Bravo Sets Sail Again, Dishing Up Drama, LGBT Cast Member

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Jen Riservato is one of the new cast members embarking on Bravo’s “Below Deck Mediterranean” next Tuesday. Credit: Bravo

Bravo’s unscripted series, “Below Deck” sets sail again Tuesday, May 3 with new and returning crew and an itinerary that promises plenty of drama on the high seas.

Joining the crew is Jen Riservato, an openly gay deck hand, who has spent plenty of time in South Florida in between her tours of duty on the yachts of the megawealthy.

The native New Yorker promises a thrilling season for dedicated viewers of the series.

“Oh, God, it’s pretty exciting,” said the 28-year-old about the seven week gig. “Living with people on a yacht is like living with people in a trailer, it’s stressful.”

Riservato admitted that the latest season, set in the Mediterranean Sea, will not disappoint.

“There are a few things that we’ve all done that we’re not proud of, whether it’s a fight or we got pissed off at someone,” she said.

For Riservato, who as a deck hand is working in a job traditionally held by men, there was an added challenge—she was the only LGBT crewmember on the luxury yacht.

“I wouldn’t say it’s hard because the people in the yachting industry are pretty open minded, but I don’t see that many gays and lesbians,” she explained. “I was pretty out from day one, but I’ll just leave it at that.”

Riservato was tight-lipped about any sparks that might fly during the upcoming season.

“There’s romance on the show, but I didn’t tell you that,” she said with a slight chuckle.

Like viewers, she’s eagerly waiting to see what scenes survived the editing room. Riservato would even consider filming another season.

“I’d definitely consider another season, but for now I’m taking a little break,” she said.

The only returning cast member from the previous seasons in the Caribbean is chef Ben Robinson.

Viewers remember when he was called in last season following a feud between chief steward Kate Chastain and chef Leon Walker that ended when Walker abruptly stormed off the boat.

“I had been in touch with Kate, who made it clear the relationship was tumultuous,” he recalled.

Robinson was pleased to be cast in the new series and feels “Below Deck Mediterranean” is the best yet.

“I was the veteran and, with that, I think that it kind of empowered me and I became more responsible in terms of having crew members under my wings. I liked that position. I like being the mediator and trying to instill confidence in people,” he explained.

The centrally-located ship’s galley is a natural place for the drama to “cook.”

“It doesn’t differ with many households where the kitchen is the hearth of the household. The action and the smells are very alluring, but I would also say, locationally, the kitchen is in the middle of the boat with proximity to the crew quarters,” said Robinson. “That’s how I lure them into the kitchen.”

Robinson, who is home again in Fort Lauderdale, is currently operating his own catering company and cooking for a variety of private events across the country thanks to his new fame. He’s also eyeing other opportunities to return to television.

“I’ve spoken to my peers and my producers and everyone feels my place should be on television, whether it’s an entirely new spin-off away from the boat or my own cooking show,” the 30-year-old said.

“Below Deck Mediterranean” premieres Tuesday, May 3 on Bravo at 9 p.m. EDT. Check local listings for channels.


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