A new chapter. Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute‘s firings from Vanderpump Rules still “hasn’t become super real,” costar Katie Maloney-Schwartz exclusively tells Life & Style. “Until we get back to filming, I know it’s not going to be the same and be really weird.”

The Bravolebrity, 33, adds she “accepts” the situation, but “it’s been crazy.” 

“I’ve just been trying to be supportive of Kristen and Stassi, and their journey now of, you know, the same things we’re all doing,” Katie explains. “I’m having the same conversations I’m having with them that I’m having with all my friends. Like, what’s going on and how we find our part in all of this and make a difference … They are actively doing that same thing, too. Yeah, we’ve all got a lot of work to do.”

Bravo announced the decision to let Stassi, 32, and Kristen, 37, go on June 9 after their past racist behavior toward their former castmate, Faith Stowers. Newcomers Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni were also booted from the show after past racists tweets from 2012 resurfaced shortly before season 8 premiered. All four former cast members issued public apologies for their past actions.

“Stassi and Kristen acknowledged what they did was wrong, have apologized and been punished,” rep Steve Honig told Life & Style at the time. “Without casting aside their actions or the impact of those actions, they want to move forward as part of the solution in ways that are productive, meaningful and sincere. Both of them recognize actions speak louder than words and that is what will guide them as they move forward.”

As far as shooting for season 9, Katie says they’re all “just sitting ducks waiting to find out something” since they can’t “physically film the show” because of health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Everything’s still shut down, you know, Sur and TomTom have not reopened,” the Night Zero star adds. “Until there’s bigger changes, or you know, COVID becomes less of a threat, it can’t happen. So, it’s just kind of contingent on all of this.”

Katie has been occupying her time with the launch of her new podcast, “You’re Gonna Love Me,” through Dear Media, which was founded by “The Skinny Confidential” creator Lauryn Evarts Bosstick and husband Michael Bosstick

“I really wanted to start a podcast to have a chance to open up my life more, have people get to know me, who I am and my full personality,” explains the SURver about the inspiration behind her new gig. 

“On the show, you see a lot of my life … I wanted to open that up more and kind of control the dialogue in a sense,” she divulges. “I wanted to show a different side of myself. Also, just my experience of being on the show and being in the public eye and having a lot of outside opinions and feelings. I was put in a box and being labeled as a mean girl or a bitch or a bully, all those things.”

Katie Maloney Podcast Youre Gonna Love Me
Courtesy Dear Media

She’ll be speaking with some guests who have had similar experiences on reality TV, like costar James Kennedy. “I just wanted to turn that conversation on its head a little bit and challenge the things that we often judge people for or the opinions that we have and just relate to them on a human level,” Katie says.

It looks like there’s a lot of new things on the horizon for Vanderpump Rules!

Reporting by Katie Bruno