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Yachties often have butterflies in their stomachs at the start of a new charter season. But Below Deck Mediterranean's new chief stew Katie Flood's nerves were a little higher as she stepped into a position previously held by Hannah Ferrier from Seasons 1 to 5.
"There's definitely pressure, I think. I'm aware and prepared [for] that. Of course, I'm gonna be compared, you know? Like, that's what people like to do is give comparisons. So I definitely am not gonna be surprised if I see any of that," Katie told Bravo Insider during an exclusive interview prior to the Below Deck Med Season 6 premiere. "But at the end of the day, I'm not Hannah; I'm me. I do things different than how she did things or would do things. And that's like any other chief stew. So it is what it is."
It helps when you receive a warm welcome to the world of Below Deck Med from none other than Hannah herself. Katie shared that she received a nice message from the Below Deck Med alum. "She was very lovely. She just, like, wished me all the best," Katie said. "So it was really cute."
Katie added that Hannah also told her that "she's here" if the chief stew ever needed to talk about anything as she begins her journey on Below Deck Med. That's something that Katie said she may take her up on as the season goes on. "You never know. I don't know how the world's gonna respond to me or how I'm gonna be, you know, how they're gonna see me, what they're gonna say about me. So right now, I feel good," Katie said. "But, hey, I don't know. Like, it's like I said. I am human. I'm sure some things will get to me at some point. But yeah. Maybe in those times I will reach out for sure."
Aside from her Below Deck Med Season 6 crew and her past romance with Season 4 deckhand Jack Stirrup, Katie said that she doesn't know any other yachties from the world of Below Deck personally. Some alums have reached out to her after it was announced that she would be Below Deck Med's new chief stew.
Katie said that she has appreciated the support she has received from the Below Deck family so far. "It's really nice, though. I think it's just a simple thing, especially, you know, someone new like myself dipping into this. It's more, I guess, to just say that they're there if you have anything to discuss and in terms of the social media and the comments and the trolls and that side of it," Katie shared. "Most people that have reached out to me, that's what they sort of said. Like, 'If you just want to chat about this and how to handle things,' which is good, because, you know, I've never been through something like this before. So it is nice, I guess, to have that support if you really need it, if you're really getting affected by things or this and that. So it's [really] good."
As Below Deck Med fans get to know her this season, Katie said that she's not the type of person to take things too seriously. "I take life with a pinch of salt, especially in this sort of scenario, like, people are gonna say what they want to say. I don't really buy into bulls--t. So, you know, you either like me or you don't. I'm not gonna get sleepless nights over it," she said. "But I think I'm definitely easygoing. I think I'm a relatable person. So, yeah, I guess, hopefully, that comes across."
The addition of Katie to the Below Deck Med crew is just one reason why this season will be totally "different," according to the new chief stew. "I'm a completely different person. So I think I'm quite a likable person, you know. I get along with most people I meet. I'm a pretty chill person. It just is different. Maybe it's something new, it's refreshing for the show," Katie teased. "I think everyone's gonna be surprised. I think it's gonna be a different season to what people are used to. So I think it'll be cool."
Want more Below Deck Med? Season 6 airs Mondays at 9/8c on Bravo with early access to new episodes on Peacock.
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