The Hot Seat

Phaedra Parks Is Ready For Her Comeback

Without breaking a nail, the former Housewife is throwing daggers and shade on The Traitors.

Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle; Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images

Phaedra Parks first made her reality-TV name on The Real Housewives of Atlanta during a seven-season run from 2010 to 2017. But these days she’s more well known as a Traitor.

The former Housewife has arguably become the breakout star of Peacock’s The Traitors, whose second season has made it the most-watched unscripted series across all streamers. Hosted by Alan Cumming, the show casts 22 reality TV stars, from Big Brother to The Bachelor, to compete in a murder-mystery challenge at a castle in Scotland.

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” Parks tells Bustle. “I thought I would be walking down a staircase, not physical activities and fighting with people. It turned into Dynasty meets Survivor.”

Chosen as a Traitor in the first episode, Parks immediately put her personality to work, unleashing her Southern charm on her co-stars and viewers, and generating the show’s biggest viral moments. (Spoilers ahead!) Her dramatic reaction to fellow Traitor Parvati Shallow “murdering” Love Island alum Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu with a poisoned chalice had fans recreating the moment on TikTok.

“I guess I just have the gift of gab,” says Parks, who, as of publication, is the only original Traitor left standing after Dan Gheesling and Parvati were eliminated.

Between Traitors, her new role on Married to Medicine, and a well-received run on Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, fans are experiencing a Phaedra-ssance. There’s even been some discussion about a possible RHOA comeback, especially after former co-star Porsha Guobadia, the Frick to her Frack, announced her upcoming return for Season 16.

“Porsha and I was just talking,” she says. “We obviously were a dynamic duo for the franchise for years, so we just have to see what happens. But I’m super happy for her. I think she’s going to turn those Titanic ratings around.”

Below, Parks opens up about her viral Traitors moments, Dan’s betrayal, and her potential RHOA return.

Dan Gheesling and Phaedra Parks on The Traitors. Peacock

Did you want to be a Traitor?

I didn’t care. I was just super excited. It was so different and so far out of my comfort zone. My mom said, “Phaedra, if you keep your mouth closed and cut your nails down, you probably can win.” I didn't realize why she wanted me to cut my nails down. Now I do, but I didn’t even break a nail or lose a jewel. My nail artist deserves a whole round of applause.

What went through your mind when Dan threw you under the bus during Episode 5?

I was so disappointed and shocked. Looking back, I didn't know he and Parvati were plotting against me the whole time. I thought they were good people, but obviously, they are not of good Christian character. I thought he was a little strange. He gives, “I drive a cargo van with no windows.” When someone shows you they’re weird, you better believe them.

What do you plan to say to him at the reunion?

Oh, honey. I have some choice words. I might have to repent afterward.

How did Ekin-Su react to your viral “Lord, Not Ekin-Su” line?

We were able to get together and recreate that moment — I have to put that video up on my TikTok. I would’ve never killed sweet Ekin-Su. She’s not a bloodhound. I would’ve kept her around forever.

How did you come up with “Bergalicious,” your nickname for Bergie?

We were on the same flight to Scotland. He was sitting next to me and traveling alone. He said, “I'm going to a castle.” I said, “A castle? Are you on the show with me?” And he’s like, “I can’t tell.” I said, “OK, you’re on the show with me. You can help me with my luggage, honey.” When he said his name was Bergie, I was like, “What kind of name is that? I’m going to call you Bergalicious.”

Carsten “Bergie” Bergersen and Phaedra Parks on The Traitors. Peacock

Which other Housewives do you think will be good at Traitors?

From Atlanta, I think Marlo [Hampton] would be great. Sonja Morgan would be awesome out of New York. Teresa [Giudice of New Jersey] would be an interesting player. From Orange County, Vicki Gunvalson would be awesome at it. She’d be very interesting in a castle.

Your RHOA co-star Shereé Whitfield had a big moment where she saved you from elimination.

It was a full-circle moment because we’ve seen each other go through births, marriages, divorces, just everything. Our relationship runs a whole lifetime. For her to be with me at this picturesque castle a million miles away from home is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

What would RHOA look like if you returned to the show?

Like a winning cast. When I was on the show, those were the best seasons, and you always want to capture that chemistry. [Me returning] is definitely not the worst idea that they’ve come up with. I would love to see it return to its heyday where we were just so much fun. Glam, sprinkled with a little drama.

What are you most proud of as a Bravolebrity?

It would definitely be The Traitors, because this show gave people the opportunity to really see my personality in a pure, unedited way. I could just really enjoy myself. The Housewives shows, honey, that is a training field for World War III.

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.