Ann Maddox

Ann Maddox from Vanderpump Rules

Ann Maddox

Ann Maddox now cohosts the podcast We Signed an NDA

Ella Schaefer Photography
ann maddox

Maddox with Vanderpump Rules stars Ariana Madix and Katie Maloney

Fill 1
Fill 1
June 18, 2024
Online Originals

“Ann’s Here!”: Tom Sandoval’s Former Assistant Takes Us Behind the Scenes of Vanderpump Rules 

Ann Maddox reveals how “real” reality TV can get.

Season 11 of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules gave rise to an unexpected star: Ann Maddox.

In both real life and on the show, Maddox worked for three years as the assistant to Tom Sandoval, who is arguably the closest thing Vanderpump Rules has to a “villain.” Before she was fired from her position on-air, her time with Sandoval was fraught with emotional turmoil — especially during the period fans refer to as “Scandoval,” when Tom’s nine-year relationship with fellow Rules star Ariana Madix came to an end following Tom’s affair with Ariana’s friend, Raquel Leviss. Maddox also found herself charged to carry out bizarre tasks for her boss, like picking up his underwear and having to glue a penis flute back together.

Similar to Jim Halpert — John Krasinski on The Office — Maddox would offer the occasional awkward or anxious glance to camera. The furtive acknowledgments of her plight established Maddox as a fan favorite, an audience proxy to help ground viewers in the increasingly absurd antics they were witnessing on this staple of Bravo’s reality slate. As the show’s former “Number One Assistant,” Maddox recently launched a podcast with her friend and writer Amanda Lifford called We Signed an NDA, in which they shine a blacklight on the side of reality television that viewers rarely see. The Television Academy recently talked with Maddox about her unexpected journey through the Bravo universe and how her comedy background prepared her for it.

Television Academy: How does your background in improv come into play in your work?

Ann Maddox: It helps immensely. As an assistant, my literal job is to say yes to everything my boss asks of me. As far as being on the show, doing reality TV feels like the highest form of improv, because you don't know what's going to be thrown at you. The producers know, but you don't.

How much of what we see on-screen is “real”?

It's a bizarre mix of real life and not real life, because theoretically, nobody acts as they normally would when a camera is present. So, that already takes it out of reality. The realness is the consequences of your actions in the show. They actually affect my boss or whoever I'm talking to. Most of my job [in season 11] was being a mediator. In the show, you see me ask Ariana if Tom could have a birthday party at the house. This was literally months after the scandal broke and Ariana had found out about the affair he was having. In my head, as her friend, I'm like, “He shouldn't ask you this.” But for the sake of the show, you have to ask, even though you personally think it's a terrible idea. For the sake of my boss and the show, I have to. And so my improv brain kicks in, where I think, “I might not be this person in real life, but what would a person in this situation do?” I do it without thinking, because I'm so used to doing it onstage. It becomes second nature.

You were ultimately fired by Sandoval. Why didn’t you quit first?

Because I'm poor and didn't have the luxury to just quit my job. I needed to pay rent. I also genuinely loved my job. It introduced me to Bravo, and going to BravoCon was such a pleasure that I inevitably wanted to keep working in that.

Do you read the comments or Bravo fan theories?

Working as Tom Sandoval's assistant, I loved going on Reddit and reading what people would post. Redditors are so funny and so smart. They picked up the clues and put A and B together. It impressed me when people were right.

What has your experience been interacting with such a passionate and involved fanbase?

I love it. The Bravo fan world is a tight-knit group. On Instagram, fans have reached out, and I get to talk to them directly. Some of the bigger fan accounts that are now influencers, I've gotten to know them better. It's been a rewarding friendship. It really is a community. I love being a part of it.

How did you feel about starting the podcast?

The podcast started as an idea that popped in [our] heads one night. She worked for a reality TV star, too. We were talking about this industry, and we were like, “This should be a podcast.” We did our due diligence. We spoke to lawyers. We were like, “Hey, if we were to do this, what is the safest way of doing it where nobody gets sued, everyone's happy and feels safe?” And then we just took it from there.

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