The Truth About Below Deck Med's Malia White

Malia White made history as the first female bosun on the Below Deck franchise. She hadn't worked on yachts prior to boarding the Sirocco as a deckhand for season 2 of Below Deck Mediterraneanbut she used the time since then to work her way up in the intensely competitive industry. As noted by Vulture, it was leading lady Captain Sandy Yawn who inspired White to follow her dreams. And now, as she returns to the Below Deck fold aboard season 5's Wellington, the bosun feels like she's exactly where she should be.

"I've always been drawn to work on the water, and I think after that first season, I was like, 'Okay, this is a career change and I'm just going to go for it.' I haven't looked back since," White reasoned. Her comeback sparked major discussions within the franchise's fandom, which is par for the course for any repeat star on the popular show.

Malia White used her time between Below Deck Med seasons wisely

White was eager to return to Below Deck Med for two main reasons; to work under Captain Sandy again, and to show off everything she's learned in the intervening years. As she proudly explained to Vulture, "Ever since [season two], I've continued my career. I've gotten my 200-ton captain's license, and I've been an engineer. I've constantly stayed on yachts as deckhand and then worked my way up to bosun. Then I also got my PADI [Professional Association of Diving Instructors] scuba instructor certificate, so I can teach scuba diving." It's been a long road, but White is passionate about a career on the water.

She's already proven her chops as a a rescue diver, too, jumping into the ocean to assist a guest in difficulty, as reported by Bravo. Her drama with Chef Adam Glick, with whom she had a brief and rocky relationship on the show previously, is far behind her, too. White is now happily settled down with Chef Tom Checketts, who is also the new chef on Below Deck: Med (via Decider).

Female solidarity is what it's all about for Malia White

Although she's looking to put past issues behind her, White came under fire for making a lengthy pronouncement on Instagram after castmate Hannah Ferrier was caught with Valium on the boat. In a since-deleted Instagram post, White defended her actions from an episode of the show during which it was implied she told on Ferrier. "Reporting any incident especially one we witness is all of our job. Yachting is my career — I'm not here to worry about plot twists & TV drama — I'm here to do my job and learn how to become a Captain," she argued (via Decider).

According to Monsters and Critics, certain fans believe White is in cahoots with Captain Sandy to get Ferrier kicked off the yacht. White was adamant things are great between the three women, however, reassuring Vulture she was glad to see them both in leadership positions. "In a way, I felt even more confident, because I know Hannah, I know captain Sandy, so I expected the level of support I would get. I was very excited to have us three come together and show people that women can have these leadership roles and they can do it together," White admitted.

Malia White is still in touch with her ex, Wes Walton

Fans who watched White on season 2 of Below Deck Med will remember that she ended up falling for bosun Wes Walton. The pair dated for a while after the charter season ended, but the relationship ultimately did not work out.

While the romance wasn't meant to be, at least White got a good friendship out of it. She told Bravo's The Daily Dish that she and Walton still keep in touch. "He has had some amazing yachting experiences recently," she said. "He's been traveling all over the world. We're still good friends. He keeps me updated with his travels, and I tell him about mine."

Walton even gets along with White's current boyfriend, Tom Checketts. "Him and my boyfriend actually hung out in New Zealand, but I wasn't there, which is funny," she said. "Small world, yachting is."

Malia White is speaking out against misogyny in the industry

White may have broken ground as the Below Deck franchise's first female bosun, but the journey hasn't always been an easy one for her. "Unfortunately, [misogyny] is still around in the industry — well, I think everywhere," she told Refinery29.

White added that sexism is especially widespread on yachts as "everyone comes from such different backgrounds, culturally, so there's such a huge learning curve on boats anyways. And then you mix up genders and different gender roles and leadership roles and it gets even more interesting."

The impact she's made as Below Deck's first female bosun isn't lost on her, and she hopes that it's part of a bigger change. "I think it's something that people are ready to see and I think that it's a good representation of where the industry is going because a lot more females are starting to step up everywhere, hopefully," she said.