Ariana Madix Opens Up About Eating Disorder, Weight Gain Criticism, and DWTS Pressure, Plus If Boyfriend Daniel Wai Will Appear on Vanderpump Rules Season 11

by Lindsay Cronin Comments
Ariana Madix Talks Eating Disorder, Weight Gain Criticism, and DWTS Pressure, Plus If Boyfriend Daniel Wai Will Appear on Vanderpump Rules Season 11

Credit: Disney/Christopher Willard

Ariana Madix is opening up about her struggles with an eating disorder.

As she continues to undergo grueling workouts and training sessions amid her stint on Dancing With the Stars, Ariana, 38, is sharing what led to her unhealthy relationship with eating, discussing the criticism she received amid her recovery, and confirming if boyfriend Daniel Wai will be seen alongside her on Vanderpump Rules season 11.

“Once or twice, but definitely not very much,” Ariana told E! News of Daniel’s future appearances on October 30. “He’s not into the whole world of it all. It was very foreign to him, but I give him props for being a good sport on my behalf.”

Although Daniel was seen attending the Pump Rules cast trip to San Francisco in September, where the finale episode was filmed, fans will have to wait and see if he turns up in the episode.

Also up in the air at the moment is Ariana’s shared sandwich shop with Katie Maloney, 38, Something About Her. While the venue was supposed to be opened over the summer, that hasn’t happened quite yet.

“I just want Something About Her to become super successful and to open more locations. Starting a sandwich empire and take over the world,” Katie shared during her own chat with E! News.

Meanwhile, during an October 30 interview with Self, Ariana spoke candidly about her body issues and mental health concerns.

“When I was young and experiencing and feeling things like depression and body dysmorphia, I wouldn’t have even known what to look up on the internet, or how to. I mean, I wasn’t going to go to the library and check out a book about mental health,” Ariana recalled. “Even later on, I didn’t realize what I was doing when I was restricting my eating, or that my thoughts in regard to my relationship with food and my body were dangerous.”

“Growing up, my image of something like an eating disorder was very extreme. I didn’t know that disordered eating can take many forms, and isn’t necessarily, ‘Oh, you’re below a certain number of pounds,'” she added.

According to Ariana, it wasn’t until she was healing from the disorder that she realized she had been suffering.

“Right around my first season of Vanderpump Rules, I wasn’t doing well in my career, and all these other areas of my life were in a chaotic or unstable state. That’s when my eating disorder was really able to get its claws in and take hold,” she explained.

At that time, Ariana was following Tumblr pages that promoted restrictive eating disorders and thigh gaps were all the rage.

“I don’t know why I was trying so hard to fit that mold. But at the same time, images of very thin women were being promoted in so many places, constantly,” she noted.

While Ariana is in a much better place today, she said she’s “still learning” and figuring out what sparked her eating disorder.

“They say that the need for control is a major factor in many eating disorders. I think about it and I’m like, yeah, that makes sense. I had no control,” she posed.

Looking back at her recovery, Ariana said she struggled with online criticism in regard to her weight.

“There was a lot of chatter about that—people saying, ‘She’s gained a lot of weight,'” Ariana shared. “I still have to catch myself sometimes. There’s that voice in my head that’s like, ‘Well, you shouldn’t eat because you’re going to be in a two-piece later.’ Earlier today I had a photo shoot and I was worried about my body. I’ll tell myself, ‘No, go have a freaking pizza, and knock it off.'”

Ariana also catches herself thinking negatively about her body amid DWTS rehearsals, during which she and her partner Pasha Pashvok watch videos of themselves dancing. Luckily, Pasha is sure to speak encouragement to her, keeping things “really” positive.

Although she’s been faced with pressure to get in the “best shape of her life” during her time on DWTS, Ariana does her best not to be too hard on herself.

“I try to tell myself too that everyone is different and everyone is unique and everyone has different capabilities and relationships with their bodies, and I can only be me,” she noted. “I just push myself to think that I’m going to do the best I can with the circumstances I’m in. If that means I can’t work out today, then I don’t—I can’t. I’m not going to beat myself up over it.”

Vanderpump Rules season 11 is expected to premiere on Bravo sometime later this year or early next year.


JustLivinTheDream October 31, 2023 - 3:22 pm

Katie, as Mark Cuban would say on Shark Tank, you have nothing right now. No business, no income, yet you think you are going to take this thing global. Girl bye! You haven’t even opened and proven one restaurant can be successful.
As for Ariana, she’ll have something to boo hoo about no matter what. You felt like that about your body, because you live in LA amongst some of the most beautiful people all in one place. I am not dismissing eating disorders at all, but this girl always has something to complain about.

Crazy Eyes! October 31, 2023 - 4:27 pm

Yes, but she’s wants to be “super” successful!!! She’s written the name of the restaurant in her Hello Kitty journal multiple times with hearts over the “i”s!

Lili October 31, 2023 - 4:33 pm

Wow if everyone thought like you no one would run a business

Housewife of Malibu October 31, 2023 - 3:33 pm

Ariana has done a fantastic job of making lemonade out of lemons. It is nice see her success. I hope she is able to get more acting roles (if that is what she wants) as that was her original goal in moving to LA, I believe.

The Best October 31, 2023 - 4:09 pm

Love that she is sharing this. I spent years in dance and remember people who wouldn’t eat for days and were anorexic. I never had that happen to me and thought I didn’t have an eating disorder. It reared it’s ugly head decades later in stress eating and my skewed view of what my body looked like. Getting my anxiety under control helped with some of these aspects. I applaud her for all she has done and making the best of an ugly situation. She is a joy to watch dance. Living her best life

Fish ???? October 31, 2023 - 5:12 pm

Relatable comment!! And I agree with you

The Best October 31, 2023 - 5:31 pm

Thank you, Fish!

Beachgirl October 31, 2023 - 4:24 pm

This is a struggle many many women can relate to. Probably all of the women on VPR and the HW franchises. Good for her for talking about it – and not in a tearful victim-y way (Kyle).

Crazy Eyes! October 31, 2023 - 4:25 pm

“I just want Something About Her to become super successful and to open
more locations. Starting a sandwich empire and take over the world,” Super successful? Really, sweetheart? You truly sound delusional! You can’t even get a 8 table place opened!!!!

Lili October 31, 2023 - 4:33 pm

Why is she delusional. It’s called business hunnie. If you had the same mentality you wouldn’t live on this page.

Lili October 31, 2023 - 4:34 pm

You clearly know nothing about running a business in Cali. What they are going through is normal for first timers. Maybe you should have looked into that first. ????‍♀️

Nancy Fancy October 31, 2023 - 6:59 pm

Really!!! ???? That was my first thought.

veronicar October 31, 2023 - 8:27 pm

Yeah open the doors on the first location you have been trying to open for 2 years before you start talking empire!!!

WhereYoMamaAt October 31, 2023 - 8:31 pm

This is called putting the cart before the horse.

Lili October 31, 2023 - 4:36 pm

I am glad she is opening up about that because on Vanderpump they never really touched on the severity of what she was felling and it just made her seem crazy. When In reality they just refused to dig deep on why. Applause to her for sharing that.

veronicar October 31, 2023 - 4:51 pm

I love when women in the public eye speak out about this stuff. I had never hear of dysmorphia until my 30s and it would have helped me so much to have understood it when I was younger.

Fish ???? October 31, 2023 - 5:13 pm

Same. My mother is an extremely tiny person and she was so critical of my body even though I was only 5’3 and like 130 pounds. Hardly a monster. But I outweighed her by 50 pounds so she was just an asshole. Sorry, TMI. But this shit created dysmorphia in me, as well

veronicar October 31, 2023 - 5:21 pm

Not TMI at all. My dad thought any woman over 110 pounds was fat so I was taught to think my body was hideous and hate myself growing up when I was 5’5 and a size 12 at my biggest as a teen.

The Best October 31, 2023 - 6:08 pm

I remember being in dance class and we were weighed every Friday. I felt so bad for some of my fellow dancers. If you gained weight, cut your hair or couldn’t perform well, you were relegated to the back line or sometimes asked not to perform. It was brutal.

veronicar October 31, 2023 - 8:26 pm

I cannot even imagine! That is awful!

The Best October 31, 2023 - 8:48 pm

It was

The Best November 1, 2023 - 1:32 am

Now that Halloween festivities are over, I can comment more. It was brutal and has scarred me. WHile I didn’t have a problem with weight, I did cut my hair. I could no longer pull my hair back in a ballerina bun. I was ridiculed for doing so and relegated to the backline. I felt for those that had gained weight and had to step on the scale, in front of the whole class. It caused one friend to have anorexia and health issues that years later, when she finally got pregnant- she lost the baby. My other friend, who was such a talented dancer, lost interest when she was humiliated in front of the class. The dynamic was so intense and off. It may have started my issues with my body, although I think they ocurred later. But it did suck out the soul of everyone- you were to be like everyone else, no individuality and what was the stereotypical vision of a “dancer”.

2cents November 1, 2023 - 1:46 am

We had that in gymnastics. Our coaches made us work out more, gave us diet sheets, but they did it to the guys in wrestling, too.

The Best November 1, 2023 - 2:08 am

I had a male friend who was a wrestler and he purged to make his weight. He died at 19

2cents November 1, 2023 - 3:02 am

That’s so brutal and sad. It’s so much unnecessary pressure. I guided my son away from wrestling and football. And I’m so glad I never got really good at gymnastics. I won a few regional medals, but those top tier girls were really abused. (I remember not having a period and the doctor said it was too much exercise. The coaches weren’t impressed.)

The Best November 1, 2023 - 2:31 pm

It was. Not much has changed since then, except there are better drugs available to be skinny. Thank you for sharing your story, 2cents. Congratulations on your achievements 🙂

2cents November 1, 2023 - 5:29 pm

Thank you, I can still do the splits, too, but I spare my family and friends and only do them in the privacy of my own bedroom. 😉

The Best November 1, 2023 - 5:33 pm

Not sure I can still do splits but I think I can still do high kicks 🙂 You just made my day, 2cents

2cents November 1, 2023 - 5:53 pm

We all have our talents! I always wanted to be a dancer. I did take dance, and piano as a kid. After about 6 months of piano lessons in some poor guys garage who had about 8 kids (IOW he needed the $$) he told my dad to stop wasting his money on my piano career, LOL I must have stunk. You made my day, too!

The Best November 1, 2023 - 6:33 pm

I have a confession for you. Since I was too short to be a Rockette, I decided that perhaps I should puruse off-broadway or way off, off-broadway so I took singing lessons. I got straight A’s in the class but my tone and singing ability was terrible. It would send my family straight out of the house. I now use this unique talent on the unsuspecting audiences during any one of my karoake performances….of course, I ham it up and people aren’t sure whether to be shocked or feel sorry for me. The expressions (or lack thereoff due to being horrified) on the faces of my audience is absolutely priceless. Have a wonderful evening 2cents!

2cents November 1, 2023 - 7:08 pm


Nancy Fancy October 31, 2023 - 6:59 pm

Same with my dad. And he drove me right into an eating disorder. It landed me in the hospital, and I outsmarted them. A non-verbal guy would sit next to me at mealtime, and I would put my food on his plate little by little, and he much appreciated it. When they would weight me, I would put small weights from the workout room in my pants so I could reach the goal for me to be discharged. I never ever made my daughter feel bad about herself.

veronicar October 31, 2023 - 8:25 pm

I hate that you experienced that! Having a horrible father is the worst. I know all about it! Sending you ❤️❤️❤️.

Nancy Fancy November 1, 2023 - 1:43 am

???????????? right back atcha baby! We are stronger for it.

The Best November 1, 2023 - 4:06 pm

I think a horrible mother ranks up there too. I adored my dad and have a really rough relationship with my mom. I have to keep her at a distance…for my mental health and feelings of self-worth. I feel for you too.

Orbit Olipop November 1, 2023 - 8:50 pm

Same. Sympathies.

The Best November 1, 2023 - 9:04 pm

I am sorry, Orbit Olipop

Orbit Olipop November 1, 2023 - 9:36 pm

Thank you. x

Fish ???? October 31, 2023 - 9:24 pm

Omg! That’s so crappy! I love you broke the cycle with your own kid, that’s the best. ????????

Nancy Fancy November 1, 2023 - 1:40 am

I did everything to not be like my parents. I loved my parents, but they were rough. I showed my girl that swimming and walking are good for the body, and everything in moderation. Now she has her own daughter and is all about healthy eating. At my age I will eat anything I damn well please ????

Bim-Bo-Dietl-Slice October 31, 2023 - 11:18 pm

I’m soooo conscious about how I speak around impressionable people. It’s great you were able to stop the toxicity for your daughter. I remember being in 2nd grade and talking about going on diets because my mom did all the time. She still does! It’s sad and infuriating.

Nancy Fancy November 1, 2023 - 1:33 am

It is so very sad, I’m sorry. My mom was a teenage model for Kodak, try to measure up to that. The photos are beautiful, but I could never live up to that. Second grade is so very very young ???? you are very strong. (((HUGS)))

veronicar November 1, 2023 - 10:20 am

I still only drink diet coke and non fat milk because it is what I grew up with!!!

Fish ???? October 31, 2023 - 9:22 pm

Ugh!! Fuck that!!

Nancy Fancy October 31, 2023 - 6:50 pm

???? (((HUGS))) ????

Bim-Bo-Dietl-Slice October 31, 2023 - 6:10 pm

I’m around the same age as Ariana, and have to say that growing up in the 90s, it is almost impossible to have not had an eating disorder as a teenage girl. The entertainment “news”, the magazines and our mothers were impossible to compete with. It is still so hard to outgrow.

Fish ???? October 31, 2023 - 9:25 pm

Oh yeah. Esp all those magazines circa 2004-2007 with Bonnie Fuller world shoving crap about hot bodies down your throat.

The Best November 1, 2023 - 1:35 am

For me, it started in the 70s and 80s. It has been around since forever. Everyone I knew in high school ( I did not partake) were throwing up….even our wrestling team and a male friend actually died from anorexia.

2cents November 1, 2023 - 1:58 am

Mom’s in my age group would get diet pills from their doctors. They were on speed (Dexi’s) and they were thin and their houses were really, really clean, and those women had the energy to do everything, and it was expected of them. House and garden homes, gourmet meals, sewing our clothes, PTA… It was a sad day for all when they took Mother’s Little Helpers off the market.

BLONDE ❤️ AMBITION October 31, 2023 - 6:20 pm

Here we go again, Ariana is fighting the same battle as all women ???????? give me a break. She’s a fucking pig for money. Hey, at least the hag is getting paid.

The Best November 1, 2023 - 1:39 am

I respectfully disagree. Not everyone is fighting that battle or have made it known. I love that Ariana recognizes the opportunity to both be a spokesperson and to make money. Having been through it, there is nothing better than money revenge. Especially against a douche bag partner.

BLONDE ❤️ AMBITION November 1, 2023 - 11:32 am

Obviously, I disagree. I view Ariana as a pandering loser. She hops on every train that will gain her sympathy points. I know she has lots of fans, but I can’t stomach her or her ilk. Don’t have anything against those that do, but I’ve always been able to read people pretty well, and I believe I’m def not wrong here.

The Best November 1, 2023 - 2:29 pm

We will have to agree to disagree. I don’t see that at all. I also think I am able to read people pretty well. I think we just have different experiences and view points. I do respect yours and have always enjoyed your posts, as they come from a different perspective than mine do.

BLONDE ❤️ AMBITION November 1, 2023 - 3:42 pm

❤️ same obviously

Wicked Cupcake November 1, 2023 - 9:49 am

Yep. Cheated upon, eating disorder, self esteem issues, bullied, bisexual, sexual insecurities. She is ticking all the boxes!

BLONDE ❤️ AMBITION November 1, 2023 - 11:30 am

I know, next she’ll be identifying as a plant and fighting hamas. Bitch is a straight joke.

Wicked Cupcake November 1, 2023 - 11:38 am

Don’t forget, she may transition IF the price is right!

BLONDE ❤️ AMBITION October 31, 2023 - 6:21 pm

Why does she look like Ramona in that silver dress?

WhereYoMamaAt October 31, 2023 - 8:30 pm

I’m getting Faith Hill.

Prycer November 1, 2023 - 1:11 am

Ariana is really good on DWTS. She is an amazing dancer and I am happy that she is out of Beavis shadow.

rodo November 1, 2023 - 3:09 am

is this an US or generation thing ? my oldest daughter was bullied for being thin. she’s the normal weight. my youngest daughter has body issues because she says she’s too thin. they both went through phase of using huge clothes to hide it. even now my adult daughter said she buys her clothes from men department though after going on the pill she gained some weight, but luckily I’ve seen her in tight clothes as well, and on vacations both wear bikinis with no issues. but that’s abroad, they’d never show their model bodies at home

veronicar November 1, 2023 - 10:19 am

No, usually people in the US are bullied for being too big.

rodo November 1, 2023 - 11:29 am

yes I was asking why, where, at what age, people are obsessive about being skinny. as over here among teens it’s not considered something to admire. though in reality tv seems everyone at every age seems obsessed about it

Orbit Olipop November 1, 2023 - 9:35 pm

Same. As a young teenager I was too embarrassed to wear shorts or a skirt in a heatwave because of comments about being skinny. Same for my siblings. My brother was nicknamed a ‘dinosaur’ and we all got endless comments about whether we ‘ate’ or not. We obviously did.

rodo November 2, 2023 - 6:37 am

I am so sorry for everything and anything you went through and hope you’ve overcome all the possible issues from it. and here it’s the same. my daughters eat everything, mostly fattening food, and nonstop. and they don’t do it to gain weight though they’d want to, they’re simply hungry nonstop the entire time they’re awake. we do tropical trips every second month and my oldest dresses accordingly. younger might wear shorts instead of collegepants as it’s foreign surroundings, she feels hot, and she’ll never see those people again. I compliment them nonstop and they believe me when I say I’m not doing it because I’m your mother but because it’s the truth, and besides that all good people with any kind of bodies are beautiful. bullying is the worst act and feeling shame the most wasted emotion, but among young people both are unfortunately way too common.

Wicked Cupcake November 1, 2023 - 9:48 am

What a paragon of virtue. ????????


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