The surprising truth behind Twitter’s infamous @RadziwillLee account
Hear some excerpts from the interview featured in the blog below, where Jordan talks about how @RadziwillLee might view some of the Real Housewives. Please listen, susbscribe, and leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes!
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, because I’m not one to put people (besides former President Obama and Lisa Vanderpump) up on a pedestal. But it’s time for me to confess: I studied and stalked the @RadziwillLee parody account on Twitter for about six months before finally mustering the courage to contact its creator. At the time of this writing, the account has over 9,300 followers, including big names like podcast queen Heather McDonald and Nicki Hilton. It built this following without paid followers, ads, or promotion—just hilarious, biting commentary (usually focused on reality TV and celebrities) delivered multiple times daily.
I’m a professional blogger who literally gets paid to be clever and snarky. While I love to support other writers, I’m petty enough that when I come across a writer whose brilliance dramatically eclipses my own, I get an immediate pang of jealousy that quickly morphs into hostility. That is exactly what happened when I first stumbled upon @RadziwillLee, an account impersonating the late Lee Radziwill, the famous socialite and sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (neé Bouvier), who died in the spring of 2019. I went through the four little-known stages of envy: denial, violent rage, binge eating, and finally, acceptance. After going back on keto and losing the five pounds I gained, I DMd the creator of this popular account. Much to my surprise, he answered the next day. Of course, being the nosy bitch I am, I immediately began peppering him with a barrage of questions.
Before I share his answers, some quick background. The @RadziwillLee account’s tweets are so convincing that they continuously fool people who don’t realize it’s a parody account. Its first incarnation (under the name @LeeRadziwill) made LuAnn “Countess” De Lesseps think that she was being followed on Twitter by the actual Lee Radziwill, who was the mother-in-law of Real Housewives of New York’s Carole Radziwill. She complained about it on an episode of the reality show, only to recant and explain that she had mistaken the parody account for the real thing. The story was so amusing that the scripted Bravo show “Odd Mom Out” included a fictionalized version of it in an episode.
The micro-bursts of scathing @Lee commentary became so infamous that it prompted an online gossip rag to cover the account in 2015. “This account made a splash in the world of social media in response to Lee’s Radziwill’s daughter-in-law, Carole, and all of her hippy-cougar widow antics, which unfolded during the season,” wrote All About the Tea’s “Beach Spin.” “@Lee’s stellar tweets have hilariously confused the media, and entertained the viewer with her high-brow and creative musings on the show, pointedly her outspoken disapproval of her daughter in law’s handling of her husband Anthony’s remains.”
It was so convincing, in fact, that @Lee eventually drew the ire of Carole Radziwill herself, a debacle that led Twitter to delete the account in 2015. After re-emerging with the handle @RadziwillLee, it took another three years to build the following back up.
So, who *is* behind @RadziwillLee?
Jordan Meyers, 33, is nothing like you might expect. First off, he’s a GUY. I still can’t fathom how this understated UCLA employee can so effectively impersonate the late Lee. He tweets about a life defined by immense wealth, famous friends, and high fashion in such a convincing (and feminine) way that it’s easy to forget who’s writing the tweets.
Second, more cognitive dissonance: he’s straight. Pardon my obvious bias, but, whaaaa? That’s right—he may write like a bitchy queen, but he’s actually a heterosexual man with a degree in the somber topic of political science. He was born and raised in the decidedly non-glamorous Los Angeles suburbs. A pop-culture aficionado (and expert, in my opinion), he hung out in the fashionable areas of LA in his 20s. But these days, he’s mostly a homebody whose pastimes primarily include watching reality TV and posting on social media.
Despite what seems like first-hand knowledge of the lifestyles of the rich and famous, Jordan was raised in a relatively unremarkable, upper-middle-class household, a middle child sandwiched between an older sister and a younger brother. When I asked him about his role in the family, he says he was the achiever, the honor student. But these days, he’s the creative, eccentric one who hasn’t yet married or settled down with an ambitious career.
Jordan draws a contrast between himself and his older sister as an example. “She’s a school-district administrator who is balanced and not prone to psychiatric meltdowns,” he says in characteristic wry style. I’m not sure if he’s kidding around until he tells me about the Brooks Brothers duffel bag he keeps in his car. It’s filled with the supplies characteristic of anxiety sufferers: Ativan, Advil, Alka Seltzer, sunscreen. It also holds tobacco (and/or cannabis) vapes and cartridges, boarding passes from old trips, Starbursts, mouthwash, pens, a granola bar, Downey wrinkle-release spray (he says it hides the smell of cigarette smoke), a water balloon kit (for the kids in his family), and a Jaguar baseball cap, even though he doesn’t drive a Jag (#goals). In essence, it’s an analog of my own purse.
While Jordan does not yet have kids of his own, he adores his niece and nephew. He loves to be a drive-by uncle, stirring the kids up and then leaving his sister to deal with the fallout. For example, he says, “when my sister doesn’t respond to my texts for days at a time, I reply ‘Amazon Priming your kids jars of Nutella. Deal with it. xoxo Uncle J.’”
I ask Jordan who his favorite style icon is and he says Lew Wasserman. “Dress British, think Yiddish,” he adds. (Did I mention I love this guy?) As a followup, I ask him what his Housewives tagline might be. His first retort is, “Dress like a yachtsman, but drink like a sailor.” Later, he adds an alternative: “My life is a hashtag and it’s trending worldwide.”
Strangely, the inspiration behind the Lee parody account was not Lee herself, but rather Arlene, his well-off grandmother, who he describes as “The Jewish Jackie O’.” And when he sends me a picture, I have to agree. The elegant brunette does, indeed, look like JFK’s late wife. It was she who gave Jordan the taste of wealth that prompted his fascination with high society.
Jordan likens his grandmother’s slightly disapproving air to Gilmore Girls’ Emily Gilmore, Lorelei’s mother. He sends me a video compilation from YouTube to illustrate. In it, the elder Gilmore repeats “Lorelei” in a jaded, scolding tone over and over again in various situations. I imagine Arlene intoning “Jordan” in the same voice and chortle.
His process for developing @Lee’s hilarious tweets
I ask Jordan about how he writes his posts. “I take inspiration from various sources,” he explains. “Remember, I truly have read all the books. I studied American politics in college because I wanted to focus on the Kennedys.”
He gives me an example of how he applies a “Lee filter” to everyday events. “The other day, I was walking by the TV and Lawrence of Arabia was on,” he says. “He was driving this huge Rolls Royce. Then, I thought about Lee. She was a gold digger. So, I tweeted ‘I should have dated a Lawrence of Arabia when I had the chance, if only for his armored Rolls Royce.’” He continues: “I look for something slightly ridiculous and out of touch. I love delusions of grandeur. I ask myself how I can frame the event in a jaded, aristocratic, but vaguely inappropriate, way.”
It worked, in part, because of the freedom @Lee afforded him. “I took a niche name,” Jordan says. “It’s not Jackie. It’s not a name that the whole world knows.” Lee wasn’t as well-known as her sister, so she wasn’t bound by the decorum of a first lady, Jordan explains. “She lived a much wilder life, hanging out with the Rolling Stones, with Warhol.” He loves to take the “stuffiest person, an icon of aristocracy,” and then “apply that filter to lowbrow things, such as, what Camille Grammar ate for lunch today.”
At this point in the interview, he sounds relaxed and chatty. As a former reporter, I can tell I’ve cracked the code—Jordan is opening up to me as though we were old pals. I sense the shift and pounce.
“You should do a podcast with me,” I say. I count the beats as I wait for his answer. “Strange you should ask,” he answers. “Just yesterday, I was thinking ‘I should do a podcast.’” My heart leaps. Because after all, if I can’t be as brilliant as Jordan Meyers, the next best thing would be to join forces with him.
That was three weeks ago. Today, I’m excited to share a clip from the first episode of our forthcoming podcast “Kiki and Kibbitz with Jordan and Brianna,” our combined snarky take on reality television and celeb gossip. Listen as we discuss the week’s tabloid news, haze each other, and play games like “Guess who’s the Jew” and “Fantasy Housewives Crossovers.” New episodes are released weekly on Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Sticher, or wherever else you listen.