Which Celebrity Throws The Best Shade? A Definitive Guide

Photo: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images.
All celebrities have the ability to throw shade (it's something that being in the spotlight necessitates, if you think about it). So if we were to rank the top celebrity shade-throwers of all time, the competition would be stiff.

Some are just better at it than others, though. We don't just mean people who once dragged someone in an interview. We mean celebrities who have mastered the art of sipping tea. These are the stars who say everything they think without so much as a pause — but definitely with an eye roll.

There would have to be legends on the list, like the late Prince and diva Mariah Carey. But there would also be newcomers, like Selena Gomez who has quickly made a name for herself by sending a lifetime supply of shade over to her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber.

They're meme-worthy. They're literally laugh-out-loud funny. But only one of these celebrities is the QUEEN of shade. So who sips tea the best? Vote below for your favorite.
1 of 30
Photo: Gregory Pace/BEI/Shutterstock.
Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj might be the queen of throwing shade at society. Like that time she called out MTV for its lack of nominations for women of color. Quickly followed by that time she shaded Taylor Swift so hard for her misguided response. To that time she shaded Miley on national television. Gotta love her.
2 of 30
Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect.
Did Prince perfect shade? Did he teach everyone how to take the proper pause and throw in a side-eye? Did he spend most of his life shading everyone from Justin Timberlake to Michael Jackson? YES. YES. YES.
3 of 30
Photo: Gregory Pace/BEI/Shutterstock.
While Rihanna throwing shade in words is pretty epic — just see her Instagram comments for proof — it pales in comparison to the times she throws shade with her face. Honestly, whenever you want to convey shade in a text message, find a Rihanna GIF. It will ALWAYS work. ALWAYS.
4 of 30
Photo: Cindy Barrymore/REX/Shutterstock.
Kelly Clarkson
In addition to having a beautiful voice, Kelly Clarkson can also throw some serious shade. She once tweeted during the VMAs, “Just saw a couple performances from the VMA's last night. 2 words.... #pitchystrippers.”

The best part? When people asked her if she was shading Miley Cyrus, Clarkson said she never said Miley, but added, “The fact that I tweeted 'pitchy stripper' and people said Miley Cyrus is not my problem. I'm just saying.”
5 of 30
Photo: Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock.
If you think that Beyoncé is just a quiet girl from Texas, think again. Back in the days of Destiny’s Child, Queen Bey used to throw shade on the regular. Just ask any other member of Destiny’s Child who might have thought they were the lead — or second lead (LOL) — in the group.
6 of 30
Photo: RMV/REX/Shutterstock.
Katy Perry
What do you do when your former friend throws shade at you in song, tweets, and interviews? You shade her ass right back. Katy Perry has no problem throwing some subtle shade at her frenemy Taylor Swift every now and then. And who can forget that video of her dancing along to Kanye’s controversial “Famous” lyrics?
7 of 30
Photo: Mathieson Sr./REX/Shutterstock.
Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama throws shade so well, you would think it’s in the first lady’s job description. FLOTUS has no problem throwing some friendly shade at her husband and giving other politicians the once over. But she’s also managed to shade Donald Trump in countless campaign speeches — all without ever saying his name. Now that’s shade done with a touch of class.
8 of 30
Photo: Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock.
Madonna's been throwing shade since the '80s. She once even dared to shade Whitney Houston by asking “Is that still in the charts?” when reporters asked about The Bodyguard soundtrack. But she reached peak petty shade when Lady Gaga came on the scene. Don't even get Madge started on "Express Yourself," we mean, "Born This Way." It’s so hard to tell the difference, isn’t it Madge?
9 of 30
Photo: Claude Paris/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
Mariah Carey
Never forget: "I don't know her." Mariah Carey doesn't know who Jennifer Lopez is — and she doesn't really care. She’s also happy to tell you that you don’t exist to her. She has shaded exes and even Whitney Houston. This is a woman who will wear lingerie and diamonds while waving you away like a fly. Classify this one under "diva shade."
10 of 30
Photo: StarPix/REX/Shutterstock.
Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato isn’t afraid of anyone. If you have any doubts, please follow her on Twitter. Girlfriend will shade any celebrity (cough Taylor Swift cough) who tries to pull a PR stunt. She’s not here for fakeness, so she keeps it 100% real.
11 of 30
Photo: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock.
Miley Cyrus
A lot of celebrities enjoy shading Miley Cyrus. But that might because Miley Cyrus always seems to throw the first bit of shade herself, often unprovoked. She’s randomly thrown shade at Mariah Carey as well as Taylor Swift and her squad. But remember when — out of nowhere — she decided to shade Nicki Minaj in an interview? That didn’t end too well for her.
12 of 30
Photo: Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock.
Kim Kardashian West
Remember the great Taylor Swift clapback of 2016? Of course you do. But every word uttered leading up to it, every tweet — that was classic shade. The shadiest of them all? “Wait it's legit National Snake Day?!?!? They have holidays for everybody, I mean everything these days!.” Snake emoji included.
13 of 30
Photo: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images.
Nene Leakes
She's not the queen of The Real Housewives of Atlanta for nothing, honey. Nene Leakes' shade is so epic that she's made an entire career off it. She’s shaded everyone from Housewives Cynthia and Kenya to Lil Kim and Raven Symone. She even shaded the entire cast from The View, saying “All of them are tired.”
14 of 30
Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock.
Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga does not just receive shade; she throws it, too. The two best examples: Gaga vs. The Chainsmokers and Gaga vs. Madonna.

When the Chainsmokers decided to diss her album, Gaga sent them a subtle tweet in response. And when she was compared to Madonna, she said, “She's the biggest pop star of all time...But I play a lot of instruments. I write all my own music. I spend hours and hours a day in the studio. I'm a producer. I'm a writer. What I do is different." Ouch.
15 of 30
Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock.
Kanye West
If there’s one thing you should know about Yeezus, it’s that he will throw shade at ANYONE. All it takes is just one cryptic tweet for Kanye West to launch into a rant so brutal and nasty that it barely qualifies as shade. It's more of an all-out assault. With that said, he still manages to shade quite a few people with the help of his wifey — just ask Taylor Swift.
16 of 30
Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/BEI/Shutterstock.
Aretha Franklin
There’s only one person who can throw shade at Patti LaBelle and live to tell the tale: Aretha Franklin. The queen of soul has shaded everyone — with words and actions — from Whitney Houston to Diana Ross and Celine Dion. When Beyoncé introduced Tina Turner as “the queen,” Aretha felt the need to release a statement on the matter, because there can only be ONE queen.
17 of 30
Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock.
Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift's entire career is built on shading people in song lyrics. And when she feels the need, Swift continues to spout shade during interviews, in acceptance speeches, and even through her squad. Just ask Joe Jonas, Kanye West, Katy Perry, and John Mayer. (Yes, that was shade)
18 of 30
Photo: Farrell/BFA.com/REX/Shutterstock.
Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez's favorite pastimes are singing, dancing, posting Instagram photos, and forever throwing shade at her ex Justin Bieber. But please note, those pastimes may not be in that order.
19 of 30
Photo: KCR/REX/Shutterstock.
Amber Rose
When your ex goes on a crazed Twitter rant and decides to trash you, there's nothing better than throwing some fresh shade. Oh, and never forget how well Amber Rose shaded Khloé Kardashian. She is not here to play with these girls.
20 of 30
Photo: Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic.
Tamar Braxton
Don’t get it twisted: Toni may be the star of the Braxton family, but Tamar is the diva. She’s shaded her own damn sisters (to their faces, no less), the actress who’s portraying her in a biopic, and most recently, her former co-stars from The Real.
21 of 30
Photo: Abel Fermin/REX/Shutterstock.
Naomi Campbell
You guys, is there really any doubt that Naomi Campbell throws shade with the best of them? She’s been throwing shade for just as long as she’s been a top model. She'll shade anyone and everyone — from Tyra Banks to Coco Rocha. If you ever have a death wish and aren’t scared of having a phone thrown at you, feel free to step to Naomi. Just prepare for a shade so cold that you’ll get frostbite.
22 of 30
Photo: Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock.
Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen is the queen of Twitter shade — just ask Piers Morgan. But her shade can be done IRL, too. Remember that time we were all forced to watch Stacy Dash at the Academy Awards? Well, do you remember that Chrissy Teigen responded by making this face? Not only did she pull an “oh no” face while Dash was on stage, she later went on Twitter to let people know that the face was specifically for Dash. The shade of it all!
23 of 30
Photo: Pace/BEI/BEI/Shutterstock.
Martha Stewart
Once upon a time, Martha Stewart shaded Kim Kardashian’s BFF Jonathan Cheban, tweeting, “Do you know this guy?? He says he is well known.” She’s also notoriously shaded both Blake Lively and Gwyneth Paltrow for their forays into lifestyle branding. She literally said about Paltrow, “If she were confident in her acting, she wouldn't be trying to be Martha Stewart." Way harsh, Martha.
24 of 30
Photo: Pace/BEI/BEI/Shutterstock.
Patti LaBelle
When Patti LaBelle isn’t selling delicious pies or singing with that glorious voice, she’s usually throwing some shade. She’s thrown major shade at both Nicki Minaj and “that little Miley.” And when asked about the famous YouTube review of her pies, LaBelle said “I was selling out before that guy did his wonderful video.” She added with just the right amount of shade, “But it’s beautiful. Thank God. Isn’t it wonderful?”
25 of 30
Photo: SNAP/REX/Shutterstock.
Joan Crawford
How do you have a battle of the divas in Old Hollywood? By throwing shade left and right. Joan Crawford’s long feud with Bette Davis is one for the history books. And it wouldn’t have been possible with Crawford saying things like “Poor Bette, she looks like she’s never had a happy day, or night, in her life.”
26 of 30
Photo: Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.
Britney Spears
If you think that Britney Spears is too sweet to throw shade, then you’ve never watched an episode of X-Factor, featuring some of the shadiest — and candid — facial reactions that Brit Brit could provide.
27 of 30
Photo: Pace/BEI/BEI/Shutterstock.
Whitney Houston
You don’t get to be a diva if you don’t know how to throw shade. Whitney Houston famously had a very public shade-fest with her arch rival and fellow shade-throwing diva, Mariah Carey. But when she wasn’t shading Mimi, she was busy shading everyone and everything — including when Diane Sawyer tried to ask her about drug use and actually told her, "I want to see the receipts."
28 of 30
Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.
EJ Johnson
When your dad is an NBA legend, you need to make your own legacy. EJ Johnson’s legacy has been solidified thanks to his ability to throw shade like no other. Not only does he interject realness on his reality TV shows, but also on Instagram. Even his hashtag #TeamThis is shade. Because if you’re not this, you’re that. And that’s just sad, isn’t it?
29 of 30
Photo: Getty Images.
Bette Davis
Sorry, Joan Crawford, but yesteryear’s queen of shade is Bette Davis. She once said that Crawford “slept with every male star at MGM, except Lassie.” She actually said, “The best time I ever had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" And after Crawford’s death, Davis reportedly said, “You should never say bad things about the dead, only good. Joan Crawford is dead...good.”
30 of 30
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celebrity news, fun takes on pop culture, and trending stories on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!