Faye Clarke From Below Deck Adventure Offers A Sneak Peek At The New Series - Exclusive Interview

Bravo's "Below Deck" reality franchise, which follows yacht crews on charters all over the world, has expanded successfully through "Below Deck Mediterranean," "Below Deck Down Under," and "Below Deck Sailing Yacht." Now, the series is taking on an all-new set of challenges, with higher stakes than ever for both the crew and the guests on charter. 

"Below Deck Adventure" follows the Mercury and its crew as they sail the luxury yacht around the fjords of Norway. Their charters include high-risk activities, like paragliding and abseiling, and the cold climate makes for a heightened sense of danger.

Thankfully, fans can get an idea of what the show's 1st season has in store. The Mercury's chief stew, Faye Clarke, spoke with The List ahead of the show's premiere, teasing plenty of drama in the new series. Clarke let us in on her experiences dealing with tricky social dynamics on board, frigid temperatures with adrenaline-seeking guests, and the pressure to create a five-star yachting experience. 

The chief stew told The List that her top priority is always entertaining the guests and sending them home with unforgettable memories. But as usual, this season of "Below Deck" wasn't all smooth sailing.

There are some wild themed parties this season

What does it feel like joining a new branch in a super-popular franchise? "Below Deck" is really, really successful. Is it intimidating for you?

I've lived my life trying to tick off so many things on my bucket list, so to be on TV and be part of Bravo and entertain — and they're watching what I do on a daily basis and getting to know my personality and who I am — it is exciting. I was very doubtful at the beginning, and I was like, "Do I really want to do this?" But I thought if I can entertain, if I can do my job and Bravo [can] use me, then why not?

In the teaser, you say something like, "All I care about is being a great f-ing chief stew," which is very relatable for other chief stews I've seen. Looking back, do you feel like you accomplished that, or did you end up caring more about other areas of the job or socializing? 

I did the absolute best I could. I don't have any regrets [such as], "I should have done this. I should have done that." It was full-on. There was so much demand, not just from my guests but from my crew and from my captain. I prepared myself before because I knew it was going to be a big season and a challenging season, so I mentally prepared myself. I was like, "It doesn't matter about sleep. It doesn't matter about this. It doesn't matter about that." The only thing I wanted to do is make sure my guests remembered their vacation and remembered their crew, and I think I succeeded in that. 

I'm not perfect. None of us were, but I can honestly say I put everything I had into that, especially with the themes of the parties, because you have to have a different theme every night, and [you have] to get all the props together and [make] sure that people had a great time. The weather was cold. It wasn't perfect, but I gave it my best shot.

I was going to ask about the costumes and events that you put on for the guests. Did you have a favorite theme[d] party or an event you planned for the guests?

The toga party went really well. We ordered some bed sheets and some ivy for the head, and it just so happened that the guests we had at that point were really into fancy dress, and they made a bed sheet look good. So when it all came together, I was like, "Wow. This is a pretty good-looking party."

In part of the teaser, you're also wearing a traditional milkmaid outfit. What was that about?

The one where in the teaser I'm like, "I look like a big fat doll" — oh my god, that outfit. I was pulling stuff from everywhere, trying to be theatrical, trying to be a bit different, and I just had to accept it. I just had to accept however I looked and keep going.

The chief stew has major respect for her captain

How did your skills from working in the corporate world translate into your career as a yachtie?

I'm a pretty diverse person, so even though I am from a corporate world, I do a lot of fancy dress in my personal life. I do a lot of camping. I do a lot of traveling. And the combination of all of that contributed to "Below Deck Adventure." 

But the biggest skill that I brought to that season was keeping my patience and not exploding, because if I exploded, say Ariana did or Katie did, or Jess did, it would've all gone to pot. So I had to take a lot on the chin, bite my tongue, and get through it. That's [why] I say I have thicker skin than a rhino, because I have to be bulletproof almost and keep my mind on the end result, which is my guests. So keeping my patience and keeping my professionalism is the biggest thing that I picked up from my corporate career.

You have a leadership role as the chief stew. How would you describe other leadership attitudes on the boat, especially Captain Kerry's leadership style? Did they differ?

Captain Kerry [and I] are quite similar in a way because he has a laugh and a joke. He's got a personality, so he can say something to me, a bit of banter, and I'm not the type that's going to go, "I don't think that's professional." I'm not like that. I like a bit of banter. 

Also, he did health and safety training as soon as we got on the boat. If I went to him with anything, I know he would think it through and then act accordingly. He interacted with the guests when needed ... If there [were] all female guests and he needed to go out there in his uniform and all that, he did it. So he's really diverse as well. And he's traveled a lot; he's from Australia. He's professional, but he's also quite ... fun. So he was the perfect captain to me.

So you would do another charter?

If it was Kerry, yeah. God, yeah.

She's friends with a Real Housewives star

In the teaser, there's a "Real Housewives" cameo. Heather Gay from "Salt Lake City" went on her own charter. What can you tell us about her time on board? Were you a franchise fan? Was she super funny like she is on TV?

She was so natural. She said what she thought. She was so lovely. Her whole charter and the guests and her friends were perfect. It happens that I'm flying out to be with her and her friends in three days' time. They've invited me out to stay with them and watch the premiere together. She's a lovely woman, and her friends were lovely, and I think that says a lot about somebody, if they're all very approachable and fun and not rude. I'm really excited about next week to go see her.

So you're going to Utah?

I am. I'm going to Salt Lake City.

Have you ever been anywhere near there before?

No. I don't know anything about it. That's one of the other attractions to go, because I've been so many places in the world, but I've never been there, so that's something I can tick off for sure. Apparently, it's snowing there at the moment.

Had you heard of Heather before?

I'm going to be honest with you. I'm a worldly girl. I'm always out doing stuff. I'm not the kind of girl that can sit still and watch reality shows or series and things. I've always been the same. My family watch everything; I don't. It was quite nice not knowing too much about her so I could be myself. I could be natural. Sometimes, if you know someone's super famous, as Heather is, it can make you nervous and say things and do things you wouldn't usually do. So no. I'm happy with the way it all panned out with her charter.

Would you watch "Below Deck"? Are you going to watch yourself on this season?

What a great question. There's been times when I'm like, "I'm not going to watch it. I'm not," because then I can carry on with my life and not care. I know my family and friends know who I am. They know I put 100% into everything I do. I don't know if that's going to come across in the show, but all I really, really care about is that the viewers are entertained. I want them to be on the edge of their seats. I want them to laugh. I want them to cringe. I want any reaction possible. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. I was just me, so let's see. Can't turn the clock back now.

She's handled drama on other charters

As a chief stew, what is the messiest interpersonal situation you've had to square away, if it didn't happen on the season, or if it did?

What's the most uncomfortable situation I've been in with other crew members? There's been two. I had a really, really angry engineer. I was a cook at the time, so I used to cook for all the crew. And no matter what I cooked, he was never happy with it. He would tell me that I've put on weight. He would tell me that I've let myself go. He would be super rude when all I ever wanted to do was make sure the crew was nicely fed, and I would like it to be like a family. It upset me that I'd put up with him for so long, but you have to deal with so many different characters, and it does make you stronger. I did actually stand up to him in the end. Angry engineers, they've got quite a reputation. 

The deckies, they're always trying to hook up with stews or whatever. I had a relationship with a deckie for about a year, and he was horrible to me in the end. Horrible — almost bullied me. My captain and my owner actually saw it, and they transferred me to a different country. They're like, "We're assigning you to America. You're going to work out on the yachts in Fort Lauderdale. We're getting you out of this situation." And I never looked back. Never looked back.

Did you get along with the chef on this charter? Did you compare any notes?

Jess and I are actually the same age. We are very similar. She's a very strong, independent woman. She's been working her way, also winging her way around the world. I'm British [and the] same age as her. I've been doing pretty much the same. She's very spiritual. I'm quite spiritual, but in completely different ways. Jess will burn lavender. She'll hold rocks. She'll speak to a healer, for example. I'll go look at stars and have a little prayer kind of thing, say, "Look after me" or "Thank you for blah, blah, blah." And then I crack on.

There were some heated moments with me and Jess. She would say, "You girls need to get your s*** together." And I was like, "Well, look at the mess in here. You need to get your s*** together," which I'm sure you've seen in the teaser. ... When she's under pressure, she's going to be quite fiery, and going back to what I said earlier, I can't react; I need to get the food out and do my job. I'm not there to have an argument in the galley. So towards the end, that was building up and building up, and then boom. I just lost it one day, and I was like, "No." 

We're not friends at this moment in time. We are colleagues, and that's not how we talk to people. No matter what pressure you're under, you don't talk to people like that. So that's when I hit back, but we've got a lot of respect for each other. We went on holiday together afterwards, and I've got a lot of respect for Jess.

Safety was an issue this season

I'm sure it's incredibly stressful being on the boat. How do you manage the pressure to perform at that five-star level over the course of an eight-week season? Were there rising tensions?

The guests that we had were so fun and so into the crew. They wanted to know about us. They wanted conversations with us. They were all about adventure, and that's why they were there. They weren't there for that corporate silver service, white-glove service. They were there for adventure. They were there to be jumping off cliffs and jumping into ice-cold water. They were there to drink all day. That was lucky for me, because we had so much going on that maybe some things weren't as five-star as my previous history in this industry, but I think everybody had a good time. As long as everybody's happy and everyone's having a good time, everyone's fed, everyone's watered, then you just have to keep winging it.

It seems like there were a lot of safety issues coming into play as well, yachting in Norway. Had you ever dealt with anything on that level before?

Although I'm out there and I'm bubbly, I'm a very caring person. I'm like a mom to everybody, and I panic and I worry. That was a lot of pressure for me because the boys would be like, "Let's just do this." And I'm like, "Yeah, but if somebody breaks their ankle ..." We're in the middle of nowhere. It's going to ruin everything. And I don't know how to call an ambulance in Norway, things like that. 

So a lot of things went through my brain, and I was panicking quite a lot, and Louis would say, "Just relax." And I'm like, "Well, this is freezing-cold water. People are paragliding off of cliffs or abseiling over cliffs." They are going through caves and stuff. The floor is uneven. We don't know where we are. The drama that you'll see is not exaggerated. With the excursions, it really isn't.

Even just being on the boat, it looked like there were some mishaps that seemed pretty scary.

Oh, yeah. I don't think Kerry had ever navigated a boat around Norway before, so a lot of pressure was on him. He did really well, but there were some times where the weather wasn't right for us to leave. So that meant I had to entertain the guests on a boat for 17 hours, because don't forget, the sun doesn't go down in Norway [in summer], so people were waking up and carrying on and carrying on. They [weren't] going to bed because it was daylight all the time. 

Before I knew it, I've done a 17-hour shift, and these guys have been drinking for 17 hours. So I had to pour all different kind of entertainment out if the weather was bad, if the boat couldn't move, if the jacuzzi didn't work. There was a lot of demand for the interior crew.

Faye Clarke has one wish for fans watching the show

How do you manage exhaustion levels when you're working a 17-hour day and you're sleeping in bunk bed situations? Is there any way to manage the exhaustion over the three-day cycle? Did you guys party in between to let off steam?

Yeah, we have to party in between the charters and go out and try and be normal and socialize in a restaurant or a bar. That was quite challenging for me because usually when you're working so hard, you want to chill. You want a nice shower, wash your hair, tidy your bedroom. But because the season was rushed and we had to fit everything in, we did need to socialize together because usually the workload was so much [that] we didn't actually get time to have a drink or chat. The biggest challenge was not being able to wash my hair [and] have a nice shower when I needed to. I had to keep going, and I knew that. I knew that was on the cards.

I knew that the girls were exhausted as well, so when everyone was exhausted and the pressure was on, we would usually finish the sentence with, "Can you do that for me? But I love you." It was how you can ask for things to be done, keep going, keep going, and then finish it with a positive. "I know you're struggling, but let's keep going. I love you. Let's do this." Because there was no room for arguing. There was no room, no time for moaning. It was a full-on, full-on season. 

Is there anything else fans can look forward to or expect from the season premiere? Are you nervous about the premiere at all?

I am so nervous about how it goes, but I have to be optimistic. Like I said before, I hope it entertains the viewers, and I'm sure it will. This is something different. This is something they have never seen with "Below Deck" before — the excursions, the adventure. We had a photo shoot, a fashion photo shoot in a cave. Who does that? Paragliding off of a cliff. We nearly lost one guest over the side of a cliff because the person she was paragliding with just didn't have her head on that day, and I was sitting there thinking, "Oh my god. Oh my god." 

Even [on] the horse riding excursion, one of the guests had a fit and was like, "I can't do this. I can't do this." So we had to go rescue her, try and get her back by foot to where we had to be. That's just horse riding, let alone all the other excursions we did.

It sounds like it's not for the faint of heart to be on deck.

It's not.

But I'm sure the viewers will be riveted the whole time.

I hope everybody finds the crew entertaining. I hope they love what they see about Norway, and I hope that they will want a 2nd season from us. We are the dream team.

So you would go back with the same crew [and] do it all over again?

Yeah. I'm my own worst enemy, but yeah.

"Below Deck Adventure" premieres November 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.