Mzi 'Zee' Dempers Previews Below Deck Mediterranean Season 7 - Exclusive Interview

Thanks to his friendly demeanor, a hard-working attitude, and some flirtatious friendships on board, Mzi "Zee" Dempers quickly became a fan favorite on "Below Deck Mediterranean" Season 6. Now, the popular reality show is back for its seventh season, and Mzi, or "Zee" as he's often known, is back for another charter season with Captain Sandy. However, a lot has changed since viewers last caught up with the cute deckhand.

Season 7 sees the crew working on "Home," a 163-foot motor yacht featuring an immaculate and extremely modern interior. Led by Captain Sandy, Zee joins an almost entirely new gang as they welcome guests to Malta, one of the world's most historic archipelagos. It's not long before drama finds the "Below Deck Mediterranean" crew.

The List sat down with Mzi "Zee" Dempers to find out about "Below Deck Mediterranean" Season 7, if he still talks to Lexi Wilson, and the truth behind any of those romance rumors about "Below Deck Sailing Yacht" star Georgia Grobler.

Returning to Below Deck Mediterranean

How does it feel to be the only cast member to return so far this season?

As much as it is a privilege, it's also pressurizing, but mostly an absolute privilege. It's amazing that I could be asked to come back and try and do better than what I had done before, [along with being] given that opportunity to do that on an international scale. [It's] exciting and yeah, no words, really.

In the first episode of Season 7, Captain Sandy talks about how she saw something in you last season and wanted to keep mentoring you. What's it like working with her again?

Based on last season, Captain Sandy was an incredible mentor along with Malia [White]. In terms of wanting to grow in the yachting industry, she really does put you forward, applying pressure where pressure needs to be applied ... Working with Captain Sandy, honestly, is super incredible because she pushes you in places that you don't know that you need to be pushed. When you think you're doing enough, you could be doing more. Throughout [this] season and throughout last season too, that's something that she has done with me. She makes me want to do better myself [and] better for the team.

Did you have any idea you were going to be asked back after season 6?

No, not at all. I didn't think I'd be asked to come back. Going in [to season 6] green, I genuinely was super surprised ... I was like, "Okay, wow, this is happening now."

Get ready to meet Storm Smith

Can you tell us anything about your journey in Season 7?

[I have] Storm [Smith] on board as a friend, and I know Storm's a lot more experienced than me. As good as it was having Malia — because she's an absolute powerhouse — having somebody who [I've] known [my] whole life on board with me makes a big difference too. That was super special. The progress throughout the season has been fairly consistent. There's still miles to go, but it was a very cool journey, and adapting to the different dynamic ... to a completely different scenario with the crew [with] lots of different personalities ... that was one of the big things too.

How did you end up on board with your friend Storm Smith?

Literally by chance. Myself and Storm, when we arrived at the airport, we were both like, "Oh, so you're going to Malta?" And he's like, "Yeah, I'm also going to Malta." I'm like, "Okay, well f***." Malta's not a popular destination, so we're going to the same thing here.

That's amazing. What a coincidence.

Really, right until the end, we didn't know what was happening with each other ... First, we saw each other at our visa appointments. South Africa, Italy, and Malta do everything through the same embassy. ... and then at the airport, it was like, "Okay, we're going on the same journey here." It really was special. To have somebody who you've known throughout your whole life does make a difference.

You've become a fan favorite in the "Below Deck" universe. Who are you still close to?

Our WhatsApp group from last season is still very alive; we still all chat on that WhatsApp group all the time. Myself and Courts [Courtney Veale] have remained very close. She came to visit me here in South Africa and we still are super close and always will be. Katie [Flood] was here too, but I haven't had a chance to actually see anybody else in real life. We still are all close.

Friendly with Georgia but swerving Lexi

Have you had any contact with Lexi Wilson?

Never, ever.

And is that how it's going to stay?

Yes. It's going to be one of those "Never Have I Ever" games. Never have I ever spoken to Lexi. I'll not be drinking. Thank you. She actually blocked us all on social media, so there's no way to contact her.

You mentioned Courtney [Veale]. You had quite a flirty friendship last season. How did it feel watching that back?

It's always interesting to see one's drunken self in the flesh. I'm the type of person who really can't even listen to a voice note after I've sent it. It's been funny to see how it played out, but also a laugh and sweet. ... It's been a really good friendship from that, which is amazing.

It's quite amazing that you could all stay friends after the season. That's always nice to hear as a viewer.

100%. Our season last year [Season 6], it was relatively wholesome, besides the one who should not be spoken about. It was really wholesome, and we had an amazing team dynamic.

I read that you're close to Georgia Grobler from "Below Deck Sailing Yacht." Are you still friends?

Yeah. Myself and Georgia, we still ... we hung out this year. We've hung out a couple times. We're still friends.

Is there anyone else from any of the other "Below Deck" spin-offs that you are close to or you've met through this whole process?

There's been a couple of people that have reached out through Instagram and things like that, but I've never really met anybody else in person. It's been my crew and Georgia.

Maybe once the pandemic calms down, you can all meet up.

Yeah, once we can travel and get to intertwine with each other and actually be in the States, then a lot of us will tend to cross paths.

Comparing the Below Deck captains

You have a really good working relationship with Captain Sandy. Which of the other "Below Deck" captains would you like to work with?

I adore Captain Sandy's management style. It's great, and it works really well. Captain Lee [from "Below Deck"] seems a bit harsher than Captain Sandy, more cutthroat. A lot of the time, I thrive under pressure ... but at the same time, I love a chill environment. Captain Glenn [from "Below Deck Sailing Yacht"] seems quite laid back ... Coming from a sailing background, sailing generally is a lot more relaxed than what a superyacht would be. I could work with any of the captains. They all seem to bring something different to the table and something different to learn from ... I don't know about myself on a sailing boat. As much as I love to sleep and rock to sleep like a baby ... I haven't pictured myself on a sailing boat yet.

What else have you been up to when you're not filming "Below Deck Mediterranean"?

At the end of last season, I came back home for a couple of months  to see family before heading on out again, but then I struggled to get a visa to get overseas. "Below Deck" was basically my calling, getting back to head overseas. At the end of last season, I went to go get a new visa and then came back home and lo and behold, my passport was stolen the day I arrived back at home. I've been back at home at the moment, but I've been instructing courses for anybody who wants to get into the yachting industry. I've been doing deckhand courses, powerboat courses, and jet ski courses for students, which has been really cool. [I'm] learning a lot at the same time, and now, gearing up to head back overseas.

Could it be Captain Zee one day?

Do you have any future goals? Are you looking to be a captain or do you have something else in mind?

Being 100% qualified to be a bosun is something that's in the pipeline. I have a couple of projects back at home that I'm trying to work on. I don't want to spill anything until they actually get going, but yeah, there's a couple of things that I've been working on whilst I've been back at home too, which is exciting.

Could you see yourself as a captain one day?

Baby steps in the meantime. I try to picture things or put things in a five year plan, and within five years, I don't know if I'll be qualified to be a captain. I focus on what is right in these five years — maybe chief officer, maybe second officer. I don't know if I'll be qualified enough in terms of the qualifications that I need to be a captain on an 80 meter. Possibly, in two years time, I could captain a 30 meter, potentially, but for the size that the show deals with, I'm not too sure yet.

Maybe one day.

Yeah, maybe one day. It's definitely there, but we just have to sort of see where the ocean takes us.

Is there anything else you want viewers to know about the new season?

I feel like last season was fairly wholesome and this season will be a little bit spicier, most certainly. A little bit spicier, a lot of different personalities, which added to the joy of the season — very funny, very dramatic, and all around a lot of fun at the end of it.

We've got a lot to look forward to.

Yeah, most certainly. A lot to look forward to.

"Below Deck Mediterranean" premieres on Monday, July 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. New episodes are available for streaming one week early on Peacock.

This interview has been edited for clarity.