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Why Below Deck's Kate Chastain Can't Return To 'Real' Yachting Following Her Time On The Show

There are some people who are just synonymous with their job. Tom Brady is to footballing as Jeff Probst is to hosting. And without a doubt, the name Kate Chastain is synonymous with yachting and the reality series Below Deck. The notoriously quick-witted chief stewardess on Bravo show is no longer part of that industry, though, after easing into early retirement at age 37. She explained more about why exactly she could never return to “real” yachting in the future.

The reality star officially hung up the old chief stew lapels back in 2020. Up until that point, she had headlined Below Deck for ­six seasons under Captain Lee and was a regular unknown yachtie for six years before that. In a recent interview with the Yung Flamingo podcast, Kate Chastain shared that the show wasn't proper or “real” yachting in the sense that the workers onboard generally aren't the center of attention. Chastain realized that even though filming Below Deck was “exciting,” she was at the point where she was “just over it,” adding:

Before the first season aired, I did try to work on a yacht. And you know, once you’ve filmed a reality show of your job to then go and try and do that same job without a production team of 70 following you around, it’s just less exciting. No one cared when I was brushing my teeth, which was annoying. [laughs] Once the first season aired, I think I did take one freelance job as a favor to a friend and the yacht owners were like, ‘Can we get a selfie with you?’ And I was like, ‘Sure, but I gotta go make your Bloody Mary first.’ It was just too awkward. It was just too much.

Fellow alum Hannah Ferrier is in the same, metaphorical, boat as her. But since quitting yachting – "real" or otherwise – Kate Chastain revealed to Showbiz Cheatsheet that she has taken up space in the event planning/party planning industry in Florida. However, she still pops in from time to time on the Bravo network, usually to dish with Andy Cohen about the current goings-ons with the Below Deck franchise. The former star in fact had one of her signature saucy takes about those shocking Below Deck: Sailing Yacht hookups in its last season.

The candid alum may not be scrubbing toilets or managing wayward stews any longer, but funnily enough, things have come full circle for the star. Apparently, previous yacht captains of hers have paid to fly her out to exotic marinas she once only worked at – just to have meet-and-greets with guests who were fans of her on the show. Chastain pithily remarked, “Like, you know, I did the damn thing.”

Following Kate Chastain’s exit, the Bravo network has endeavored to replace the fan-favorite with a new chief stew that would become the face of the franchise. It hasn’t exactly been working out, though. Francesca Rubi didn’t return after Season 8, and it looks as though newest addition Heather Chase won’t, either, considering the backlash she’s getting for using a slur in recent episodes. Needless to say, Chastain is sorely missed by the franchise's devoted fans.

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.