“RHOC”'s Emily and Gina Shut Down Haters as They Near a Milestone: 'Let It Go ... We Earned Our Spot' (Exclusive)

Tamra Judge said at BravoCon 2023 that Vicki Gunvalson had questioned "why the f---" her former costars "still have their job and I don't"

<p>Andrew Eccles/Bravo via Getty Images</p>

Andrew Eccles/Bravo via Getty Images

As Emily Simpson and Gina Kirschenheiter head into their sixth season on The Real Housewives of Orange County, the dynamic duo are hitting back against anyone who questions their rightful place on the show.

Simpson, 47, and Kirschenheiter, 39, chatted witih PEOPLE at BravoCon 2023, reflecting on nearing a record for “the longest-running Housewives on the mother show.”

“You spend enough time as an underdog, you learn how to become a top cat,” affirmed Kirschenheiter, while Simpson said they have “a lot to be proud of.”

Related: Gina Kirschenheiter Says It Was 'Really Good' For Her to Film 'RHOC' Sober: 'I Felt Way More Present'

<p> Rich Polk/Bravo via Getty(3)</p>

Rich Polk/Bravo via Getty(3)

The RHOC pals also reacted to a comment returning OC Housewife Tamra Judge said their former costar Vicki Gunvalson made about them last year when reacting to Judge's return to the series.

Though the conversation eventually took place privately over the phone, the 56-year-old former CUT Fitness owner revealed at Friday's Housewife2Housewife: Comeback Queens that the original plan had been for Andy Cohen to “announce it on Watch What Happens Live when I had Vicki with me.”

“Not a good plan,” she acknowledged.

Then she recounted her phone chat with Gunvalson, 61. According to Judge, the "OG of the OC" — who quit the show in January 2020 after 14 years — said she was "happy" about her friend's return, then asked pointedly, "Why the f--- do Emily and Gina still have their job and I don’t?”

Judge summed up, “She cried, she yelled, she got over it.”

Related: Vicki Gunvalson Says She Cried When She Heard Tamra Judge Was Returning to 'RHOC' : 'I Have FOMO' 

<p>Trae Patton/Bravo via Getty</p>

Trae Patton/Bravo via Getty

On Saturday, Simpson and Kirschenheiter said Gunvalson needs to “let it go.”

“We clearly have earned our spots,” said Kirschenheiter. “The thing is, we [are relatable to] real people. We [resonate] with real moms, and I'm not gonna apologize because I know that real moms and real people really like us.”

Simpson added that Bravo fans have not only connected with her but with her husband Shane, her children and their family.

“Seriously, Victoria,” she quipped with a wave of her hand, "get over it."

Related: Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Judge Sparred over 'the Truth' About Teddi Mellencamp Before Explosive WWHL Comments (Exclusive)

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images Vicki Gunvalson
Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images Vicki Gunvalson

Gunvalson was one of the original Housewives when RHOC premiered back in 2006 but became a Friend of the franchise during season 14.

Announcing her decision to leave the series after one season in a reduced capacity, Gunvalson shared a statement on Instagram: “I will always be the OG of the OC, but it’s time to say goodbye to The Real Housewives of Orange County. It’s been an incredible ride for 14 years and I want to thank all of you for your support, for your love and for ‘whooping it up!'”

But it seems the situation wasn't completely irreparable — Gunvalson made a highly anticipated appearance once again in season 17 and was honored with the first-ever Wifetime Achievement Award at BravoCon 2023.

For more of PEOPLE's BravoCon coverage, click here.

The Real Housewives of Orange County can be streamed in full on Peacock.

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