A year after Kiwi Ross Inia rocked the boat on Below Deck, another Kiwi comes down the gangplank. Dominic Corry interviews Aesha Scott about her stint on the spinoff Below Deck Mediterranean.
The Below Deck reality franchise – which hilariously chronicles the lives of workers on luxury superyachts that cater to rich and demanding clients – got a kick up the backside when New Zealander Ross Inia joined the deck crew last season and demonstrated how amusing it was to see a no-bullshit Kiwi attitude confront American reality show craziness.
And now there’s a Kiwi in the new season of sister show Below Deck Mediterranean, and she’s even more hard case than Ross. In fact, this season’s Kiwi, Aesha Scott, might be the living embodiment of the term ‘hard case’. Even more so than with Ross, Aesha’s no-nonsense Kiwi-ness stands in direct contrast to the ridiculous shit this show hurls up. And it’s fantastic.
Most of the the three-person interior and four-person deck crew revolve out season-to-season, and Aesha (pronounced with two syllables: Ay-Sha) is Below Deck Med‘s new second stew, serving on the interior crew under returning Chief Stew Hannah Ferrier, an Aussie who can inject the supposedly affectionate term ‘Honey’ with an impressive amount of venom.
Across a series three-day charters, the interior crew cater to the charter guests’ every whim. They serve food and drinks, and do all the interior cleaning and laundry. Trust me, this somehow all makes for extremely captivating television. Even more so with Aesha on board. Not only is she actually good at her job (a genuine rarity on this show), she’s also an absolute crack-up, and her very Kiwi sense of humour constantly flummoxes her crew mates.
In the second episode, after casually referencing a vodka-soaked tampon, Aesha has to reassure everyone that these kinds of extreme jokes are typical in New Zealand, and not indicative of her actual lifestyle.
“I have a really dirty mind, but I am not promiscuous at all,” she says at one point. “Like, I would so much rather watch Gilmore Girls than suck a dick.” It’s probably obvious by now, but Aesha is from Tauranga, and she’s repping her region, and New Zealand as a whole, extremely well in Below Deck Med.
In the episodes that I’ve seen, every time she says something awesome I feel the urge to stand up, salute the television and start singing the national anthem.
In anticipation of the New Zealand premiere of her season of Below Deck Mediterranean, I recently got the chance to speak to Aesha in the States. The conversation took place between the American airing of the first and second episodes of her season.
Dominic Corry: So far I’ve only seen one episode of your season, but you’re representing hard.
Aesha Scott: Oh thank you! It’s so weird hearing our accent on the TV, aye? Just feels so out of place, but nice.
It feels like there’s something unique about the way New Zealanders react to these kinds of reality show situations.
I sooooo agree. We just look at everyone and we’re like “What the fuck are you guys up to?”
Americans just seem to love our accent and get you to repeat everything that you’ve said. So I think it’s quite refreshing for them to see us on there as well. But it’s about time, because Kiwis make up half that industry, it’s like a rite of passage for us now.
So how did your casting come about?
I ended up coming down this road through a contact that I’d made in the industry, it all kind of just went from there. I’ve been really wanting to show everyone what yachting actually is, because you go home and you can’t explain it to people. And no one ever knows what the fuck you’re talking about.
So it’s been so cool just to show everyone what I actually do, and show everyone that I’m good at my job and hopefully it will open doors to other things in the future.
So is Below Deck quite a known thing amongst people who do what you do?
Oh yeah, everyone in yachting knows about Below Deck. It’s very talked about. It’s becoming a lot more talked about in New Zealand now as well I think thanks to Ross.
On every season of this show, there’s always a huge amount of hooking up between cast members. Is that something they ask you about in the casting process?
Like whether we wanna hook up with anyone? Nah. They didn’t ask me that. Like, they know what your relationship status is, so I don’t know if they think about that. But they never ask you “If you came on, would you be willing do to this or willing to do that?” It’s just purely up to us.
And I think in yachting, you’ve got a bunch of young people who usually are single because it’s such a hard industry to have a relationship in, you’re sticking us all on a yacht, and you’re making us all tired and we’ve got nowhere else to be, so I think it’s kind of inevitable that some romances flare up.
But they definitely don’t try and set that up.
So you didn’t feel any expectation or pressure to pursue a romance on board?
No, absolutely not. They can’t try to tell us to do anything or hint. I never felt any pressure at all.
Had you watched Below Deck prior to this?
I actually didn’t, no. I think everyone in yachting watched Below Deck before they went on, but I hadn’t even seen one episode. The day before I joined the boat I quickly watched a couple of YouTube clips to see what I was actually gonna be doing.
But I’m so glad I didn’t watch it going into it, because obviously this season we had some returning cast and because I hadn’t seen it I had no preconceptions of what these people were like or anything so I got to make first impressions of people based on what I thought and felt at the time.
How did your season on Below Deck Med compare to a regular superyacht season?
You know what, it actually was almost exactly the same because [although] we’ve got people filming us, we aren’t allowed to interact with them, we’re just solely there to do our jobs.
You know, everyone’s like “Oh they must have all these breaks” and rah-rah-rah, but they really do book back-to-back charters so it’s just as exhausting as a normal season. But it’s probably just like, two weeks shorter than a normal season.
How often do you do the confessional interviews they use to narrate the show?
They kind of just dot them through as we go, it’s not every day. We gotta do our job.
So the filming doesn’t have an impact on your ability to work?
No, honestly, it barely affected it all. The people filming it are so professional and so amazing. They really do manage to film everything without you kind of realising that they’re even there. Everyone’s just so professional and amazing you just get on with it and forget you’re even being filmed.
Did you feel like the presence of the cameras made drama flare up more easily?
No, I don’t think so because I’ve been in yachting for a long time, and this industry in general is just so fucking dramatic. As I said, when you’ve got all these people who are exhausted, working every single day, who can’t get away from each other, there’s just so much drama – this person slept with that person, and that person slept with this person. There’s always all these little fights and things going on behind the scenes, so it kind of just felt normal for me.
That’s why I think this show is so good – there’s always some kind of drama on a boat.
Exactly! Every single boat that I’ve worked on, I’ve been like “Man, someone needs to be filming this shit” because it’s like high school all over again except it’s with all these people and you’re living on a yacht. It really is the most genius idea for reality TV. Nothing has to be created or prodded along.
In the time between filming and airing, were you ever worried about how you might come across?
Nah. People ask me this all the time, and I think I’m the best person for this kind of thing because I’m just so happy and confident with who I am and I’ve got all these people in my life who love me so much and know what kind of person I am so I feel like however they portray me on this show, I don’t really care, because I’ve already got everything I need.
What was it like watching the first episode go to air?
It was so exciting! It was so cool to see everything we’ve been doing finally coming to fruition, because there is such a long wait between filming and the first episode and I don’t know, it was kind of like a stress relief, the wait’s finally over!
It was quite buzzy, having all my friends messaging “We’ve seen you on TV!”.
Did the New Zealand factor play into your casting do you think? Or was it inconsequential?
I actually have no idea what they base the casting on. But I do think being that from New Zealand is quite an attractive thing for them, because as I said, I think people really quite like Kiwis.
And people really loved Ross on the other season being a Kiwi. So I dunno. I think we’re just a good kind of culture to have in the mix.
What can you tease for the rest of the season?
You are just gonna see like absolute Aesha at her finest. Everyone at home knows me just as like this wild crazy goofy funny girl and I think you’re just gonna see me at my absolute finest, being very silly.
Aesha’s season of Below Deck Mediterranean premieres on Bravo New Zealand on June 27th.