'Below Deck Mediterranean's Malia White on the Lexi Wilson Drama and Rebounding From Season 5 (Exclusive)
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Malia White still has no idea why her Below Deck Mediterranean co-star Lexi Wilson refers to herself as "Satan."
"I think she said that it was because of the alcohol, but I was like, I've been pretty wasted and I never referred to myself as Satan," the Bravo bosun tells ET over video chat. "But I guess if that's her alter ego, then that's pretty terrifying."
Lexi's terrifying tantrum continues on Monday night's episode of Below Deck Med, which sees the second stewardess almost get physical with deckhands David Pascoe and Mzi "Zee" Dempers ("We have to protect him at all costs," Malia says of her green deckie) in the crew mess after she berated nearly every other member of the Lady Michelle crew in the hot tub. (Some slight spoilers ahead, as this week's episode is already available to stream on Peacock.)
"It was a lot to take in and watch," Malia admits of Lexi's wild night. "And I think for me, the next day when she was like, 'I don't remember anything,' I was kind of like, 'How do you not remember all of it, or at least most of it?' And yeah, I think it was misrepresented. But if she truly didn't remember it all, I think I thought if I had had that bad of a night, the next day I would have been mortified and just been like, 'Guys, I can't remember, but I'm so sorry.' And we just never really got that apology, so it was a little shocking."
When Lexi woke up the morning after "Satan" took over her body, she told Captain Sandy Yawn that the evening got a little out of control, but didn't own up to the extent to which it did, or take responsibility for being the main instigator for one of the messier nights ever seen in the Below Deck franchise. Captain Sandy called an all-crew meeting to clear the air, at which Lexi offered up a general apology. Malia and her deck crew are still waiting on an official apology. She says Lexi did not reach out to anyone after seeing just how bad her behavior was in the episodes.
"As far as I'm aware, no one has gotten an apology," she admits. "But I think she is regretting what happened. I think she is looking back on it and being like, 'My drunken, worst night is aired on TV,' and trust me, I can relate to that. And I know how she's probably feeling right now, and it's not nice."
"I think as crew members though, we have to get not used to that behavior, but you get used to ... there's them when they're out drinking and then there's them at work," Malia explains of how the crew was able to move forward without ownership on Lexi's part. "Alcohol makes us do some crazy things. I can be the first to admit that. So, I do think Lexi can put on a good stew face and get back to work."
Lexi wasn't the only season 6 cast member to have a bad night. Chef Mathew Shea quit the boat in a camera-bashing fit after leaving the crew dinner early when his off-color comments received pushback from his co-stars.
"I think with Mat, he was already in his own head about the cameras and everything going on, so that when he started drinking, it just accelerated that and he was just done," Malia surmises. "But I was pretty surprised to see him go out with quite the bang."
"Mat punching the cameras, I was like, 'Oh man. I bet production loves you,'" she cracks. Mat returns to the ship for one last charter, but will seemingly be replaced by the chef Captain Sandy put on reserve when Mat left the boat the first time, citing anxiety over the stress of the job. Mat repeatedly pushed back about the workload expected of a yacht chef, refusing to make crew meals, even though it was a clear part of his responsibilities.
"Captain Sandy was very -- she's like, 'Let's give everyone a second chance,' which I agree with," Malia notes. "People have bad nights, they make mistakes, so let's start a new page. Lexi's like, 'I can put it behind me if you guys can put it behind me.' Mat apologizes to everyone. As soon as he steps on the boat, he's like, 'I'm so sorry. I messed up. I had a bad night.' So I think everyone is just kind of like, 'Right. That's your last chance, Mat. Lexi, get your s**t together. We've got a charter season to do.'"
Malia says this charter season is "the season that I've always wanted." It's her third as a cast member on Below Deck Med, previously starring on seasons 2 and 5. The latter is a memorable one for fans, but one Malia would like to forget. In the middle of filming the season, Malia reported chief stewardess Hannah Ferrier to Captain Sandy for having undocumented prescription drugs (and possibly marijuana, though that was never cleared up officially) on board. Captain Sandy opted to fire Hannah from the boat, resulting in massive fan backlash online, with Malia targeted by viewers for "ruining" the show. She maintains she was just doing her job, abiding by the rules of maritime law, which includes a no-tolerance drug policy.
"I think at first, I wanted to defend everything and I was taking to social media," Malia recalls. "And then I learned, you will never be able to explain to people maritime law. You'll never be able to explain the exact situation, how things actually went down. People will never understand because, to them, they're seeing this portion of what happened, and that's all you can expect them to understand. So yeah, I think in surviving it, I turned my comments off for a while and that gave me a lot of peace. And I was just kind of like, 'I don't need those comments in my life.' Yeah, definitely a big learning curve."
The whole experience made Malia think twice about returning to the reality TV part of a career she's grown to love.
"I want to eventually be a captain, so yeah, I was a little hesitant to come back after all that, because I was like, 'I really want a career in this industry, not in the TV industry,'" she shares, but adds that she's grateful she did return because she feels like the audience is finally getting to see a truer version of her this season.
"Last season was tough because I kind of got put in a rock and a hard place, and this season, I don't have to deal with any of that drama regarding that subject," she says. "I am thankful that you get to see me more as the boss that I try to be. And that's how I am with this deck crew."
"Honestly, this was the most fun I've had filming," she adds. "This was such a refreshing time for me, because I obviously clicked with [chief stewardess Katie Flood] really well, and [third stew Courtney Veale], and just this whole crew, I bonded with."
That includes Captain Sandy, who spoke out of turn in the off-season about Malia. While recording a Cameo clip for a male fan with a crush on Malia, Captain Sandy remarked, "Malia, I think is secretly gay, to be honest. That's my opinion. Everybody in production thinks that. Oh! This is gonna be public, isn't it? OK, so maybe, who knows? Oh, I crack myself up -- and I am not doing this sober, because if it gets out there, it just gets out there. What can I say?"
"So that happened the night before we filmed, actually," Malia reveals. "So I had to step on the boat and just smile and wave."
If fans care to go back and check, Malia can be seen sporting the same black shirt she wore in an Instagram video she posted in response to Sandy's Cameo that she donned as she boarded Lady Michelle to start filming season 6.
"It literally happened the night before we stepped on the boat to film," she reiterates. "All of a sudden, my phone starts blowing up, and it's like, 'Hey, did you know that you're gay?' And I was like, 'Oh. Hey, great.' But yeah, you know what? I think with Captain Sandy -- and the thing that I have to remember is -- she never means any harm. She says things, but she doesn't think about them or think of how a Cameo could get misconstrued or blown up. But she never really means any harm, so I knew she didn't mean it personally. She didn't think of how it would affect me and my inner circles, or my mom reading, 'Oh, my daughter's gay.' So for me personally, it wasn't a huge thing, but I just thought the idea of someone else outing someone is not nice. I think we should all be a little more sensitive about that."
As Malia said in her Instagram at the time, "Captain Sandy's Cameo, I was just as shocked as everyone else. I'm not sure why my sexual orientation's being discussed in Cameos. First off, if I was gay, I would just like to say, it should be my decision when and if to out it to the entire internet. But no, I'm not, and if I was, I would be openly proud to be gay. I'm a huge supporter of the community."
Malia says she and Captain Sandy had quite the talk about the incident, though it's unclear if it was on or off camera. Either way, it did not air on the show.
"Had she meant ill intent, I might've been upset, but I know that she didn't," Malia says. "And she apologized, and she said, 'I never thought it would turn out to be this, and I just made it as some comment...' and I just said, 'Well, those comments are the ones we got to think about maybe not saying.' And yeah, she understands."
There is an explosive on-camera moment between the two women coming, though. As seen in the season 6 trailer, Captain Sandy gets angry with Malia after she didn't file an incident report for a to-be-revealed accident involving one of her deckhands.
"It is a very intense moment -- it's the most intense moment that Captain Sandy and I have ever had, regardless of what some people may think," Malia teases. "I definitely got to see the other side to Captain Sandy towards me, but I think, yeah, when you see what it's about and things, I think you'll realize it's because she's holding me to a higher standard, which is sometimes frustrating, but it's also understandable."
As for what is also still to come, Malia offers, "If you think we've had the most dramatic night, you should keep watching. Because although it doesn't seem like things can get more intense, they just might."
There's also potential romance to be had. Malia came into season 6 fresh off her breakup with Tom Checketts, who joined Below Deck Med in the middle of season 5 as a replacement chef. The two dated before he signed onto the series (in fact, he was just visiting Malia on charter when Captain Sandy recruited him for the boat), and split just before the Cameo controversy.
"When we started filming this season, it was right when Tom and I had broken up, but we were still in that awkward, 'we're broken up, but we still talk phase,'" Malia says, explaining what seemed like an out-of-the-blue phone call from Tom in one of the season's early episodes. "In a way, jumping into filming this season was a huge saving grace for me, because I was right in the middle of a huge heartbreak, and he was still calling, and I was like, 'Do I go back to him?' And then I was so busy filming, that I was like, 'No. I deserve better.'"
Malia says her breakup with Tom left a "sour taste" in her mouth, as their relationship ended after Tom allegedly cheated on the 31-year-old bosun.
"But I will date someone I work with again," she confesses, "because in my life, those are the people that were around. Those are the most... They make the most sense, yachties with other yachties, because we lead the same lifestyle. But I'm not going to jump into a long-distance one anytime soon."
That might mean the chances of Malia and David getting together for more than a fling are quite low. David let Malia know he was interested in her during the heated hot tub night, while Malia says it was a "shock" to learn her other deckhand, Lloyd Spencer, may also have feelings for her, as seen in sneak-peek clips of the season.
"I mean, I am single this season, and I drink a lot of alcohol this season, unlike my last season," she offers when pressed on whether she dates or not this year. "So, you might. You see single, drunk Malia come out."
"I'm excited for people to see the real side of me that I want people to see," she says, "and with this group of guys, who I felt so comfortable and supported with, and just see how different I am when I feel supported and loved versus feeling not so comfortable in my workplace, like last season. And just to see us as crew, because genuinely this was my most fun filming, and the best crew that I've worked with."
Below Deck Mediterranean airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo, with episodes available a week early to Peacock subscribers.
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