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Bravo’s ‘Below Deck’ Kate Chastain is the Queen of Competency Porn

By Kate Hudson | Celebrity | January 14, 2020 |

By Kate Hudson | Celebrity | January 14, 2020 |


Kate-Chastain-Below-Deck.png

I’ve recently begun watching Below Deck, and it is my new obsession. If you’re not familiar with the show, its premise is simple — you follow around the crew of a luxury mega yacht during their charter season, see the ridiculous demands their super-rich clients make and generally watch them do their jobs well, with a few notable exceptions. The heart and soul of this show is by far my favorite Bravolebrity, Kate Chastain, Chief Stew, and star of this competency porn extravaganza.

via GIPHY

I love Kate, and I’m not just saying that because of name solidarity (although that’s there, too.) This woman is one of the most competent, good-at-her-job people I have ever seen on a reality show. Unlike the staple of Bravo, the Housewives franchise, where cast will haphazardly launch microwaves, swimwear lines, ready-to-wear fashion brands among other things, and then bungle and drop these ventures as easily as they began them, Kate has a singular focus when she’s on the clock of doing her job, and doing it so well no one can question it unless they’re an asshole yacht chef. (There is always an asshole yacht chef, by the way.) I find it relaxing to watch her at work because you know it is a rare day that Kate is off her game, and it’s soothing to see her have everything covered and not break a sweat in the process.

As Chief Stewardess on the yacht, it’s Kate’s job to make sure that the guests are having the time of their lives, at all times. It is rare to see Kate walking around while guests are on deck without a bottle of wine in hand, and it’s a joy to watch her pull off their ridiculous demands, without a hitch. She runs her department ruthlessly, but efficiently and I love her — you never see her making lists and not working, like season 1 Chief Stew, Adrienne. Furthermore, Kate’s always there to monitor whether the guests are getting inappropriate with the junior Stews, and if it comes to that point, she’s got their backs. It’s clear Kate doesn’t ask anyone on her team to do anything that Kate wouldn’t do herself, and Kate trains her staff to make sure that they are up to her standards. I love it.

Kate does not have time for anyone else’s shit when they’re on charter (that is to say, when guests are on board) and it drives the more insecure members of the yacht crew crazy. She doesn’t raise her voice. She doesn’t fight people. When she’s on the yacht, she has a singular focus to work, and do her job superbly—nothing else matters. You’re either there to work, or you’re in her way. I don’t watch sports, but I imagine the joy I get out of watching Kate do her job is probably the same joy others have watching an elite athlete at the top of their game blow everyone else around them out of the water with their skills. It’s a pure delight to watch someone do something so well that it appears effortless.

She’s frequently called a bitch, but I think that’s unfair to my beloved Kate. Like I said, when she’s on the yacht, she’s working. She strikes me as someone who has a very hard-line boundary between personal and professional, and that’s not a line she crosses easily, especially since she’s Chief Stew. The majority of her fellow yachties are her colleagues and that’s it (save for the occasional drunk hook up, but that means nothing to my gal.) For the few who become her friends, it’s clear they’re able to hurt her deeply when they pull that tired “you’re a bitch” nonsense like Chef Ben did in season 2. He made Kate cry with that, and honestly? I kind of hate him for it, even if he is the most competent chef the show has ever had, and as you’re learning from this post, I love and crave competency.

The best part about Kate is that she doesn’t try to change herself. After a guest in season 2 told her that she didn’t smile enough and came off like a bitch, did Kate try to become bubblier in order to placate this man? Hell no. She went to his estate room and changed up the towel art on his bed from an anchor to a penis, which she insisted was a rocket ship.

Everyone knew it was Kate who created the towel art. How? Because they all admitted the towel sculpture was done so expertly, only Kate could have made those folds, friends. Kate is competent even when she’s letting you know you ain’t shit. Competency runs in her blood, and even on her worst day, I couldn’t foresee a situation where Kate would approach her work with a “C’s get degrees” attitude. Kate gets shit done.

One of the true joys of this show is watching her interact with the men on the crew of the yacht. Oftentimes, when they are not as good as Kate at their jobs, they will rage at her, blaming her for things that were entirely within their control and not hers. Kate will allow them to say what they have to say. Never interrupting, never raising her voice, and then reply calmly by methodically pointing out where they went wrong, and how she was right all along. If she deigns the complaint beneath her (as she frequently does) she’ll simply apologize (“I’m sorry you feel that way” or “You’re right”) and move on. Her apologies in these instances are almost always a cool, coded “f*ck you” and they’re glorious to behold because it invariably makes the less-competent person even angrier. Kate is very good at making people who are not as good at their jobs as she is, angry, and you love to see it.

The world is chaos, and it feels like there are no grownups to steer the dumpster fire raging on in the world—seeing Kate do her job so well, time and time again, is the balm my numb soul needs at this moment in time. She demonstrates that there are still people out there who not only care to do a good job, but care enough to do it well.

I understand that the current season of Below Deck has been a trash fire of misogyny, with sexual assault thrown in for good measure. No one should have to suffer that shit at work, and the only appropriate course of action if it does happen should be to haul the offender off in handcuffs, with a corresponding note from producers on-screen: “Ashton was removed from the boat and is no longer part of Below Deck.” I’m not looking forward to these episodes (I am trying to watch season 7 this week to catch up with all of you, then go back to season 4 where I left off) and hopefully, we’ll never hear from Trashton ever again after this season, because everything I’ve gleaned from Bravo blogs tells me that he is a scumbag who does not deserve anything good.

via GIPHY

The same cannot be said for my gal Kate. I love this show for many reasons but most of all, I love it for Kate Chastain, the most competent woman in reality TV.



Kate is a staff contributor. You can follow her on Twitter.


Header Image Source: Bravo/YouTube


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