Interview: Below Deck’s Cast Spill About Life in Thailand on Mega Yacht ‘Valor’
We’ve got all the deets from some of the Bravo TV, Below Deck crew of the Valor, including First Stew, Kate Chastain, Second Stew, Simone Mashile, and Third Stew, Courtney Skippon. They discuss how they originally got into yachting, their secret to juggling guests, the three things on their bucket list, and their definition of self-love. Read on for all the juicy details, including who they’re currently crushing on right now.
Kate Chastain | Chief Stew
GLITTER: Where are you from, and how did you get into yachting?
KATE: I’m from Melbourne Beach, a small barrier island town on the east coast of Florida. I heard about yachting because an older cousin of mine had worked in the industry, so after college, I decided to give it a try.
GLITTER: How long have you served as a Chief Stew?
KATE: My first Chief Stew job was in 2009, but I will admit that I wasn’t really ready for the role at that time. After that, I freelanced a bit and honed my skills as 2nd stew, then in 2012 accepted a job as Chief Stew and was much better at the job by then.
GLITTER: What’s your secret to juggling guests, your team, and flowing with the deck crew and Captain as it looks exhausting?
KATE: Every crew and every group of charter guests is different, but for the most part, they all have the same basic needs. As long as I make sure the correct amount of provisions have been ordered, the laundry is stayed on top of, and as soon as one meal is over I’m starting to plan for the next, a charter can generally go pretty well. But there are no short cuts unfortunately, so even when a charter is “going well,” it’s still exhausting.
GLITTER: Favorite cast member to work with across all seasons?
KATE: Captain Lee has been a solid coworker and friend over the years, but he’s more of a favorite boss. So, for my favorite crew member, I would have to say Chef Ben because he’s extremely talented and fun to work with (most of the time). Even when Ben and I are having a disagreement, in a weird way, we’re still having fun. Our arguments are just our normal banter taken up a notch or two.
GLITTER: What’s the craziest guest story you have from your time on Below Deck?
KATE: There is no shortage of crazy guest moments from all of the past seasons of Below Deck, but the top award goes to Brandy from this season in Thailand. It was scary at the time, but now that we know she’s okay, I can say that having her emergency evacuated off the beach in a clear kayak was definitely one of the most outrageous moments I’ve ever witnessed.
GLITTER: We’ve seen so many crew members who didn’t bring their A-game, how does that affect workflow?
KATE: Regardless of how many guests we have on board or how demanding they might be, there is always a large amount of work that needs to be done just to keep the yacht running. If even one crew member is pulling their weight, it can really affect the rest of the crew, the guest experience, and the general safety of the vessel. It’s kind of like a Jenga tower, if you pull one piece out, the rest of it becomes less stable, and if one too many pieces are taken away the whole thing falls apart.
To read Kate’s full interview, download our Glitter app on iTunes now!
Simone Mashile | Second Stew
GLITTER: Where are you from, and what was life like growing up?
SIMONE: Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. Moved to Cape Town about 10 years ago. Life had its ups and downs coming from a disadvantaged background, living in a very low-income single-parent household. However, the adversity I experienced instilled the strength I have in me today.
I still feel like I had the best upbringing though being allowed to be a nerdy tomboy getting dirty & muddy in the streets playing with the boys until the street lamps came on. Those were the days!
GLITTER: Can you tell us about your family’s academic background and how that shaped your educational choices?
SIMONE: I come from a family of academic achievers. Brief examples would be an uncle who was the first black person to win the Anglo American open scholarship during the apartheid era in 1975, an uncle who is an electrical engineer & physicist, and a grandmother who at the age of 96 still believes in not using calculators as they “taint or weaken your mind,” as well as others with scientific/analytical minds.
Owing to this, growing up, I was encouraged and groomed to be the same. It’s a case of both Nature and Nurture I guess.
GLITTER: How did you get into yachting?
SIMONE: I wanted to explore the world, see how wealthy people live, put all these languages I’ve taught myself to use, and I was encouraged by a friend who had done a season in yachting to do so.
GLITTER: What’s a day in the life like for you when serving as Second Stewardess?
SIMONE: Assisting the Chief Stew where she needs me. Ensuring the boat is running smoothly, guests are being attended to, and their needs are met, setting up for guest lunch, dinners, picnics, parties… it varies. As well as assist/ guide the Junior stew with laundry and housekeeping.
GLITTER: You mentioned your South African accent on the show. Do you feel some people do not take the time to understand you?
SIMONE: For the most part in yachting, people do understand me as it’s an industry saturated with South Africans. I think it’s not so much my accent, but the rate at which I speak. My own mother still struggles keeping up with me!
To read Simone’s full interview, download our Glitter app on iTunes now!
Courtney Skippon | Third Stew
GLITTER: Where are you from?
COURTNEY: West Vancouver, Canada
GLITTER: Where did you go to school, and what was your concentration?
COURTNEY: SKEMA Business School in Valbonne, France.
GLITTER: How did you get into yachting?
COURTNEY: A friend in France was looking for a second stewardess on the charter yacht she worked on, and I needed a summer job.
GLITTER: You served as a stew along with just one other for a party of 12+ guests with 6-course lunches, what was that experience like?
COURTNEY: Crazy. The French take meals very seriously, but luckily, so do I. I was able to anticipate their needs and what I wasn’t able to anticipate I had to learn really quickly.
GLITTER: How do you take time for self-care when out at sea?
COURTNEY: I don’t. You just lather your serums on all at once before bed and hope for the best.
To read Courtney’s full interview, download our Glitter app on iTunes now!