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Daisy Kelliher Interview: Below Deck Sailing Yacht


Daisy Kelliher from Below Deck Sailing Yacht has had quite a season and she’s sharing information about her experiences in this exclusive ScreenRant interview. She was the chief stew for interesting guests. She was also part of a crew made up of people with vastly different personalities and skillsets. These factors made for an epic adventure through Croatia. There was plenty of romantic drama, as well as complaints about the entertainment. Due to iconic charter guests (the Drewitt-Barlows had some fascinating stories) and hookups among the crew, no one ever got bored. The viewers enjoyed every twist and turn, including the lack of a cotton candy machine, which caused problems.

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Following an exciting time in her life, Daisy was gracious enough to sit down with ScreenRant and talk about her onboard experiences. She provided some juicy insights about her fellow cast members. Below Deck Sailing Yacht season 2 features a lot of charismatic crew members, from the very experienced Captain Glenn Shephard to the now-pregnant Dani Soares and beyond, so Daisy had plenty to weigh in on. She opened up in a way that the show’s fans will love.

Related: Below Deck: Dani Soares Announces Pregnancy With First Child

What’s been the most exciting thing about being part of the Below Deck crew for you?

Daisy Kelliher: I’ve been lucky enough to meet some celebrities, which is always really cool. That’s very fun. I mean, the most exciting thing? It’s hard to say because when you’re doing your job as a journalist or whatever, it’s just your job. It’s hard to get caught up in the excitement.

Lucky enough, I’ve never had any crazy things, like fires. Hitting the dock on the Parsifal, as you see in the trailer, was pretty hectic. But I’ve gotten lucky enough to meet some celebrities, and just getting to travel the world.

I’m turning up in countries like Sri Lanka and Thailand; I’ve gotten to sail through Indonesia. Things like that were pretty cool and pretty exciting. Or French Polynesia. To see such beautiful parts of the world, and on a boat, so we get to go so remote. I think that’s probably been the most exciting thing for me.

I could only imagine. I’d love to go to Indonesia.

Daisy Kelliher: Yeah, it was very cool. I’d done French Polynesia, and we turned up in Indonesia. To my captain, I was like, “I think this is more beautiful than French Polynesia.” He was like, “What?!” and I said, “Yeah, I think it might be more beautiful.” It was amazing.

The most recent guests were the Drewitt-Barlows, and kudos to you for how you conducted yourself. You were very professional. They were quite an unusual family with a unique backstory. What were your thoughts on the Drewitt-Barlows as guests?

Daisy Kelliher: Yeah, it was a tough trip. It was definitely, I think, our worst charter as a team. They definitely had us on our toes. 

As a family, they were great. I know they’re a bit controversial and a bit different, but the main thing is that there was a lot of love among the family, which I thought was very cool. For me, that’s the most important thing about a family – having love. It doesn’t matter what the kind of dynamics are. Everyone was super sweet. 

Barrie himself was a little bit tougher. You don’t get to see a lot in the show about what kind of obstacles we did have to face. When I’m asking the boys for help, it wasn’t just like, “Oh, I need help. We’re really busy.” You don’t get to get to see it, but we we’re swamped. The amount of drinks they were asking for – and they wouldn’t drink them in bottles, which for me is unusual. Most people I work for are like, “We’re drinking beer all day, we’ll just have it out of the bottle,” which might seem very super yacht-y, but you’re sailing and trying to do water sports and all these things. 

That’s why on sailboats, they’re a bit more relaxed, because we just don’t have the manpower. That’s why I was so desperate to get help, because we just couldn’t keep up with the demand. I kind of think that they were just more suited to a cruise ship. They have all the entertainment, all the manpower, and all the different types of foods. Yes, we are a superyacht, but we do one thing and we do it amazingly. Whereas, they wanted several different aspects, which was just too hard to keep up with. 

But it was a fun charter. They were really sweet, even though it didn’t come across. It was just that we struggled a bit as a team, and it was very challenging. But I think it put the pressure on us to do better. So, it was fine. We were cool with it.

You and Natasha de Bourg have emphasized that you’re both strong-willed and disagree sometimes, but work as a team when the going gets tough. Can you tell us more about that?

Daisy Kelliher: I didn’t really understand it before, but now that we are getting to reflect back on it as we’re getting to watch the show, she explained to me that she was just really defensive. We both were – I was convinced she was willing to work against me, and she was convinced I hated her. But we obviously both take our jobs very seriously, and that was our main priority. 

I think it’s a weird thing, being able to reflect back on our work now. But there was definitely a lack of communication, and more importantly, a lack of trust. I think we didn’t have confidence in each other. But we’re good friends, and I think that shows how much trust [you need]. People will talk about communication, but after coming out of this experience, I actually think trust is very important as well. You need to trust your team and say, “This is what we need to do,” or have confidence in them. 

It was definitely a learning curve for both of us. I think we both did a great job, but it definitely wasn’t easy. I definitely had a few sleepless nights over it.

One of the highlights talked about was the $15,000 tip. During the show, you and Natasha discussed if it was possibly due to her being unable to deliver. Do you still believe that? It’s perfectly fine if you want to skip this question because I know that you and Natasha are friends.

Daisy Kelliher: No, I often tell her that she made my life very difficult. I don’t mind answering it. I think it was a bit of both. I know for a fact, from a lot of what you don’t see, by Barrie’s comments about the kitchen standards or the galley sounds or whatever you want to talk about. 

During the show, or during the charter, it was definitely Natasha’s massive downfall. She will say it herself, though. At the end of the trip, she was like, “That was my worst trip.” It was evident this wasn’t something you could sugarcoat; she was quite clearly flustered. Barrie also tweeted, and he mentioned me and Dani, and that we saved the tip. 

I will say I think it was predominantly Natasha and I think she will agree. But I do think that collectively, we all had a hand to play in it. You can see mainly Natasha’s down points, but the whole team was flustered throughout that charter. Like I said, I was really frustrated. I went to bed that night crying. I think it was on the first night that I went to bed crying, because we just struggled so much. We were so overwhelmed. I was clashing with Natasha and Gary big time, and it was a disaster. 

So yes, I will still stand by that: it was mainly Natasha. But we weren’t far behind, so we were going to get a sh*t tip anyway.

You and Gary often butted heads, such as when you asked for help with the glasses. What was your reaction when he said he didn’t have time to assist?

Daisy Kelliher: Yeah, it was a little bit of noise. I don’t have a problem with Gary at all, but I did get frustrated. During the charter, I felt like he was pushing against me. And it was, again, a kind of gaslighting culture. I was like, “Am I crazy? Is this in my head?” 

And now getting to watch it back and reflect on it, it’s like, “No, you very evidently didn’t want to help me. Cleary, you had an issue with me or the interior or with teamwork.” I’m not quite sure where the issue lied, but in my opinion, it’s very obvious that there was a lack of teamwork there. I think he did have the time and the resources. I think it’s obvious by what we’ve been able to reflect on; I felt at the time that maybe he’s more used to a team where it is more departmentalized and you don’t help each other out. 

But I have never worked in a team like that, in nine years of yachting. It was a struggle, and it made a massive difference when they did help. And not just, as it looks like in the show, “Oh, we got more downtime.” That was not the case at all. It was just better. 

My girls get their breaks no matter what, because it’s important. It’s important for safety mainly, and it’s important for crew morale; it’s important for the level of service we’re able to provide. So, it didn’t matter how busy we were. I was always going to make sure that at some stage, they got some sort of shower or were able to eat dinner. Sometimes if I was able to get them a nap, I would do that. And I definitely always gave them their eight hours at night. 

But it was just the level of service and the lack of fluster. The guests can see it; they can pick up on when I’m agitated or when I’m running around. But when I’m able to talk to them, they love that. They love when you can flirt with them, and when you can laugh with them. They love to get to know you. And when that crew are helping downstairs, it looks like I’m [goofing off], but I’m not. The tip is working; the more time we get to spend with the guests, and they get to know us, the bigger our tip is. 

Yeah, I was a bit upset with Gary when he said that. But it also confirmed my suspicions, so I was also happy.

Vindication is very important. Considering how Alli, Gary, and Sydney hooked up, how did you feel about the whole skinny dipping incident and having to comfort Sydney about her feelings for Gary?

Daisy Kelliher: Yeah, I actually messaged Gary apologizing. I didn’t really care that drama was caused. Drama kind of distracts away from day-to-day life; it would be boring if all you did was work. So, I’m okay living vicariously through the other crew. But it got a little bit boring by the end, because it was like, “Okay, seriously, none of you are gonna end up together.” 

But I thought Gary was leading on Sydney. He kept denying us, but I thought he was just being a typical f*ckboi or whatever. Because I’ve had that treatment before, where they’re like, “Oh, that girl’s crazy. Like, she’s really into me.” And I’m like, “Well, no. You clearly were flirting with me.” So, I did believe Sydney, and I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Now I actually feel really guilty about it, because I actually think Sydney was quite inappropriate and stepping out of bounds, and I think Gary made it very clear. 

I feel a little bit bad for not believing Gary, and for assuming the worst. But I don’t know how I feel about the whole thing. It was quite draining, and it was hard to watch the whole thing.

You mentioned that eight to nine hours is very important for the crew members. How did the “throuple” (as one episode title called it) affect the girls and Gary due to the drinking and the late nights?

Daisy Kelliher: With the drinking and the late nights, that’s their own time. The problem with boats is that we give so much of our life to our owners and our captains, so some boat owners and some boat captains are like, “We own you, and everything you do, we have a say on.” 

I personally don’t run my department like that, and I don’t like to work with captains or owners who run their department like that. When it comes to time off, for me, you can do what you want. Apart from the COVID thing, because we have to stay in our bubble, your free time is your free time. I’m not going to intervene in that, as long as you’re able to perform to the level that we expect during work hours, then whenever. Have a ball. 

When it comes to having eight hours when we’re on duty, it’s up to me to give those eight hours. But what they choose to do in those eight hours is up to them. So, during charter, if they want to watch a movie, or in pre COVID times, if they want to go ashore for a run or if they want to take a nap? That’s up to them. But as long as I have given them 8 hours to rest from their work day, then I’m abiding by the law. 

With these nights off, it’s actually nothing to do with hours of rest. That’s up to them, and what they do with it. I don’t really care as long as the job gets done. I was really scared that night and the next morning; I was petrified that I was going to have to fire Alli. I didn’t think she was going to be able to perform well. Honestly, she pretty much was plastered the night before, and I was like, “Oh my God, I’m gonna have to fire her. I need her.” But she smashed it out. She did such a good job and got all her jobs done.

Yeah, she can do what she wants with her time off. As long as I give her that time off, then that’s up to her.

That’s very reasonable. You’ve mentioned serving as emotional support to Alli, who has also been kind to you. What has been the best part about working with Alli on the Parsifal III?

Daisy Kelliher: Yeah, it was just all of it. Everyone has their person on the boat, and Alli was my person. She was just a great stew; she was everything that I would want in a junior stew. And she’s everything I want in a friend. We have a laugh; we can bond. She wasn’t a bad stew, so I didn’t have to reprimand her. 

I just really liked her. I liked everybody, but me and Alli were each other’s person. We just find each other funny, and we were able to confide in each other. You’re always gonna find that person on a boat, and Alli was my person.

During the show, there was a pandemic scare. Even though it turned out that, fortunately, the guests tested negative, quarantine still had to happen. How were you feeling about the whole situation?

Daisy Kelliher: It was upsetting. I was most upset for the guests, for sure. That was not easy to deal with. I couldn’t imagine, because everybody’s faced so many disappointments this year. I couldn’t imagine flying out to Croatia and going through all the procedures, thinking you’re going on an opportunity of a lifetime on this amazing holiday during such a dark time. And then to be let down at the last minute? My heart was broken for them. 

Obviously, it was great that we had these procedures in place, and most importantly that everybody was okay and nobody actually had COVID. But it was really difficult to deal with. It was not fun, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. It was very uncomfortable and very awkward. It was not ideal at all, and I really didn’t like this.

Some people were worried that Jean-Luc was wearing too many hats during the season and not just avoiding flirting from guests. What is your opinion on his workload?

Daisy Kelliher: He’s very sweet. He’s very young. But his head’s up in the clouds, I’m sorry. I’m pro-Jean Luc, and I’m sure he’s doing great now. We all go through that when we’re a bit green, but Jean-Luc’s workload wasn’t too much. His head was very much with the fairies and the clouds. He wasn’t quite with us. 

Sorry, Jean-Luc. I love him. I’m sure he’s doing amazing now. I have a lot of time for Jean-Luc, but that was definitely his issue, not everyone else’s.

Your background includes hotel management, as well as working on yachts. How are those experiences different?

Daisy Kelliher: It’s just very different. It’s a different level of clientele, and the level of money in the industry is completely different. I haven’t worked in hotels in a long time, and I don’t miss them at all. You often get very bratty people, who are like, “I spent 300 euro for this hotel room,” and I’m like, “Try spending 30 grand for a room, and come back to me then.” Like, 300 euros on what? 

It’s just a different level of service, and it’s a different level of clients you’re dealing with. I don’t miss hotels at all. I loved it to start out with, but I’m definitely more accustomed to working on superyachts.

You’ve mentioned that you like crews that are full of team players, and who are always willing to help others. What are the ideal qualities of a team player?

Daisy Kelliher: I think a team player is just someone who’s willing to get stuck in all departments. I kind of referred back when Gary was like, “I didn’t sign up to wash dishes.” Well, I didn’t sign up to scrub the teak or helm the boat or do watches, or all these kinds of things. Often, the other team members will help bring in provisions, or will help me if I’m running late and say, “Will you take the laundry out of the washing machine and put it in the dryer?” 

Interdepartmental cooperation is, for me, huge. You’re not just in your department. In other corporations, you might get away with that. But there’s no way that in a superyacht, you’ll get away with that. I was surprised that was Gary’s mentality, because very few boats will ever work that way. You just can’t; it’s just too much work for one person or two people to do. 

It might be something as small as unloading the dishwasher or ordering parts. But for me, that’s what a team player is: being willing to help help your colleague out where it’s needed. Whether that be in a personal sense or professional standards, whatever it is, we’re a family. And to me, that’s what makes a team.

How important is it for the crew to be proactive about difficult situations?

Daisy Kelliher: It’s very important, I think. I really like [initiative]. That’s a big thing of mine, especially with my junior stews. I really hate to micromanage, and I hate to patronize. These girls are smart girls, and I don’t want to have to micromanage. I’d rather let them use their initiative, because they are smart, and they know what needs to be done. 

But when it comes to the guys, I don’t mind so much when they don’t use their initiative. But the backlash and the fighting back is worse. I don’t mind if I have to say, “Oh, guys, do you mind helping me?” That’s okay, but it’s easier when they use their initiative, because then I don’t come across as so aggressive. If I’m constantly everyday being like, “Guys, can you help me guys? Can you help me, guys?” eventually, it wears down. Anyone would wear down from that. 

That’s why initiative is quite important, so you don’t sound like this agony aunt.

As Chief Stew, what has been the strangest request you’ve ever received, either including this season or not? 

Daisy Kelliher: This is such a difficult question. I really can’t answer it. I honestly don’t know, because, for me, no request is too small. I’ve been asked to organize private charter planes from one island in Alaska to another. To me, that’s normal. It’s like, “Okay, they need to get from A to B,” whereas maybe to an average person, that might seem strange. I mean, it wasn’t easy. It was really remote places. 

I really need to start writing these down. I really don’t know. To me, nothing is out of the normal. You just have to be prepared for anything.

That’s a good way to treat life as well. One of the most dramatic moments from the show came from when you decided to Google a guest. Has technology changed how chief stews work, with smartphones and the Internet?

Daisy Kelliher: Yeah, massively. Big time. Even since I’ve been in the industry. When I joined the industry first, it was no phones. Phones were completely not allowed. Now that the industry is changing – for junior stews, they’re not allowed their phones – but my phone is my lifesaver. 

I am constantly on it, whether it be looking up napkin folds and cocktail recipes or contacting suppliers and contractors. In interviews, people ask me how do I deal with situations, and I’m like, “I’ll Google it, or I’ll contact this person.” My phone is massively important. 

I think in the last four years, that’s where it’s really become totally acceptable for a chief stew to have their phone on them at all times.

If someone were to Google, what top result or positive news story would you want to show up? 

Daisy Kelliher: I really don’t know. I mean, I would just hope it’s all positive. That’s a really hard question. I don’t know, you stumped me on that one.

Do you want to talk about how you and Natasha have become friends? 

Daisy Kelliher: The thing with me and Natasha is that we were always friends. With the whole show thing, I don’t really mind how people perceive me and the rest of the crew. I think maybe that’s why I don’t mind so much what is said in the media. Because going in there, what I know is the most important thing.

With me and Natasha, I don’t think we’ll ever be best friends. At the end of the day, we worked together for six weeks, but it was all professional. I never disliked her because of her personality or because she was mean, she was just annoying to work with. But she’d find me annoying. I’m sure we all find people in our workplaces annoying, and we still go out for drinks with them after work. That was the reality of mine and Natasha’s relationship. 

So, it was never awkward meeting up with each other. It was never a question of, “Are we going to be friends?” It was like, “Are you going to be in New York?” “Yeah, I’ll be in New York.” “Sweet. I’ll see you there.” And that was basically it.

Conflicts are always going to show up, and what’s important is how they’re handled in the aftermath.

Daisy Kelliher: Yeah, and I think that’s why me and Natasha are good at our jobs, at least in one aspect. We’re just trying to get our jobs done. 

I think there was a bit of personal issues – I think more on her side than mine. I think she very much thought that I was trying to almost sabotage her. But I think it’s a good reflection to show we’re just trying to do our job, and we need to just leave our personal preferences aside for another time.

You’ve traveled to so many places, mainly in the Pacific. What other places would you want to travel to as a Chief Stew?

Daisy Kelliher: I kind of thought I was done traveling, and then I almost got into a boat that went to the two Poles. 

It was a bit weird, because I’d literally been like, “I’ve seen the whole world, so I don’t need to travel anymore.” And then this boat comes to me and is like, “Yeah, we’re partying and going to the North Pole and the South Pole.” And I was like, “Wow. That’s amazing.” 

So, yeah. That could possibly be something I’ll strive to do on my next boat.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do for self-care or to unwind?

Daisy Kelliher: I like to describe myself to people as quite a well-rounded person. I don’t have a massive hobby and I’m not really good at a specific thing, but I’m pretty good at lots of things. 

I love to walk. That’s my big thing. I like to read, but if you said to me, “Let’s go for a hike. Let’s do yoga, or let’s go for a dive,” or pretty much anything. Even if it’s like, “Let’s go get our nails done. Let’s go to the cinema.” I’m up for anything. I’m a very social person, and I love to try new things. I love to keep busy. 

I also like to sit my bunk and read or watch a movie. But I really do love to try new things and be around people. I’m a well-rounded person, and I’ve been very lucky there. I can go horse riding, or I can play tennis. Pretty much anything there is, I’ve done it or I’m at least willing to try it. But I’m just not very good at one specific thing.

What would your ideal vacation spot be?

Daisy Kelliher: Oh, that’s really hard. Anywhere. I’m up for going anywhere with sun or snow. Anywhere that I can ski or anywhere that I can lie on a beach, I’m there. I don’t really have an ideal place. 

If you said to me anywhere, I’ll go.

Your family has a few Olympic athletes, including your grandfather. If you were going into the Olympics, what would you choose?

Daisy Kelliher: I like the Winter Olympics. I think they’re super fun to watch.

Can you give us any hints about season three? If there’s a season three in the works, do you think you might return as Chief Stew?

Daisy Kelliher: I have no idea. They tell me nothing. I don’t know if there’s a season 3, and I don’t know if they’re considering me. But I don’t know a thing. I would love to know, so if you hear of anything, let me know. But I don’t even know if they’re doing a season 3, so unfortunately I don’t know.

Who would your ideal charter guests be if you could pick people from the Parsifal based on personality or age group or temperament?

Daisy Kelliher: Gary’s pretty fun to party with, not gonna lie. Colin’s pretty hot, obviously, so mix that as well. For a fun guest, I think: Gary’s personality, Colin’s looks, and Nikki [Lynn]’s temperament from the first charter. She’s just so sweet. 

So, I’m gonna go with Colin’s looks, Gary’s partying, and Nikki’s temperament.

What is the most important responsibility that you have during a voyage? Especially one as dramatic as this season.

Daisy Kelliher: I think communication is so important. It starts with every person on the team, every department head, and also the captain. Everybody needs to make sure that they know what’s going on. That way, accidents are avoided and things are handled better. And things are able to be anticipated better. Communication, for me, would be the number one thing. 

I think leading by example, as well, is very important. People respect us. When they see the Chief Stew working, they want to help. They’ll be like, “Okay, she’s doing that. I’m gonna do that, too.” I think, for me, they’re both the most important things.

Next: Below Deck: Barrie Drags Daisy for Lying About His Family for Drama

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