Ariana Madix Says She Slept on Cardboard Due to ‘DWTS’ Back Injury

Ariana Madix Says She Slept on Cardboard Due to ‘DWTS’ Back Injury

Ariana Madix will do whatever it takes to win Dancing With the Stars, even if that means sleeping on cardboard. 

In an exclusive interview with ET’s Denny Directo, Ariana and her professional dance partner, Pasha Pashkov, opened up about the challenges they face on DWTS, and how they managed to escape a dance-off — but not without a cost.

The Vanderpump Rules star, visibly relieved, expressed to ET, “It was a huge relief to not have to do the dance-off. Especially because our Pasodoble was so packed.”

Pasha chimed in, revealing their strategy, “I was like, we’re gonna do the dance-off. We’re gonna put worth of two choreographies into one.” Ariana added, “Yes, we did two dances in one.”

However, the intensity on the dance floor came at a price, as Ariana disclosed in an Instagram Story on Monday. The reality star shared a video displaying her back, adorned with a series of bandages below the right side of her ribcage. 

In the caption, she wrote, “Week 8 is when you add a back injury on top of the foot injury and hope for the best. Thank GODNEY for Gina the incredible PT on set!” She also mentioned being “taped to the gods.”


When questioned about her back injury and the Instagram post, Ariana assured fans, saying, “I’m good. I took a lot of Ibuprofen. I saw the physical therapist here, Gina. She’s incredible. 2 and a half times or 1 and a half times today. I saw her yesterday as well. I slept on cardboard last night because my mattress is too soft, so I got a cardboard box. I laid it in the bed, I put a blanket over it, and I slept on a cardboard box, and I think that helped.”

Despite the physical challenges, Ariana and Pasha are determined to push through to the finale. “I mean it’s all, we’re week to week. We’re moment to moment, just focusing on the here and now,” she told ET. “…You’re in the breezeway, trying to rehearse and just stay focused and keep the body warm and stay ready because it’s just, I don’t know, it’s crazy. I’m back there just, you know, clenching my butt cheeks, trying to keep them warm.”

Tuesday’s new episode saw the stalwart panel of judges — Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough, Bruno Tonioli and special guest judge Billy Porter — score a slew of stunning showings as the seven remaining couples gave it their all to stay in the race for the Len Goodman Memorial Mirrorball Trophy.

After two hours of stylish routines and top-notch performances, it was up to America to vote on who deserved to perform once more next week, and who would be bidding farewell to the dance floor.

In the end — through a combination of judges’ scores and audience votes — three couples were determined to be in jeopardy: Barry Williams and Peta Murgatroyd, Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach, as well as Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev.

Ultimately, the time had come for Barry and Peta to bow out of the competition — despite the Brady Bunch alum going shirtless to win his dance-off challenge.

Dancing With the Stars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC and Disney+.


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