Kate Chastain, star of Below Deck is making waves as the accomplished and witty chief stewardess on the Bravo hit series. Kate’s yachting career has taken her through the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Central America and New England but her favorite experience was a 21 day trip crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
In an exclusive interview with AllAboutTheTEA.com, Kate doesn’t hold back her feelings about the drama surrounding Rocky Dakota, Chef Leon, Eddie & Rocky’s showmance and much more! Read our interview below.
What was your path to becoming a chief stewardess?
Kate: I started working on yachts after graduating from college in 2007. I literally spent the first nine months ‘below deck’, working in the laundry room and guest cabins on a busy charter boat in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. It wasn’t easy but the money, travel and life experiences made it all worth it. I freelanced on boats of all sizes around the world for a few years, the entire time learning what made a boat program run well. Eventually, and with quite a bit of trial and error, I worked my way up the ranks and was happily employed as the Chief Stewardess on a beautiful 151’ yacht when I got the call for the show.
How hard was it dealing with Rocky Dakota’s seemingly defiant attitude while catering to charter guests?
Kate: I’m not exaggerating when I say that this season on “Eros” was the most difficult charter season of my entire career, mostly because of Rocky’s blatant disrespect and disregard for the amount of work we needed to accomplish. She didn’t want to work and she didn’t want to learn, which meant that Amy and I had to pick up her slack the entire time. Then, to add insult to injury, she would bad mouth me to the crew, saying I was an awful slave driver, when all I ever wanted was for her to do the job she signed up for. Climbing up onto the radar while the boat was underway, jumping off the boat in her underwear with guests onboard and having almost daily hysterical breakdowns made having Rocky on the boat feel like we were all just hostages to her emotional whims. She was out of control the entire time and any attempt to hold her accountable for her actions only made her behavior worse.
On part one of the reunion, Rocky labeled your management style as rude and claims you wrote her off. What’s your response to her portrayal?
Kate: Quite frankly, Rocky’s opinion of my management style doesn’t hold a lot of water. And actually, I would say that it is her professional demeanor that is rude and she is the one who wrote me off. I lead by example, and only expect the other stewardesses to work as hard as I do during charters which I think is quite fair. Rocky didn’t appreciate the way I ran the interior but she certainly wasn’t complaining when the charter guests left us generous tips. I think she not only owes me an apology, but she also owes Amy and I a big ‘Thank You’ for all of the money we earned her.
What are your thoughts on the Rocky and Eddie drama after watching the season play out?
Kate: I don’t think there is anything special or unique about it. People on boats hook up. It happens, no big deal. At first it’s exciting because it’s a secret, and then the new wears off and the realization that it was just a cabin fever-induced fling sets in. I think Rocky enjoyed the drama from the aftermath of it all more than the fling itself. It’s no secret she loves attention and this was just another way for her to get it.
You work really hard to build your brand/professional resume, how do you manage difficult staff members that challenge your management?
Kate: When we’re working I don’t really have time to focus on anything but the guests and trying to stay one step ahead of their requests, but once the charter guests leave, I always try to make it a point to spoil my stewardesses in some way. Usually on days off I like to take them for a pedicure, or a nice sushi dinner with wine, or a pool day with champagne, just something to show them that we can have fun girl time together off the clock. That’s actually really important to me because when you’re working away from home, your coworkers become your friends and family. When we were working on “Ohana” I got all of the girls onboard cute little mermaid dolls from Tortola that matched each of our hair colors. On another boat, I gave my stewardesses pearl friendship bracelets from St.Barths. I like to surprise them with small souvenirs from whatever port we are visiting so they will have something to remember the trip with, long after we’ve left the boat.
You have a huge social media following and presence…do you enjoy the fan feedback while live tweeting?
Kate: I enjoy writing as a hobby so coming up with fun captions or being able to say something funny in only 140 characters is super fun for me. Because I’ve spent the majority of my career travelling internationally, social media has always been a major way for me to keep in touch with loved ones back home. And I love reading feedback from “Below Deck” fans, they are so supportive which makes this entire experience that much more enjoyable.
Rocky made a shocking accusation when discussing the fire incident, she accused you of drinking. Why did she make such an accusation?
Kate: I actually wasn’t that shocked when Rocky accused me of drinking. She has no boundaries and will say or do anything if she thinks it is to her benefit, regardless of truth or reason. I think at that point in the reunion, Rocky was feeling overwhelmed with all of the negative feedback she was receiving and resorted to finger-pointing and blame shifting which is sad but not surprising.
Where does your relationship with Chef Ben stand today?
Kate: Ben and I are great friends. He is one of the funniest people I know and we have both been there for each other to offer a laugh and advice when needed. In regards to past hook-ups or arguments, we both know that neither are ever that serious and at the end of the day we will always be friends, nothing more, nothing less.
Your thoughts on Leon skipping the reunion?
Kate: I wasn’t surprised at all seeing as how Leon was mentally checked out of the entire Below Deck experience from day one. I was disappointed however that he chose not to attend, as I would have loved for both Andy and Ben to meet him and witness firsthand what I had to deal with for five long weeks.
When Kate’s not busy catering to the demands of her high-profile charter guests, she enjoys working on her blog Lucky Charming and is excited about the release of her book of the same name later this year.
Tune in tonight (Tuesday, December 1) for part two of the “Below Deck” season 3 reunion at 8pm ET on Bravo.