Ariana Madix Reveals ‘Big Rule’ She Gave Herself For DWTS

Ariana Madix

Heavy/NBCUniversal Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov.

Ariana Madix has a big rule she’s following on “Dancing With the Stars.”

In a November 2023 Instagram story, the “Vanderpump Rules” star answered a fan question about her song selection for Taylor Swift Week.  Madix explained why she went with “Cruel Summer” in lieu of one of Swift’s revenge songs.

Madix has been reeling from her ex-boyfriend Tom Sandoval’s shocking cheating scandal with her former friend Raquel Leviss. But even that wasn’t enough for her to go into full vigilante mode in the ballroom.

Here’s why:

Ariana Madix Refuses to Focus on Scandoval While on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

On Instagram, Madix shared that a fan asked her why she didn’t dance to the song “Vigilante S***” for Swift’s theme night on November 21, 2023. The song, from Swift’s 2022 album “Midnights,” has a dark vengeance theme which fits in perfectly with Madix’s own drama with Sandoval.

But Madix told the fan she gave herself guidelines for the ballroom, and the “big” one is to stay away from Scandoval when it comes to her song selections.

“Aside from Week 1 and [Most Memorable Year Night] I had a big music rule for myself which was NO songs on that subject matter,” Madix said. “Even my MMY was supposed to be about losses in 2022 and an amazing support system.”

Madix further explained that she wanted to dance to “Cruel Summer” because it’s her favorite Swift song.  She added, “Taylor’s team wanted it in the show so I really wanted it to be mine.”

Ariana Madix’s Debut DWTS Dance Referenced Scandoval – Even Down to the Dress


For her very first DWTS dance in September, Madix faced Scandoval head-on. Dancing a tango to Hailee Steinfeld’s “Love Myself,” she wore a red cut-out dress. The dress was similar to the two-piece Monot dress she wore to the “Vanderpump Rules” season 10 reunion. The reunion was taped just three weeks after her ex’s affair was exposed.

Madix also addressed her personal drama in the pre-taped intro.  “Everybody got to watch it all play out and my life blow up on television,” she said. “But my scandal does not define me.”

“Feeling like you were a joke to your partner of nine years is devastating. But I want to show other women that you don’t have to let that hold you back,” she added, before declaring that she doesn’t need anybody else because she loves herself.

For her Most Memorable Year Night, Madix and partner Pasha Pashkov danced a Viennese waltz to Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever.” While she originally planned to focus on the year 2022 – she suffered the back-to-back loss of her dog and her grandmother within weeks of one another that year – she ultimately did use the year 2023 after discovering Sandoval’s affair in March.

In her intro package, Madix revealed that in 2023 she caught her ex “having an affair.” “My boyfriend of nine years and one of my best gal friends betrayed me in ways that went so far beyond just cheating together that is so hard for me to even explain,” Madix said. She noted that the affair started when she was out of town for her grandmother’s funeral.

“When something is really hard, I can get through it,” she added. “It feels so amazing to know I will be dancing to [Eilish’s] song… because when I think back to crying in the car, I certainly never thought that this is where I’d end up.”

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