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Chief stew Katie Flood isn't the only new Below Deck Mediterranean crew member with ties to yachties formerly part of the world of Below Deck. Deckhand Mzi "Zee" Dempers also goes way back with a crew member who made quite the splash in their season.
In an exclusive interview with Bravo Insider, Zee revealed that he's friends with Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 1 stew Georgia Grobler, who is also from his native South Africa. "I think South Africa's quite a small place when it comes to things like that. So, I mean, we had met up a couple years ago," Zee shared. "And then had just sort of, like, maintained a friendship throughout for the past couple of years."
Zee and Georgia's friendship goes back to at least 2017, according to photos shared on their respective Instagram feeds. As you can see, these two make quite the dynamic duo, whether they are all dressed up for a night out on the town or sporting more casual looks at an outdoor bash.
These days, Zee and Georgia still reconnect when they can, according to the deckhand. "We still keep in touch. [I] maybe see her every now and then. I think it's just been quite difficult at the moment, just because we've been under such a harsh lockdown in our country. So to get out and actually go and do things is quite difficult," he shared. "But, I mean, when I've had the chance, I've seen her a couple of times since I've been back."
As it turns out, Zee has seen Georgia more times IRL lately than on TV as he has not seen Season 1 of Below Deck Sailing Yacht. "I actually haven't watched the sailing season yet, but I have heard it gets quite spicy. So [laughs] I need to get involved in that," Zee said, later adding that he has also heard that Season 2 is similarly "spicy." (We can confirm that it is, Zee!)
In particular, Zee said that he knows about some of the drama Georgia found herself in during the charter season — namely, her and Paget Berry's flirtatious behavior while he had a longtime girlfriend among the crew at the time, deckhand Ciara Duggan (Paget and Ciara would go on to break up several months after Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 1 aired). "I think there was a bit of a throuple vibe there," Zee said. "I do remember her speaking about that."
Zee actually wasn't too familiar with the Below Deck Med franchise either, only watching Season 5 just before he joined his crew aboard the Lady Michelle. "I got fairly nervous [laughs], just 'cause I think, I don't know, I think the crew dynamics in Season 5 were fairly tense. So I think it was quite a hectic season to actually, like, introduce yourself into," he said. "So that made me super, super nervous before getting on board."
As a result of watching last season of Below Deck Med, Zee admitted that he wasn't sure how working with bosun Malia White was going to go. "She was one of the people that I was [laughs] quite scared of going into it," he shared. "But she was absolutely incredible. In fact, she really had all the time and all the patience in the world for me. And she was such a good mentor. Like, in terms of everything that I tried to understand or didn't know, she was so willing to help. And I think often bosuns don't really give a greenie sort of opportunities to do certain things, whereas Malia was the complete opposite. I think for her to see us progress and do better was a big part of it for her, too. So she really gave us all the opportunities that were there and available. So it was so awesome to work with her."
Coming in as a green deckhand contributed to Zee's nerves, although that stress disappeared once he met Malia and the rest of his deck team, which also includes fellow deckhands David Pascoe and Lloyd Spencer. "But actually, once getting on board, it was a completely different story," he said. "I think I was actually super, super blessed just to have such amazing individuals to work with."
The type of bond that has developed among the deck crew this season is one that you don't see every day, according to Zee. "It's really the weirdest thing, just because, I mean, we all come from such different backgrounds and all such different ages and everything like that. So to place just, like, four random individuals all out on deck, and then to see the way that we just got along so well instantly was, I don't know, just quite mind-blowing," he said. "And I think that's very, very rare, because obviously you get into certain working situations where you always do have that one d--khead. In terms of the deck crew, I think we were super, super fortunate not to have that. So that was really, really amazing and quite hard to come by, I thought."
This kind of tight-knit teamwork made a world of difference for Zee, especially as someone who was new to the industry. "It makes everything just that much easier. I know, well, for me personally, I felt that as much as I could mess up and the fact that I was green in terms of not knowing anything, everyone was just so supportive. So I didn't really have to feel like an idiot for asking stupid questions, and I knew that if I didn't know something, there would be guidance there," Zee shared. "And I think that we just had each other's backs throughout. So it really, really was special."
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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