each other-- and like four years prior to the show. And like, you just can't-- you can't fake that dynamic. You can't make it happen, no matter how great the combination of women is-- or people, whatever it is. You just can't create real friendships that have already existed and relationships where you've dated each other.


SAMI SAGE: You can't create that out of nowhere. You have to like insert yourself into that. So that's why "Vanderpump" was so good. And then "Summer House--" I think those-- again, by the time it caught that third or fourth season, those earlier people who remained were really close and getting married and--

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Once you're on the show for this long, there's only a few people who like really understand your life because-- and those are the people who are, like, literally have the same exact experience. So to me, it makes sense that they would all be so close. Because who else is going to get it? Your friend from high school isn't on the show and doesn't get how your life has changed and what, you know, this whole weird bizarre experience that most people don't understand.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right. Or you meet somebody on Hinge in April, and then-- and then you go to film "Summer House" two months later. And you're like, hey, can you come visit me? But also, you have to get miked up and film the date.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: Right, and sign a waiver. Yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, exactly. [LAUGHS] And go on TV. So yeah, I don't know. I'm excited for what's to come on Bravo. I think we're at a really-- I think-- you know, early days of COVID, it was kind of like, what's going on here? Like, a lot of the shows weren't great. But I think I'm excited-- as a Bravo fan, I think the future is bright, so-- [LAUGHS]


SAMI SAGE: Agreed, agreed.

GIBSON JOHNS: Well, Jordana and Sami, this is so much fun, to hear about Betches and just pick your brains about pop culture. Plug whatever you want to plug before we sign off here because I think that's all the time we have.

SAMI SAGE: I don't even know where to start with that, but you are a really great interviewer, so thank you.

GIBSON JOHNS: Oh, thank you.


GIBSON JOHNS: Thank you so much.

JORDANA ABRAHAM: This was a really fun conversation. Thank you. Obviously, you can follow Betches on Instagram. You can follow our podcasts-- the Betches network, anywhere you listen to podcasts. I host You Up, a dating and relationship podcast. Sami hosts the morning announcements and is also a host of the Betches 'Sup. Do you want to give them any other of your podcasts?

SAMI SAGE: Oh, no. You can follow me on Instagram at Sami, Jordana's at Jordana Abraham. There's always so many things, and now I'm blanking.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: Yeah, and we have a new podcast all about, like, a fun look into to personal finance called Money Please, so definitely check that out as well.


JORDANA ABRAHAM: And Bravo By Betches. If you loved the Bravo conversation, we have a whole podcast.

GIBSON JOHNS: We love Bravo by Betches. Dylan's great. [LAUGHS]

JORDANA ABRAHAM: I mentioned it all. The podcast is calling, sorry.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yes. Well, thank you guys so much, and happy new year. I think this going to be coming out right before the new year, so well, I'm sure we'll talk again soon. Thank you guys so much.




JORDANA ABRAHAM: Thank you so much, bye.

GIBSON JOHNS: Bye, guys. Thank you so much for listening. For more celebrity interviews, subscribe to We Should Talk on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you heard, please rate and review us, as any show of support you can give us would be greatly appreciated. You can follow me, at @gibsonoma on Twitter and Instagram, and you can follow In the Know at In The Know on Twitter and at Watch In the Know on Instagram. We'll talk to you next time.