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.
“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.