Queen of Reality TV: Tiffany ‘New York’ Pollard’s biggest moments

The reality TV icon returns this week in "House of Villains" on E!.

The Queen of reality TV has returned to reclaim her throne. That’s right, Tiffany “New York” Pollard is back on our TV screens this fall, appearing in the highly anticipated E! series, “House of Villains,” which brings together some of the biggest and most impactful villains we’ve seen in reality TV history.

Pollard’s impact on the medium cannot be overstated: in many ways, reality TV is very much the house that “New York” built. Even now, almost 20 years since the 2006 premiere of “Flavor of Love,” millions are still sending memes of Pollard from her moments on that series, her own shows “I Love New York” and “New York Goes to Hollywood,” her appearance on “Celebrity Big Brother” and more. As we prepare to once again catch up with our favorite messy reality star in “House of Villains,” we’re looking back at some of Pollard’s best moments in the medium so far.

Tiffany “New York” Pollard in “House of Villains.” (Photo by Casey Durkin/E! Entertainment)

Flavor of Love

In 2006, a star was born. Audiences were introduced to 20 hopefuls looking for love with rapper Flavor Flav when “Flavor of Love” hit the scene on VH1, but all eyes were on Pollard. Nicknamed “New York,” the hilarious, outspoken, and confrontational personality had the secret recipe that makes a reality star shine. She told it like it was, was messy behind (and in front of) the girls’ backs, and made us all laugh along the way.

Even if you disagreed with her antics, “New York” almost solidified the “love to hate” her trope. Take one of the most popular memes from the show’s first season, in which Hottie, another contestant, calls New York jealous because “all of her friends” tell her she looks like Beyoncé.

Cue the now-iconic, uproarious response from a bewildered “New York,” who simply repeats Queen Bey’s name over and over again in pure awe. The moment has become so embedded in the culture that whenever the Grammy winner posts or even teases new music or content, thousands of “Beyoncé? Beyoncé?” memes flood the internet.

New York vs. Pumkin

The first season also includes one of the greatest reality TV fights of all time: New York vs. Pumkin. During the latter’s elimination ceremony, tensions rise between her and Pollard, leading to a physical altercation for the ages. You know what happens next…Pumkin spits (yes, spits) on New York, prompting Pollard to literally chase her out of the mansion.

The chase (and subsequent slow-motion replays) became memes before memes were even a thing. Even now, you simply have to search “New York and Pumkin” to find hundreds of GIFs of the instantly recognizable exchange.

New York runs VH1

Defying all reality TV dating show logic, New York came back for season 2 of “Flavor of Love,” terrorizing yet another set of contestants looking to date Flav. While the reality star returned even more determined than before, she once again went home without winning Flav’s heart, in a jaw-dropping finale containing a confrontation between Pollard and Flav that, you guessed it, spawned countless memes and recreations of her storming off in a powder blue dress.

This was not the end for New York on VH1, however. After an electrifying (and yes, meme-creating) performance at the season 2 reunion, New York got her own show: “I Love New York.” Like “Flavor of Love” before it, the show saw 20 contestants vying for one person’s love, this time 20 male singles fighting for a shot with Pollard herself.

But, we weren’t done there! Pollard turned out to be a content machine for the network, churning out shows like “New York Goes to Hollywood” and “New York Goes to Work,” which followed her pursuits as an actress and trying to land a “regular” job, respectively. One viral moment fans may remember is when, at a casting call, Pollard takes offense to a fellow actress telling her to “break a leg,” thinking the phrase commonly used in place of “good luck” in show business literally meant wishing for her to break her leg.

Celebrity Big Brother, College Hill: Celebrity Edition and more

After her reign on VH1 slowed down around 2010, Pollard continued to make various appearances on reality TV shows. Her participation in the 17th season of the UK edition of “Celebrity Big Brother” spawned yet another viral moment, in which Pollard went on a minute-long rant against her fellow contestant Gemma Collins.

Pollard’s other endeavors include a digital VH1 series “Brunch with Tiffany,” judge appearances on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” appearances on “Scared Famous” and “Famously Single,” and recently, she participated in season 2 of “College Hill: Celebrity Edition” alongside Joseline Hernandez and Ray J.

Again, Pollard is a reality TV machine and a true founding mother, and queen, of reality TV.

“House of Villains” premieres Thursday, Oct. 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

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