by Allyson Koerner
If you’re an avid Below Deck watcher, then you know this second season is full of all kinds of drama, fun, interesting charter guests and, of course, romance. Speaking of romance, two new faces have become the talk of Ohana when it comes to showmance — Jennice Ontriveros and Kelley Johnson.
Well, I was lucky enough to chat with former Marine Johnson (who’s a deckhand on Ohana) via email about his time on Below Deck, where he not only talks his attraction to Jennice (his co-worker and bunkmate), but also what it’s like working with his sister Amy, his confrontations with Andrew and what else we can expect from the rest of the season. Read on to see what Johnson revealed!
Pop City Life: You seem like a guy who enjoys the outdoors, being on the water and experiencing new adventures. Did that play a big part in you joining this season of Below Deck?
Kelley Johnson: I have enjoyed the outdoors since I was little, my sister can attest to this! That was not what swayed my decision to join the crew of Ohana. My sister was the sole reason I ended up as part of the crew.
PCL: Before committing, had you ever watched an episode of Below Deck? Did you know what you were getting yourself into?
Johnson: No, I had not watched any episodes of Below Deck before I signed on. And again it was definitely a NO! I had no clue, and was not ready for the stress of the cameras as well as the charter season. It brings a whole new level of stress to an already stressful job.
PCL: What were your first reactions when sailing off on Ohana? Is it overwhelming being thrown on a yacht with strangers (minus your sister) and having cameras following your every move?
Johnson: I was excited to be working with my sister, and being able to work on the water again. I thought I was going to be able to lay low, stay off camera and just work my way through six weeks. Being thrown into a whole yacht full of strangers was not all that hard, I was looking forward to get[ting] to meet all of them!
PCL: Let’s talk your sister, Amy. First, do you like working side by side with her? Second, can it get suffocating working with a family member, and maybe even awkward, especially if you like someone, say Jennice?
Johnson: I was seriously terrified to work with my sister. I was really scared about butting heads with her, and having a family meltdown on TV. Luckily, that is the exact opposite that happened. We grew closer, stronger, and really built a bond that had been missing for many years. I really respect my sister’s input when it comes to who is in my life, especially on the show, and now. So having her there was not suffocating in the least. It was more of a blessing than anything.
PCL: Speaking of Jennice, there’s an obvious attraction there — and she’s your bunkmate. Judging from the promos and what we’ve seen so far, there’s a possible romance brewing. What can you tease about that?
Johnson: I am not going to give up anything! That ruins the fun. Ok, ok, I might give you a little. Lets just say it’s a bit of a roller coaster through the time we are together on the boat.
PCL: Moving on from the romance, let’s talk about Andrew. As we’ve seen, you, and everyone else, are fed up with him. It was recently revealed he lied on his resume about his deckhand experience, resulting in you telling Eddie “either he goes or I go.” Can you talk about your frustrations with Andrew and how all of this plays out?
Johnson: Andrew, Andrew, Andrew. I am pretty sure he ate up so much of our time on the yacht. We tried babying him. We tried being hard on him. None of it seemed to work. He was so unprepared for what he was stepping into. He’s a great guy, and it took a lot for him to come clean, but even after he came clean we were not seeing what we needed. That was our perspective from the deck crew, not saying the Captain might still see something in him we did not. He obviously saw something to give him another chance. I do want to say that me giving Eddie the ultimatum was not one of my high points in that charter. Eddie needed someone to make his job easier, and I was just making it harder.
PCL: This past Tuesday’s episode also showed you hitting your head and going to the hospital. How scared were you in that moment?
Johnson: I wasn’t really all that scared actually. As one of my Marines wrote me a message, we hurt ourselves worse in the Corps messing around. My sister wanted me to go to the hospital and wouldn’t let me say no. She was being a protective sister and I appreciate that. I also want to give a shout out to Eddie for taking charge right away when I was a little loopy after the fall.
PCL: Now that you’ve experienced a full season of a reality show, do you have any regrets? Would you return?
Johnson: You can’t have any regrets in your past. Did I experience things I will handle differently in the future, yes. But that’s life, you live and you learn. I had an amazing time filming this season. I grew very close with a lot of the crew and made friends that I will have for the rest of my life. I also learned a whole lot about myself, so while it is still early in the season, if I was asked back for another season I would love the opportunity.
PCL: What else can viewers expect from you this season?
Johnson: A little romance, a lot of partying, and even more hard work. This was the craziest six weeks of my life. So fortunately you get to see a very broad spectrum of me. The good, the bad, and everything in between. I hope y’all enjoy the rest of the season!
Be sure to watch a brand new episode of Below Deck tonight at 9/8c on Bravo!
Photo Credit: Tommy Garcia, Virginia Sherwood, Bravo