The Hot Seat

Scheana Shay Doesn’t Care If You Don’t Like Her

The Vanderpump Rules star opens up about the show’s best and worst moments.

The cast of Vanderpump Rules can make drama out of virtually anything, from a pasta dish to a crop-top wedding dress. This season, it’s Find My Friends. In a recent episode, Scheana Shay’s app usage led her to discover that her castmate Katie Maloney had hooked up with a friend of her ex-husband’s — but instead of Maloney getting trolled, it was Shay.

“I don’t see the weird thing about it,” Shay says of her love for Find My Friends. “I honestly don’t look at the app that often. I deleted [a lot of people] and now only follow 35, maybe.”

Shay is no stranger to cringe moments. Her highly relatable, albeit fairly embarrassing, mishaps have been one of her many gifts to the show over the past 11 seasons. (Who could forget her bragging that her now ex-boyfriend Rob Valletta “hung a TV on the wall in less than 7 minutes”?) But even the consummate good sport has limits. “[In] Season 8, there was an editor who literally went on a podcast and said that her favorite thing to do was to find my most cringe moments and use them to make me look bad,” she recalls. “I just wish you got to see more of my real moments than my cringe moments. It should be a balance.”

And this year, Season 11 has focused on a more “real” side of Shay, namely a new OCD diagnosis, which led her to dabble in sobriety. “I wasn’t smoking a ton [of weed], but I cut that out completely. I didn’t drink for six weeks, and I’ve been doing doing [eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)] therapy over the past eight months,” she says, adding that she also briefly went on Zoloft. “I feel mentally stronger now.”

“If I’m being the most authentic version of myself, and you don’t like me, then you don’t like me. But at least I’m being true to me.”

Stronger, and more ready than ever to embrace her inner cringe queen. “I just need to stay true to myself and not worry about what the audience is going to say,” she says. “If I’m being the most authentic version of myself, and you don’t like me, then you don’t like me. But at least I’m being true to me.”

Below, she reflects on Dancing With the Stars, her friendship with Ariana Madix, and whether or not she plans to expand her family.

Katie Maloney and Scheana Shay at the 2024 People's Choice Awards.Rich Polk/NBC/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Baby fever has hit the Vander-verse, whether it’s Lala Kent, who’s pregnant again, or Stassi Schroeder giving birth to her second child. Are you itching to give Summer Moon a sibling?

No, I’m not. If I do, I would have to get a surrogate because of the HELLP syndrome that I got postpartum. Summer also has two older half siblings, who I hope we can rekindle a relationship with, and [my husband] Brock is doing everything to work toward mending that at the moment. So hopefully Summer gets to meet them before she’s too old.

What would you say to Summer if she wants to go on a reality show in the future?

I’m going to support anything my daughter wants to do. I just want her to know she can always talk to me, and I always want to have that open line of communication. If she ever says “I don’t want [to be on Vanderpump Rules] anymore,” I support that as well. She’s almost 3, and she’s very vocal. She tells you what she wants.

Was there ever a season where you genuinely thought about not coming back?

When Rob and I started dating, he wanted nothing to do with the show. I was like, “OK, then I’ll just quit.” And he was like, “You’re not quitting the show for me.” Thank God. Toward the later seasons, it was always “Do I want to keep working at Sur? Do I want to go back to pursuing acting?” Then we had a pandemic, I had a baby, and it was like, “Am I going to come back?” But ultimately, as many times as I’ve thought about it, this show is home for me. It’s something that I started Episode 1, Scene 1, and I want to [be part of] whatever the last scene is. I really hope that’s not Season 11.

The Vanderpump Rules Season 11 cast.Bravo/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Do you feel you’ve ever been given an unfair edit?

In Season 9, there was a lot filmed about my postpartum journey and my HELLP syndrome [that didn’t air]. I was only home from the hospital for three and a half days before cameras were up, and I almost died in childbirth. So the fact that the season just opened, and I’m talking about my hibachi dinner, and you’re not seeing the whole conversation I had for an hour prior about how scary that experience was, was really frustrating for me.

[My childbirth] got brought up at the reunion, and I had hundreds, if not thousands, of women reach out. “Why didn’t you talk about that this season? Do you know how many women this could help?” And I’m like, “I talked about it all season.” I think whoever was running the show at the time felt that telling a woman’s story about her health wasn’t interesting or important.

What’s your favorite episode, or season, of the series?

My favorite, despite knowing what was happening behind closed doors, was Season 10 — getting to have my daughter on the show and our wedding in Mexico. The least favorite, in hindsight, has to be Season 6. How many times I said “Rob” was very cringe for me. There were also some moments in Season 4, when I didn’t know exactly what [my ex-husband’s] addictions were or the extent of them. That was hard to watch back, because I felt extremely uneducated, and it was very embarrassing for me. So that was a big learning season, which ultimately made me a better person.

People on social media have had a lot of fun asking “is Scheana OK?” when anything happens, whether an earthquake hits or Ariana books another job. I imagine that’s been frustrating, especially since you’ve been vocal about being very proud of Ariana.

I just have to laugh at it, honestly. It’s so frustrating how the audience likes to pit us against each other. And it’s annoying that people are making it about me when this is her moment. I’m nothing but extremely happy for her.

Lala Kent and Scheana Shay attend one of Ariana Madix’s Chicago performances.Bruce Glikas/WireImage/Getty Images

Is Dancing With the Stars still a dream of yours?

Not at the moment. I mean, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I think last year it would’ve worked better. This year, your girl is booked and busy.

I know you obviously can’t talk about the reunion, but can you describe it in three words?

Never before seen.

How can it possibly be crazier than last year’s reunion?

There’s something that happened that had never happened before. You’ve never seen this, at least not on the Vanderpump Rules reunions. It’s never before seen!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.