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Ariana Madix on ‘Scandoval,’ Schwartz’s ‘dirty work’ and the ‘bloodbath’ of a reunion

The “Vanderpump Rules” star talks to about the cheating scandal that's captivated the masses.
Ariana Madix teases 'VPR' reunion as a 'bloodbath'
"Vanderpump Rules" star Ariana Madix talked to in 30 Rock ahead of her appearance on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna.Nathan Congleton / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

While the world continues to absorb the aftershocks of the May 17 Season 10 finale of "Vanderpump Rules," many fans now have even more questions about the details of "Scandoval" — the cheating scandal involving cast members Ariana Madix, Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss.

On May 18, Ariana stopped by TODAY with Hoda & Jenna to discuss the big finale and much more. She also caught up with to spill further about the upcoming reunion, her famous revenge dress and much more.

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.

First, how are you doing? It must be hard reliving this all in the press right now.

One thing about our show, "Vanderpump Rules," is that no matter what it is you go through, positive or negative, you definitely end up having to relive that moment months later. This particular moment in the finale episode — the stuff that I went through a couple of months ago — obviously is happening quicker in the reliving stage. It was really hard to watch the first time. I definitely put that off for a while, but being able to be here in New York, surrounded by friends and awesome people, has helped a lot.

From a cultural standpoint, this scandal has rippled out beyond the “VPR” fanbase to the masses. What made it such a huge deal on the wider stage outside Bravo?

I think that this particular scandal has so many layers to it. And I think that so many people can relate to one or many of those layers because, yes, cheating happens. But it's not just that — it's the cheating, the best friend. It's the manipulation, it's the the gaslighting. I mean, there's a laundry list of layers. And I think that people can really relate to one of those things happening to them.

In the finale episode, you and Kristen Doute had a little ceremony in which you burned a piece of paper that read “unrequited loyalty” as something to leave behind. Watching the season back, what do you think about the way you stuck by Tom and Raquel despite warnings?

I think that my sense of loyalty and trust in the people that I love and care about is something that I really want to hold on to and not lose after all of this happening. But I do think a big lesson that I've learned is — I want to make sure that I'm actually getting that back from the people that I give it to.

In your castmate Lala Kent’s podcast, she said she spotted Easter eggs as she was watching the season back. One of them was when Raquel started drinking Coors Light, Tom’s beer of choice. Watching back, is there anything else you’ve noticed that made you think, “that’s weird”?

There's definitely things watching back that I've noticed that I thought were a little odd. But it's like, if it was just any one of those things I still wouldn't have thought it was that big of a deal. It's that it's on top of them having an affair. So it's like if Rachel was just drinking Coors Light, I'd be like, 'Oh, yeah, it's around a lot of the time.' So it's not that big of a deal. But it's like she's drinking that because she thinks that makes her look cool, I think, maybe to my ex. I don't know.

The finale episode had a scene with Tom and Raquel drinking Coors Light and taking shots.

Yeah, it’s almost like he stocked it up at her apartment in her studio or something.

What was your reaction to seeing Tom call Raquel “Ariana”?

Watching him call her my name by mistake was very, very cringe. I would have been very embarrassed.

Aside from her public apology to you posted on Instagram, has Raquel reached out to you directly?

She has not reached out to me directly since March 3, but I blocked her so she can't reach out to me.

Your castmate Katie Maloney said in the finale that Tom Schwartz has been Tom Sandoval’s “b---- boy” for a long time and begged him to come clean. Do you think that’s true?

I think that Tom Schwartz definitely had a much bigger hand in doing some of the other Tom's dirty work through all of this, and probably other things, and I know more about that now.

Tom Schwartz mentioned in the finale a “game plan” that Tom Sandoval didn’t get to act out. Do you know what that may have been?

I definitely know that there was a big game plan — an elaborate plan — set in motion by someone who thought they were a mastermind and who thought that they were going to be able to get away with all of it. And I'm just so glad that that didn't happen.

In the finale, James Kennedy, Raquel’s former fiancé, calls Raquel. What do you think about the choice of him being the one from the group to call her?

James is just someone who I just — I love him so much — and watching him call Rachel and ask her about it — I mean, he would be the person to do that because he just has that, I don't know, he sees something he wants to do, and he just does it. And I kind of love that about him. And also I think that James' feelings kind of got lost in all of this because as you saw in his interview (in the finale), he also feels like he really, really lost a friend (in Tom Sandoval). And I feel really bad, and I think that his feelings should be acknowledged as well.

How do you picture Season 11? What are you doing? Who do you think will be there? What about the friend dynamics of the group?

For me, Season 11 is going to be — I mean, I can't predict what my life is going to be, clearly, I never would've predicted this — but Season 11 for me I'm just going to be focused on myself and my career and getting my sandwich shop with Katie (Maloney) open. But as far as the dynamics of the friend group go, that remains to be seen because there is a group of people who are friends and then there's 2 1/2 people on an island that no one speaks to.

Can you talk about your incredible revenge dress that you wore to the reunion?

My revenge dress that I wore on the reunion — I had options that I was working with my friend Emily Men, who is an incredible stylist, and then when all of this happened, it was like, "Nope, scrap all of those. We're going back to the drawing board. We need something absolutely incredible." And she found that dress, and she's great at what she does.

How would you describe the “Vanderpump Rules” Season 10 reunion in 3 words?

I would describe the reunion as jaw-dropping, a bloodbath and scary.

Is there anyone you wish reached out to you that you haven't heard from?

I think in the beginning when I first found everything out, there were some people that I really wished I would have heard from. But then when I didn't hear from them, I went ahead and reached out to them myself and said, "Not hearing from you says everything. I know where you stand." And then I blocked those people.

How did you meet Daniel Wai?

I met Daniel at a wedding about 10 days after all of this. Two of my oldest and dearest friends that I met, like, 20 years ago almost, got married.

Do you think you’ll re-release your cocktail book by yourself without Tom Sandoval’s name attached to it?

I would love to do another cocktail book by myself, but I don't know what's going to happen there. So fingers crossed. That'd be very, very cool.

Is there any advice you’d like to share, or just a message you’d want to share?

The biggest thing that I've taken away from all of this is just that I have the most incredible friends and support system. And I think that if anyone's going through something similar and they're like me and they struggle to be someone who asks for help, just know it's OK to ask for help. And it's OK to lean on the people closest to you because they love you, and you love them.