Interview: Below Deck’s Jennice Ontiveros on Being a Female Deckhand – Exclusive
by Allyson Koerner
It’s the beginning of a new week, meaning a new Below Deck is right around the corner (tomorrow to be exact).
With that said, who else is ready for Tuesday night’s episode? That new promo left fans wanting more aka that kiss between Kelley and Jennice! Luckily, we at Pop City Life were able to catch up with Jennice via email about that kiss and her “romance” with Kelley. She even opened up about Andrew’s firing, Kate’s crafty phallic symbol, in addition to being a female deckhand and the challenges that come along with her career.
Check out what she had to say!
Pop City Life: Let’s cut right to the chase. Your presumed romance with Kelley has been building throughout the season, and as the recent promo for this week’s episode previews, he kisses you. What can you tell us about that moment?
Jennice Ontiveros: That was a stolen kiss! I was caught off guard by his spontaneous move, and you’ll have to tune in on Tuesday to see the fall out.
PCL: What else can we expect from you and Kelley over upcoming episodes? Just how much more “complicated” does it get?
Ontiveros: We have a lot to navigate as roommates, coworkers, and good friends! Whether or not we decide to push the boundaries and see what’s on the other side of this friendship is yet to be seen. All I can say is, we’re in for a ride! Keep watching.
PCL: Moving on. The past episode also showcased Kate’s anger with a charter guest brewing into a more serious action: her creating a phallic symbol on his bed. Ultimately, this will affect everyone, especially when it comes to pay. What was your reaction?
Ontiveros: When I heard about the blanket incident, I was actually in disbelief. I couldn’t believe Kate was so talented. Then I started practicing PB folds with my chamois. JUST KIDDING! Now that we’re a deckhand down, deck crew is working over time and we really have our heads down. I knew it would all be taken care of amongst the higher ranks and interior team, and felt it necessary to just get back to work and stay out of it.
PCL: In a past episode, Captain Lee also fired Andrew. Were you surprised that he let him go? Were you happy, especially since he seemed to be holding the crew back?
Ontiveros: I was not surprised to see Andrew get let go. I was impressed with the Captain’s decision to give Andrew a way out with dignity by allowing him one last chance to prove himself. I’m never happy to see a person lose their job. I made sure to send him home with a bowline knot-tying guide, and thank you note, and my phone number just in case he needed it. Of course I was relieved to not have to deckie-sit him anymore.
PCL: Where is Andrew? Is he still working on boats?
Ontiveros: Let’s ask Andrew! Last we spoke he conceded that yacht life just isn’t for him, and I heard he got his bartending license.Cheers to him for trying something new — yachting isn’t for everyone or everyone would be yachting! Just wish he would have taken the front door approach.
PCL: Speaking of Andrew, he made some inappropriate/backhanded comments about you being a female deckhand. How did that make you feel?
Ontiveros: At that time I was very tightly wound. I felt so betrayed by his lies, especially after all the work I’d done to help him keep up and teach him new things. His comments were naive and ignorant, and although he had no intention of insulting me, he really needed to be corrected and educated. It was the just the last straw for me, and I felt that Eddie did a great job addressing it.
PCL: For some, a deckhand position is seen as a “man’s job,” but you kick ass at it. You work extremely hard. How does it feel to prove others wrong that you, and other women, can do this job — and do it well?
Ontiveros: Thank you! I do my best. I absolutely love being a deckhand! I’ve had a lot of doubts thrown my way for wanting to work on deck. It could be my size, gender, level of experience — or simply a combination of the three, but I never let anyone discourage me to the point of giving up. I just kept working, kept practicing, and kept my head up. I hope that I represent well for females on deck, we certainly are a minority. But we have a lot to offer, and can’t be counted out or overlooked. I have a lot to learn, and I’m only getting better, stronger, faster. It feels great to be given that opportunity; male or female, small or tall, green or salty.
PCL: Lastly, What else can we expect from you and the rest of the season?
Ontiveros: At this point we’re a down a team member, so you’re going to see me a little overwhelmed and spread thin along with the deck crew. As I do my best to juggle my work ethic and personal life, the pressure to keep my head in the game grows with each charter. I have more interaction with the interior crew, am outraged by certain guests, and might have to fall flat before I get myself back up and running as the youngest, greenest, crew member.
Below Deck airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.
Photo Credit: Tommy Garcia, Virginia Sherwood, Bravo