Shooting Your Shot

Vanderpump’s Katie Maloney Is Ready To Reclaim Her "Tequila Katie" Days

The reality star chats about her approach to first dates and Tom Sandoval's bartending skills.

'Vanderpump Rules' star Katie Maloney talks drinking, dating, and her divorce.

In Bustle’s series Shooting Your Shot, single influencers and celebrities weigh in on drinking and dating: their drinking rules for a first date, drink order ick, and more.

Katie Maloney’s personal life has been on the air since 2013. As one of the last remaining original Vanderpump Rules cast members, she’s gotten engaged, married, and divorced from castmate Tom Schwartz; has had her fair share of wild nights; and has even introduced the world to her drunk alter ego, Tequila Katie, all on camera.

Today, the 37-year-old looks back on those days fondly, and with a fresh perspective. “I can put a nice fun spin on [Tequila Katie] and own it a little bit more,” Maloney tells Bustle. “Tequila Katie's fun now.”

Her chaotic partying days may be a thing of the past, but tequila’s still her favorite liquor. In fact, she’s teamed up with Chili’s alongside her VPR castmate Scheana Shay to celebrate the launch of the chain’s new Espresso Martini, which is fittingly made with reposado (Maloney’s “go-to tequila”), rum, agave nectar, espresso martini mix, and, of course, a coffee bean garnish.

Here, Maloney tells Bustle about her rules for drinking on dates, her thoughts on dating after a 12-year relationship, and Tom Sandoval.

Courtesy of Chili's

What’s your go-to drink order on a first date?

It’s always going to be tequila, so maybe a tequila espresso martini or tequila on the rocks. Maybe it’s a little bit of club soda, or possibly a glass of red wine. If we're at a Mexican restaurant, I’ll go margarita.

Do you have any rules when it comes to drinking on first dates?

You want to keep your wits about yourself, so don't overdo it, but sometimes it's nice to have a couple of drinks to get the nerves down. You don't want to get to the point where you're oversharing and sometimes when you get one too many in you, that tends to happen. You start talking about your ex or childhood trauma [laughs].

What’s your biggest dating ick?

There are a lot. If they speak negatively or poorly about their ex or speak too much about them. If they get too drunk. Also if they talk about money or status in a way that they're either bragging or seem insecure.

Do you talk about your divorce on a first date?

I want to be as upfront and truthful and not omit that information. That's a big part of my fabric as a person, but I don't want to harp on it for too long about the breakup or what went wrong. I try to only give as much information as necessary, and they can ask questions.

Has being on a TV show impacted your approach to dating?

The only thing that's an issue is when the person is aware I have been on the show and have a public platform. They can Google me and there's a lot of very intimate information they can find out. It feels like an uneven playing field because I have to ask them questions to find out about their life. It doesn't matter [to me] whether they've seen every episode or not seen a single one. I just think it's weird when people aren't truthful about it.

What’s it like dating again after being in a long-term relationship?

It's educational. I'm proud of myself for being vulnerable and putting myself out there. It's not easy meeting people and dating because these days people are very into being very casual. They're not really into openly communicating, so how do you get past a date or a talking phase? I'm just trying to enjoy the process.

Do you have any rules or boundaries when staying friends with an ex?

I don't like to have bad blood. I like to remain friends with people, especially [if] you have a bond with somebody for so many years. For them to become this stranger to you feels odd to me. You do have to have boundaries in terms of what information you give them and their access to you for your own sanity and emotional well-being. No one wants to date somebody whose BFFs with their ex, even if it's totally, completely platonic.

If you had to give one of your costars’ drunk alter ego a nickname like Tequila Katie, what would it be?

Ariana is the most fun, silly drunk, but I'm wondering what I would call her. What goes with Ariana? She drinks either rosé or vodka soda. Vodka Ariana. She's a good time.

Has Tom Sandoval ever made you a good drink?

Yes. He likes to get creative and is into the showmanship of it all. He had this bubble gun with this smoke inside of it, so you'd put it on top of a drink and you'd pop it, then the smoke would come out. While the drink wasn't necessarily on par with something you'd get at a speakeasy, it would be something that would impress you in a way.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.