Reality stars aren’t celebrated for their talents. Sure, most can throw down on camera and give a good, booze-fueled display of hysterics when it’s called for, but what do they actually do? They're famous for being famous.

Refreshingly, this is definitely not the case for The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s NeNe Leakes. She first popped onto our radar as the most entertaining and over-the-top cast member of the Bravo franchise's Atlanta incarnation, but it’s not her ability to produce the shrillest screech and the most sassy, hilarious catchphrases that impressed us this year. Homegirl’s actually proven to be a competant actress, from her guest spot on the Glee, and her regular role on the now-canceled NBC comedy The New Normal. We never thought anyone would put RHOA star Kim Zolciak’s efforts to break into the non-reality entertainment biz to shame, but life’s full of surprises.  

Furthermore, she was still one of the most interesting cast members on RHOA this season, despite spending the majority of her time in Los Angeles filming The New Normal. This past season could have been the show’s most annoying yet thanks to Kenya Moore and her guy drama, along with her obsession over the subtle differences between Miss USA and Miss America. Thanks to NeNe, however—and the fact that she didn’t hesitate before sending her co-stars home when they were over two hours late to her dinner party in the Hollywood Hills because of “traffic”—the season was salvaged.