We’re right in the middle of the debut season of Below Deck Adventure, and chief stew Faye Clarke found some time to sit down with us and chat about her experience aboard the beloved series.
While Clarke is a determined, driven chief stew, as we’ve seen in the episodes thus far, when she landed her spot on the show, she was a big ball of nerves.
“Obviously it was really nerve-wracking,” Clarke laughs. “I remember actually the taxi driver came to collect me from my front door at 4:00 in the morning to take me to the airport. And I almost told him to turn back around, [saying to myself], ‘what am I doing?’ You know, I knew it was going to be full on, but not only was it full on, I was going to be very out. It was going to ruin my life or make my life. But I thought, you know what? If I don’t go for it, I’ll always regret it. So, I took the challenge. I think life is all about challenges. And if you don’t take challenges or do anything that motivates you, you might as well just be asleep.”
Honestly, you don’t even see half of the struggles we went through
Faye Clarke reveals the most stressful moments on Below Deck Adventure
Luckily Clarke was ready to embrace any challenge that came her way, since this season has been full of high-stress moments. Even though we’ve seen plenty of stress-inducing clips – from deckhand Kyle making a (highly encouraged) departure to the chef losing her cool(ers) – Clarke explains that way more difficult moments happened off-air.
“Honestly, you don’t even see half of the struggles we went through,” she teases. “We went through so much. So much went wrong that we don’t air. But I think the fact that we didn’t have a bar, we had a very tiny pantry. And my biggest challenge also was that the sun didn’t go down. So our guests were literally waking up at 7:00 in the morning and not going to bed till sometimes 4:00 in the morning the next day. You know, I would get in bed and think, ‘Wow, how traumatic was that day?’ But then I realize it was two days. So that was challenging.”
Taking place in New Zealand, this Below Deck franchise is all about adventure – just as the title implies. But a lot of hardships come out of that.
“I think [another challenge was] all my excursions I had to do the logistics for, so I’d have to work out – although this was Lewis’ job – where [Captain Kerry Titheradge] is going to dock, how long it takes from the big superyacht – the mothership to the dock. Not only that, but I had to get the camera crew in a tender, my guests in a tender, pack up all the picnic stuff, games and drinks, food. At the time, the chef didn’t want to do any food off the boat, so I would grab stuff from the crew and stuff just to pull everything together. People didn’t realize my struggles, seriously. So, when I’m watching it, and everything is just flowing, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, they didn’t show this, and they didn’t show that.’ So, oh yeah, it was a struggle from the moment our eyes opened, but it was fun.”
How did Faye Clarke feel about Kyle leaving Below Deck Adventure?
A few episodes back, deckhand Kyle Dickard departed the yacht (a strongly worded “suggestion” from Captain Kerry) after threatening to get violent with fellow deckhand Nathan Morley. Clarke says that, although it came as a shock, it didn’t really have a huge impact on the interior crew.
“To be honest, [Kyle leaving] didn’t really affect my department whatsoever because, although on the show it shows that the boys chip in a lot, they absolutely didn’t,” Clarke explains. “So, whether he went or not didn’t really affect me. I quite liked his little naughty ways and his banter and stuff like that. But at the end of the day, it became a hazard to the rest of the crew and maybe quite embarrassing for Kerry that he was part of the crew. But when Kerry did what he thought was right and he went off, I just saw him walking off and I was like ‘…OK…’”
Faye Clarke comments on Oriana Schneps ordering extra epaulets behind her back
Some core drama this season revolves around stewardess Oriana Schneps ordering extra epaulets – the black stripes crew members wear on their shoulders to signify status – behind her back.
During Below Deck Adventure, Schneps encourages Bosun Lewis Lupton to order her a second set of epaulets to signify that she was second stewardess, even though Clarke had declared that both Schneps and fellow stewardess Kasie Faddah would be equals throughout the charter season. After Clarke finds out, she’s frustrated that Schneps would betray her and go behind her back to disregard her requests.
“The thing is, I had many meetings with the stews, which actually doesn’t get shown,” Clarke explains. “But I stood my ground and said, at the end of the day, this is not a normal situation. In a normal situation, I’d have time to train you. I would see where your strengths are, where your weaknesses are. And we didn’t have that time. So I said, due to the fact that this is the situation, we just come together as a team. I don’t mind standing washing up all night. I don’t mind doing laundry. I don’t mind doing this. Doing that. Whereas other chief stews would never do that. So this is a different situation. We’re all stepping in. We’re all doing this or doing that as a team just to get the job done.”
Despite not getting the title, Schneps still received a second stew wage, according to Clarke.
“She shouldn’t moan too much because she was getting a second stew’s salary,” she continues. “If anyone should complain, really, it’s Kasie — because Kasie was doing a lot of work. She stepped up into second position when Oriana was in bed. You know, she didn’t say, ‘I’m not getting a second salary.’ We knew that we had to chip together, and we did get the job done. It might have been a mess behind the scenes, but the guests never saw that and that’s fine. I think it was more, you know, for her pictures and stuff like that. She wanted the two, right?”
What was Faye Clarke’s Impression of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’s Heather Gay?
In the Bravo universe crossover of our dreams, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Heather Gay chartered a yacht on Below Deck Adventure, where she brought along castmate Angie Herrington and her husband, Chris Herrington.
When I asked Faye Clarke what her impression of Heather was, she had nothing but good things to say. In fact, she’s still friends with some of the guests on Heather’s charter, and even went to Salt Lake City recently to visit them all.
“She was just one bundle of fun like she’s so witty,” Clarke said through a smile. “She hasn’t got much of a filter on her mouth. She just says what she thinks, and it comes out very funny. And her friends, the guests that she brought on, were lovely as well – so caring. Like, really caring. Her best friend, Shane, he’s one of my best friends now and I’ve just been to Salt Lake City and stayed with them all. It’s somewhere I’ve never been. We had thick snow. Everyone was so lovely. To me, even if the show doesn’t do me justice or anything like that, I don’t care because I know at the end of the day, every guest that was on that boat had a great time and they all reach out to me. They send me emails, letters. I’ve been invited to weddings, birthdays, parties, and I’m like, ‘That’s what I wanted to achieve.’ So I’m going to take that with me.”
How does Faye Clarke feel about her friendship with chef Jessica Condy?
In most Below Deck franchises, the chief stew and chef run into conflicts pretty quickly – but with Clarke and chef Jess Condy, it’s hard to tell where they stand.
“I can understand our relationship confusing a lot of people because it is actually confusing to me,” Clarke explains. “But we just are the same age, and we are very similar, but very different. She left South Africa when she was young. I left the UK when I was young and we’ve been fending for ourselves – 15 years travelling the world on our own, just winging it in jobs, careers, boyfriends, relationships, this and that. So I’m quite thick-skinned, quite tough in a way, but I’m quite soft where it’s just, you know, she will just blurt out what she wants, but then she’ll feel guilty about it afterwards. So we’re very similar, but very different. And I can honestly say that I’ve got so much respect for her, and I do count her as a love-friend. I love her.”
In fact, Clarke has love for all of her crewmates, and hopes they can appear together on another season of Below Deck Adventure.
“I’ve come this far; I’ve got to keep going. So I do hope the viewers like me, and obviously they know everything about me. And it’s like they show me just going on and on about hair and makeup. But, you know, I go on about a lot of things, so I just hope people see me for who I really am. And I just want my staff to be happy at the end of the day. I wanted my guests to be happy and my guests can’t be happy if my staff are not happy. So no matter what drama was going on I had to bite my tongue and just make sure that my crew were OK, and I would love us all to be the A-Team in the next season.”
The last crew night out – oh, my God, there’s drama
What can we expect from the rest of Below Deck Adventure?
Faye Clarke says that Below Deck Adventure will only get more chaotic and dangerous from here on out.
“OK, so the excursions do get a little bit more dangerous,” she teases. “You’ve got these poor guys abseiling off of a cliff that we literally had to get a helicopter to. And then these other guests were paragliding off of one of the highest mountains in Europe, I think it is, and one of them actually fell and tumbled off of the mountain. Gave me a heart attack. I don’t know how she didn’t have a heart attack, but she got up and she did it again the last night.”
But the excursions won’t be the only source of tension. It looks like drama will ensue after the final crew night out.
“The last crew night out — oh, my God, there’s drama,” Clarke laughs. “I think people let loose on their feelings. There are fireworks, there’s scenery, there’s love, there’s hate, there’s cuddles. And there’s so much laughter when we get back to the boat.”
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