Vanderpump Rules star Scheana Shay wants to do things differently this time around. Season 11 of the Bravo reality TV hit is in full swing, and after ten years of drama, heartbreak, and of course, “Scandoval,” the 38-year-old California native just wants to focus on being a mom to two-year-old Summer Moon, making new music, and maintaining her mental health after an OCD diagnosis.
Shay opened up to Scary Mommy over Zoom to talk about how things are going for her in a post-Scandoval world plus what’s in store for the year to come, including a more vulnerable glimpse into her life she may not have always shown on camera.
Some people may be quick to judge Shay (you name it, she’s been called it), but beyond the glam and legacy run on a show that has become somewhat of a TV juggernaut, she’s just a mom trying to do the very best she can.
When I sit down to chat with Shay, she’s rushing in from another appearance during her visit to New York, joking that she was still in her slippers moments ago.
“Traffic and live TV do not go well together,” she says.
As we chat about the new season of VPR that just premiered, she says the jury is still out on how she’s feeling. “You know, only one episode in. We still have a long period ahead, so ask me again later,” she says with a laugh.
Despite only one episode on the books at the time of the interview, Shay has already shown a more open and honest portrayal of her life and struggles with postpartum mental health.
“I am excited that this season you will get to see more of the postpartum journey. You didn’t really get to see that season nine or ten. I felt like there were so many things I was going through then that you didn’t see and now are finally being talked about,” she says, admitting that she hid a lot about her motherhood journey in the beginning.
She adds: “Postpartum OCD is often misdiagnosed for postpartum depression, and it’s also not always diagnosed immediately. So the first year, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. It took me over a year to even open up to my therapist.”
Shay wants other moms to know that it’s okay to be honest about how they’re doing and that there are resources available to help cope with postpartum struggles like OCD. For Shay, she turned to therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment to help cope with ruminations and intrusive thoughts.
“Open up about it with someone you feel safe with, whether that’s a mom, a friend, a therapist. I’ve done extensive EMDR therapy over the past year. That has been incredible in this journey,” she admits before sharing some intrusive thoughts she’s experienced in the past.
“I’m like, people are going to think I’m crazy. I’m not wanting to throw my child off a balcony, but if I’m standing outside with her, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, what if she jumped out of my arms?’”
Shay gives another example of how layered postpartum OCD can be, including the complicated process of speaking out about the mental disorder. The Scheananigans podcast host swears she knows exactly how that fear of judgment can feel.
She recalls, “Sometimes when you do say things out loud, then it’s like, ‘Am I manifesting that? Like I don’t want to say this out loud, and then I don’t want to jinx it. There’s so many layers of why women don’t open up about stuff like this.”
Thankfully for Shay, she has solid people in her life she can lean on during those darker moments, including fellow VPR cast member, Lala Kent. Despite ups and downs in previous seasons, Shay and Kent have never been closer — literally. The two moms have neighboring homes in Palm Springs.
“We’re the only two moms now on the show, and it was like, we can either keep fighting or we can lean on each other because no one else can understand the hormones and milk pumping through our body that the two of us can … and now it’s like, we literally share a wall in Palm Springs,” Shay says of Kent who shares her two-year-old daughter, Ocean, with ex-fiance, Randall Emmett.
“Our moms are best friends. Our siblings are friends. It’s so easy. We’re rooted now.”
Speaking of Kent, Shay admits that her mom BFF was at the top of her list when it came to potential babysitters for Summer Moon.
“She’s a mom, she knows anything my kid needs,” she says confidently.
Shay keeps that firm, assured energy when I ask who from the VPR cast she would never let watch Summer Moon. Without hesitation, she replies, “I would not let the Toms ever watch her. Nope.”
Shay is, of course, speaking of controversial cast members Tom Sandoval and his friend and business partner, Tom Schwartz.
She adds: “I know Ariana [Madix] and Katie [Maloney] would be great. James [Kennedy] and Alley [Lewber] would be great, but yeah, the Toms don’t get to babysit my kid.”
Shay wed her husband — New Zealand-born fitness trainer, Brock Davies — in 2021 during a secret ceremony before tying the knot in front of family and friends in an August 2022 wedding.
For Shay, Davies has been there every step of the way, keeping her humble and grounded.
“He is not my ‘yes’ man. He will absolutely put me in my place. He will tell me when I’m wrong. He will give me his opinion. He does not sugarcoat anything, and as hard as it is, sometimes I’m like, ‘Can you just agree with me?” she jokes.
However, the “Good As Gold” singer did hint at some tension between the two during this upcoming season, sharing that Davies had trouble understanding her OCD.
“He doesn’t have OCD. He doesn’t have these fears and anxieties … and this season was difficult for us,” she teases.
Something different this year for Shay as opposed to other seasons on VPR: she’s not hiding anything.
“I also was really proud of myself ’cause it was the first time, I think, ever on the show, I’m not trying to paint a pretty perfect picture,” Shay says.
“And I don’t know that I’ve ever really fought with a significant other on the show. I would save that for after the cameras go down. We talk about that at home, and you just keep your happy face on. And I’m like, ‘That’s not relatable. No one relates to a perfect family.’”
Outside of motherhood, Shay has found new life in music. After taking a few years off from being in the studio, she finds singing and writing to be one of her go-tos when she needs to settle her mind.
When I ask Shay about her music collaborators, the 27s, Shay becomes emotional, working to hold back tears until she eventually lets go and gushes about her newfound friendship with the music duo.
“It’s this new group of friends that I didn’t know I needed so much. Like I could cry … It’s literally been so amazing to have these guys in my life at a time when … I felt like everything was coming down on me, and then we got in the studio. We wrote “Apples,” and it was like, ‘You know what, I can still do this’,” Shays says, wiping tears from her eyes.
“Like I have always been like, not confident in singing because I’ve let everyone get to me. And I’m like, ‘I have fun with this and we’re making good music’ Like all of the songs we’re putting out right now are so fun, and at this point, I don’t care what people say anymore. I know the songs we’re making are dope. It’s taught my daughter how to spell ‘apples’!”
The newfound confidence in her music has translated to other facets of her life.
When I ask Shay how she deals with mom-shamers, she rolls her eyes and says, “I try not to let it get to me, but it annoys me … I swear I could save a drowning puppy, and it would be like, ‘She just did that for attention!’”
“There’s always something. I’m never going to win. I have fully just accepted that not everyone’s going to like you, but as long as I like me at the end of the day, that’s OK.”