ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Oct. 18, 2023 — Us Weekly, an a360media brand, is proud to announce its inaugural Reality Stars of the Year franchise, a multi-platform celebration of the sprawling, culture-dominating world of unscripted television. The event, featuring exclusive interviews and video, highlights 10 cast members who stole their respective shows this year — including Real Housewives Kyle Richards and Jenna Lyons, the first senior Bachelor, Gerry Turner, and Sister Wives villain Kody Brown. As for a cover star, the choice was clear: No one sparked more conversation in 2023, and rallied more fans to her side, than Ariana Madix.
Already a beloved personality on Bravo’s long-running Real Housewives of Beverly Hills spinoff, Vanderpump Rules, Madix became a household name this past spring after uncovering her boyfriend’s infidelity with her best friend — both VPR costars.
After “Scandoval,” as the affair and its aftermath became known, swept the nation, Madix was cheered for handling it with strength and grace. She also turned the painful personal moment into an opportunity for growth, locking her first movie role and making an exuberant run on Dancing With the Stars. That potent mix of grit and vulnerability solidified her place atop the Us Weekly list and on the cover of the magazine’s October 30 issue.
“I don’t even know how to put into words how it feels to be Us Weekly’s Reality Star of the Year,” Madix says. “That is one of the craziest and coolest things that probably could ever happen.”
On the lesson of “Scandoval”:
“This situation made me realize that I can do hard things. The worst-case scenario literally did happen, and I was OK. Like, look — you can handle what’s thrown at you.”
On realizing the scandal had become a national conversation:
“I was off social media initially, so friends filled me in here and there. I was like, ‘This is crazy,’ but it was also happening in the midst of not eating and not sleeping. It was a weird juxtaposition of emotions and feelings.”
On how Dancing With the Stars has changed how she feels about herself:
“If you were to put me in my samba outfit three months ago and say, ‘OK, go have lunch in this on Vanderpump Rules,’ I would’ve been really self-conscious. But I’m focused more on what I’m doing and less on how I look, and that’s different for sure.”
On the advice she’d give herself on Day One of filming Vanderpump Rules:
“Don’t date abusive men who won’t let you shine and be on a TV show — because that’s what was going on and why I didn’t want to be on camera [during season 1].”
On how she’s changed since the show began:
“I’ve grown up. I’m somebody who never really wanted to grow up. [But] over time, I’ve been able to love myself more and give myself a lot more grace when it comes to things we go through during filming. And that has allowed me to give others more grace.”
CREDITS AND MEDIA ASSETS
- Full cover story link: https://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/ariana-madix-on-surviving-heartache-dwts-and-finding-love-again/
- Exclusive images and video:
- Reporter: Sarah Jones
- Writer: Jaime Harkin
- Photographer: Jeff Lipsky for Four Eleven Agency
- Stylist: Heidi Meek
- Hair: Bradley Leake
- Makeup: Emma Willis
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