Kate Chastain and Kat Held of Bravo's Below Deck Talk Yacht Life and Crazy Passengers
You're nobody until you own your own yacht. Or charter one. Or maybe just work on one, because yacht rides are hard to come across these days. That's how Kate Chastain and Kat Held scored cabins on the Ohana, not to mention starring roles on the second season of Bravo's hit series Below Deck, which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a yacht crew. You know, running out of Caviar just hours outside of Antigua, overcooking your poodle's filet mignon or having to plan a five-star, champagne-filed picnic on a beach filled with, wait for it, sand. The struggles are real.
Kate, a Florida native from Melbourne, takes the lead as the head stewardess of the vessel, while Kat returns for a second season with the mission of reclaiming herself from the drunken shenanigans she was known for in the last. The two reside in Fort Lauderdale where Ohana departs, so we wanted to know a thing or two about the two blonde bombshells on board: their craziest demands, favorite Fort Lauderdale digs, and why they would kick off Andrew Sturby should they come across a chance iceberg in the Caribbean.
New Times: One of the reasons you wanted to joined the yachting industry was to find your future husband. Any luck so far?
Kate Chastain: When I joined yachting I was a very shallow and sheltered person. Yachting has not only taught me the value of hard work but I have witnessed firsthand that some of the wealthiest people on the planet are surprisingly also some of the most miserable. I've since learned that anything worth having is earned. That being said, I have met many wonderful men during my yachting career but not Mr. Right...yet. I'm just not down with settling as a means to settling down.
Kat, why did What lead you to move to Fort Lauderdale to become a stewardess?
Kat Held: I had recently graduated from The University of Rhode Island and had been working as an administrative assistant at a psychiatrist office for six years. I wanted to travel but did not have the financial means to do so on my own. When I researched what it was like to work as yacht stewardess, I instantly knew that's what I wanted to do, and there's no better place to move to then the yachting capital of the world, Fort Lauderdale.
What is the craziest demand you've ever received while as a stew?
Kate: I've had to cook filet for a Pomeranian. I've seen escorts walk onto a boat less than an hour after the wives and children left. Honestly, nothing really surprises me at this point... well, almost nothing. There were quite a few surprises from the guests on Motoryacht Ohana.
Kat: The craziest demand I have ever received was to order men or women dancers and escorts for a group of charter guests. That is not an easy task when you are floating around the Caribbean.
Kate Chastain of Bravo's Below Deck
Courtesy Hayley Strichman
Your ship is overcapacity and you have to kick off one crew member this season. Who is it?
Kate: Andrew is clearly nothing but dead weight, so that's an easy answer.
Kat: It would either be myself [laughs] because of all the stress we have to deal with. Or Andrew. He is the weakest link in our crew and is the least reliable. If anything, he made more work for everyone. I would like to see him go regardless if we were over capacity or not. He is literally a danger to have on board. Yachting is just not for everyone.
But now you've hit an iceberg and your ship is sinking! You can only save one other person. Who is it?
Kate: I would save Ben (Robinson) because he very resourceful and has great survival instincts. I imagine he would be able to scheme a way into us getting rescued the quickest.
Kat: I would most likely take the chef with me, because out of everyone he or she would be the most knowledgeable about food, which is essential for survival. In addition, chefs always have a great sense of humor which would be best for morale, another key component in survival.
What do you do on your off time? Any favorite Fort Liquordale and Miami dives?
Kate: I work so hard, sometimes for weeks or even months on end when I'm on yachts, so in my off time it's all about leisure. I usually travel quite a bit and apply the formula of shopping, dining out, and visiting friends in various cities. I love Purdy Lounge in Miami Beach. I was just there recently and the DJ was amazing but I've been going there since 2004 or so. In Lauderdale my favorite spot is The Treasure Trove.
Kat: My favorite dive bars in Fort Liquordale would be The Treasure Trove, The Elbo Room, and The Village Well. I haven't spent too much time in Miami, however, the first boat I did day work on was docked right outside Monty's at Miami Marina, and they have the best piña coladas I've ever had, but you have to top it with a rum floater. The boat I am currently on will be docked in Miami for the winter, so I'm looking forward to getting familiar with the local bars in South Beach.
There's a lot of buzz about a love triangle between you, Ben and Kat this season, and he does seem to be crushing on you during the first episode. Is there any truth to this? Will your relationship with Kat fizzle out?
Kate: It's funny because when I watched season one, I think I was the only woman in America who didn't have a crush on Ben. I'm used to working with varying nationalities so his accent isn't a charming novelty to me. In fact, I didn't really care for his personality on TV at all...until I met him.
He is highly intelligent and quite funny, which is an attractive but dangerous combination. Ben once said that we are like the male and female version of each other....I'm not sure that's a good thing, romantically speaking. I really enjoyed working with Kat. She is hilarious and hard-working, basically my two favorite qualities in a stewardess. Laughter makes any job more enjoyable.
Kat: It's still early in the season to say too much, so you'll have to watch to find out more. However, what I can share with you is that Kate and Ben are my two favorite crew members from this season, and the three of us always have a good time together. I am a jealous person by nature, and since Ben was one of my closest friends, I was a little nervous that if Kate and Ben were to grow closer than friends, that my time with Ben would be limited. The three of us get along well and I would never be jealous of Kate spending time with Ben. But I am definitely jealous that Kate gets to room with Ben because he is such great company.
Kat Held of Bravo's Below Deck
Courtesy Hayley Strichman
Last season there was a lot of buzz about drunken shenanigans. Have you toned down your partying ways at all, Kat?
Kat: Yes! My partying habits have been tamed. Thank goodness for that. It didn't take much after seeing my behavior on national television to make a drastic change. Instead of heading straight to the bars after work, you can find me at the closest gym. Working out makes me feel amazing! I look way better naked, my mind is clear, and I have way more energy, which means I can have that much more fun when I actually do cut loose.
How do you deal with a hangover on board? That has to be AWFUL.
Hangovers on board a vessel are the worst if you are setting sail that morning. Many seafarers have claimed that during long intense hours of seasickness, your mind will actually begin to have suicidal thoughts. On the other hand, when you wake up hung over, you literally only have to roll out of bed to brush your teeth and change your clothes to be on deck on time, so it's almost impossible to be late for work.
The captain mentions you look more like a person chartering the boat than you do working on it. How do you make serving others look so glamorous?
Kate: If it were up to me, yacht uniforms would look like something out of a Ralph Lauren ad. This is Yachting! Unfortunately though I usually end up in a polyester skirt and a synthetic blend polo. Ugh. It's important to make yourself look as nice as possible when working on yachts, not only for the guests but for yourself. It's a snowball effect; if you look good, you feel good and thus your work is better and more enjoyable.
What's the secret to throwing a perfect beach picnic?
Kate: A checklist and efficiency. Beach picnics are a ridiculous amount of work. We become mules carrying everything from the yacht to the tender, out of the tender, across the sand. It's a nightmare and you are usually trying to do it as quickly as possible because guests get bored quickly. If after all that work, you have salt but forgot the pepper, you just look unprepared.
Kate: Miami vs. Melbourne. What do you choose and why?
I love Miami for it's architecture, vibrant vibe of life, shopping, and overall beauty; but I will always pick my hometown of Melbourne Beach. It's quite the opposite of Miami, it's a slow-paced small town where nothing really ever changes and everyone knows each other. It's a hidden gem of a town.
Below Deck airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo
-- Ashley Brozic
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