Ariana Madix’s Dating Red Flags

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Getty Images

Sure, Scandoval happened to be the cultural phenomenon that transformed Ariana Madix from a well-liked reality star into a beloved celebrity — a title she still can’t wrap her head around. However, it’s Ariana Madix herself, not the Vanderpump Rules cheating scandal, who is conquering every enviable job that comes her way, such as scoring several brand-endorsement deals (for Lay’s and Uber One, to name only a few), as well as nailing a starring role on Broadway as Roxie Hart in Chicago — a huge, glitzy gig that, according to Madix, was “the OG dream.”

On a recent call from a car ride from one shitshow to the next, Madix sounded both humbled and tickled by the wild opportunities that continue to enter her orbit, and she also sounded very tired. Which I assume is the standard tone for her entire Single AF Cocktails book tour happening right now.

With a new boyfriend, a shitty ex-boyfriend who won’t leave her house, and the latest season of Vanderpump creeping up on all of us, it’s no wonder Ariana just wants to hide out in her hotel suite, declaring, “I’m not doing anything after 4 p.m. I’m not going out.”

Single AF Cocktails: Drinks for Bad Bitches — with recipes called Gaslight (“A Shifty Ginger Sidecar”) and Rumors ( “A Bittersweet Absinthe Swizzle”) — is a chic cocktail book that I will personally have on display for years to come. Why? Because this tired, stressed, working mom in a long-term monogamous relationship occasionally wants to feel “Single AF” too.

Is there one rule to live by when it comes to surviving a breakup? 

Find what your personal boundaries are and stick to them. If you feel that no contact is best for you, do that. Stick to it. If you want to start dating again, but you don’t want any physical contact with the people you’re dating — just because you’re not ready for it — make that boundary and stick to it. Whatever it is, protect your peace.

When it comes to exes, do you believe in “closure?”

Hard no! I don’t believe in some “proper good-bye.” Or one last conversation. I don’t think some perfect concept of closure ever really exists; it’s not really a thing. The idea of sitting down and tying up loose ends … no, I’m not a fan.

Any personal rules on sex with an ex?
It’s not for me. But … you do you, I guess.

Where do you stand on talking about an ex when you’re on a date with someone new?

It’s totally fine, if it’s not excessive. If it lends more context to who you are as a person, by all means. You want to get to know each other, so you have to talk. With my current boyfriend, we talked about things as they came up, but honestly, it wasn’t much. It’s not like I could keep any of the details of my breakup a secret. I mean, in my case, that would have been impossible. Still, the breakup didn’t present itself as much as you might have thought.

Rules on sex on the first date?
Personal choice.  You should always do whatever the hell you want with your body.

What about getting serious fast?
You go with the flow. I am not one to get serious fast, but no hard rule about it. I don’t know if I’ve been love-bombed; I’m not sure I’d recognize it. I’m one of those people to be delusional enough to be like, “Oh, whatever, he just likes me as a person.”

Do you have a No. 1 rule for when it’s time to let someone “in” or when to trust them on an intimate level?

For me and Dan, we live on opposite coasts, so that helped. We were on the phone with each other every day, getting to know each other. We couldn’t just see a movie, then make out, and not create space for real talking and closeness. We had to talk-talk to each other, fill space on the phone with real words and thoughts, and that was so healthy because we were communicating in every sense of the word. And things progressed from there.

Would you guys get nervous about seeing each other IRL after so much good texting and phoning?
Oh, yeah. Sometimes it would be like, “Am I going to feel this way in person?” And then I would see him and be like, “Oh, yeah. He’s great.”

Rules on first-date drinks? 

Early on, a simple glass of wine is my vibe.

By the way, why is everyone always drinking Coors Light on Vanderpump? It must be a sponsor, right?

It’s not a sponsor, it’s a choice. Everyone just likes it! There are no alcohol sponsors from what I know.

This brings me to all the drinking on reality shows … what are the specific rules about alcohol consumption on Vanderpump?

They won’t tell us we can’t do something, but they don’t encourage it. They only pay for two drinks … two drinks are included on the tab for each cast member and if you want more, you have to start your own tab, and that’s on you. It’s a personal choice. I drink or I don’t drink depending on whatever I want to do; I don’t think about it.

Back to cocktails and dating: Any rules on what not to order on a date?

Milk. A glass of milk would be really bad. I’d be like, “This person is a serial killer.”

Vodka on the rocks is a red flag for me. Like, I get it, dude, you want to get fucked up.

Yeah, that’s pretty intense. Order a normal cocktail.

I also personally think the “skinny margarita” needs to be rebranded, because they’re so nice, but who wants to say that out loud?

Yeah, but what would they call it, though? A margarita light? It’s not much better!

How are you staying sane right now?

The schedule is definitely difficult, and I’m lucky that I have people who are helping me stay together. As for the recognition, I don’t really realize it. I’m still just me. With Dancing With the Stars, they have to put you in a category, and I was one of the “celebrities.” But I’m like, “I’m not a celebrity. I’m a bartender.” I guess, all these years of hustling and grinding, it doesn’t feel like much has changed internally.

Any personal rules on carving out time to see your boyfriend when life is so busy?

It is tough. I’m in a place now that when the day is done, the day is done. If I’m going hard all day, and staying in a hotel, I’m not doing anything after 4 p.m. I’m not going out.

You must have celebrated past 4 p.m. last week with the Chicago announcement.

I did. Broadway was the OG dream. It was the “day-one goal.” In going to theater school, and all the choices I’ve made since, that was the goal. We celebrated last night at ODO in New York. Dan took me there. We had a sake pairing. And then I went to sleep — as early as possible.

What’s the first thing you do when you get back to the hotel?

I get in the hotel room, and I start using makeup wipes while lying in bed. While lying down, I rip the fake lashes off immediately. Then there’s some room service, reruns of The Office, and, ideally, falling asleep. Again, as early as possible.

I don’t dare ask, but is there any rule on self-care right now? 

Nothing. No self-care. I haven’t gotten there yet. I just text with my friends, go through funny TikToks, and hang out with my dog and cat whenever I can. Every TikTok involving that Nanalan song, “Who’s that wonderful girl; could she be any cuter?” I’m obsessed with that song. It cracks me up every time. I guess that’s my self-care.

Ariana Madix’s Dating Red Flags