"Honestly, it's so sad to me because it's five years of my life that I dedicated to this show. It changed and grew so much since Season 1 in Greece. I think just above anything I'm just really sad that it's ended that way," Hannah said in an interview with The Daily Dish over the phone just hours before the episode featuring her dismissal aired. "Obviously, it's just not a very nice way to end. But at the same time, I've had an outpouring of support from fans and things like that."
Hannah was dismissed in the August 17 episode of Below Deck Med when Captain Sandy Yawn did not feel comfortable taking the chief stew to sea after it was brought to her attention that she had unregistered Valium and a vape pen on board the vessel. But looking back on her entire journey on Below Deck Med, Hannah said that her dismissal is just another case of yachting bringing on "the highest of highs and the lowest of lows."
"I'm not a big believer in regret because I feel like if you're regretting something, then you're probably not learning from it. And I'm not really sure what the lesson is in this particular case," Hannah told The Daily Dish. "I'm honestly leaving very proud of myself. My family and my friends are proud of me and what I achieved."
Just last week, Hannah shared even more happy news, that she and Josh would be welcoming a little girl. "I was obviously gonna be thrilled to have a boy or a girl, but I think there's something special when it's your firstborn and it's a little girl, apart from your credit card bill because you buy everything," Hannah shared. "It's really nice. We're very excited."
Though she dealt with "awful morning sickness" during her first trimester, Hannah said that she "was feeling fantastic" in her second trimester. Unfortunately, the final months of her pregnancy have brought a lot of discomfort once again for Hannah. "Now I am completely exhausted, so emotional, I'm not sleeping well because I'm really uncomfortable," she said. "All the wheels are in motion, so there's no going back, so I'm just kind of pushing through at the moment."
Still, Hannah couldn't be more ready to bring home baby. "I'm so excited. I'm so ready," Hannah gushed, adding that she can't wait to give her little girl "kisses and raspberries." "I'm looking forward to weird things like that. I absolutely cannot wait to meet her. A lot of people are like, 'Oh, I'm excited, but I'm also a little scared and nervous.' I don't have any of that. I just want her here already."
Hannah noted that her boyfriend seems to be "a little more nervous" than she is about becoming a parent for the first time. "He hasn't been around kids as much as I have as I grew up in my mom's childcare centers," she said.
However, Hannah said that Josh is still "so excited" to become a dad and has been hard at work prepping for their daughter's arrival. "We went down at my dad's place in the country for the weekend, and I walked in and he was asleep in front of the fire with Save Our Sleep, which is a parenting book, on his chest," Hannah recalled. "[It's] just like the cutest thing in the world that he's reading a sleeping book but fell asleep while reading it."
Josh also plans on taking two weeks off from his job in commercial real estate after his daughter is born. "I kind of said to Mom and Dad, 'You can come and visit, but no overnights until he's back to work,'" Hannah said. "I think it'll be just so nice for two weeks to have a little bubble with the three of us and our dog."
Hannah spent some time relaxing at home in Australia after this season of Below Deck Med before going on vacation in New Zealand with one of her best friends from her days in yachting in the South of France. But she soon got to thinking about her next chapter. "It's kind of nice when you absolutely know 100 percent that you're not going to do another season because it really pushes you to work out what you want to do then," Hannah explained. "So I think that's what's been happening for me this year."
It was when Hannah was making another move, out of her house and into a new home with Josh in Sydney that the lightbulb went off for her next project.
"Basically, I was moving house, and I found a bunch of my old diaries from when I was a teenager. Myself and the girls were just laughing so hard because you can really see my personality in this 12 or 13-year-old girl's diary," Hannah said. "It kind of came to me that it's very interesting that our personalities, et cetera, are already so developed at that age. To be honest with you, I found that literally — not so much now with Josh, but a few years ago — I was having the same issues with men that I was having with the boys in high school when I was 13."
So Hannah teamed up with her good friend and Sydney-based red carpet reporter Justin Hill to start a new podcast called Dear Diary, You're Effed!, which launched its first episode on August 17. "Basically every week, we just go in and we read a diary entry and very much make fun of 13-year-old Hannah," she said. "There's a lot of very serious podcasts out there; this is not that. It's like escapism. It's reality TV in a podcast. It's just there to be light, entertaining, make you laugh, and that's it. So I'm really excited about it."
Hannah said she also wants her podcast to be an interactive experience for fans, who are encouraged to share their feedback with the hosts and even send in their own diary entries.
"One of my saddest things with leaving the show was losing touch with fans. It's a weird relationship. It's online, but some of these people I've been chatting to for five years," Hannah said. "So I wanted a way to keep in touch and keep engaged with them."
Of course, the number one thing fans ask Hannah about, whether it's on Instagram or while she's out shopping, is how they can get into the yachting industry. That inspired yet another new business venture for Hannah, Ocean International Training Academy, an online course designed to help others jumpstart their yachting careers.
"I found that there was this gap in the market because there's lots of places to go to get your STCW [Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping] and your courses, et cetera. But that's a lot of money. It's nearly $2,000 to get all your courses, et cetera. So it's like, how do you know that yachting is right for you in the first place? And that's where Ocean International comes in," Hannah said. "It's like the street smarts of yachting. So it really breaks it down for you, what the industry is actually like, what you can do at home before you even leave to go and join yachting that will help you on your CV, how to write a CV, where to go, what to do, what boat is right for you, what size is right for you, whether it's private or charter. It gets down to the nitty-gritty of yachting."
Ocean International Training Academy will feature three different tiers of courses when it launches on September 1, and those interested in learning more can go to the link in Hannah's bio on Instagram. "There's a gold package that you can purchase and that's having direct email contact with me, and I help you from doing this online course to basically getting the actual position on board a boat," Hannah said. "So there is an option for me to hold your hand the whole way."
Hannah has partnered with a familiar face to Below Deck Med fans on the new business, Season 4 stew and chef Anastasia Surmava, with whom she has remained really close. "We complement each other very well in terms of the business side and what we're good at," Hannah shared. "She's just an absolute attention-to-detail perfectionist, and I'm a big dreamer, so we really complement each other well."
The courses are all online for now, but Hannah and Anastasia have big plans for the company. "We're hoping in the future to branch out to a stewardess training school, so we'd love to do that," Hannah said. "There's many, many places that the company can go, but it's all around just inspiring and helping young people."
Launching a podcast and a business all while getting ready to welcome your first child is no small feat. But this is where Hannah's years in yachting have come in handy, even on land. "There's a lot of training that's gone into the lack of sleep that I have at the moment, so many years in yachting. But it's just different now, I think, because I can't just think about me; I've got to think about my daughter as well," Hannah said. "So it's very much trying to balance the work with making sure that I'm taking care of myself and getting enough sleep and not stressing her out."
But inspiring the next generation of yachties is something that has always been important to Hannah. "It literally makes my heart swell, and it makes me so happy to encourage young people to get out there and travel and push themselves and see the world, because I've always been of the mentality that we really only get one shot at life. It's so easy to say, 'I'll put it off, I'll do it tomorrow.' Tomorrow's here. You do it now, or you probably won't do it," she said. "The things that are scary are what make life worthwhile. If you're not scared, you're not pushing yourself hard enough. It's the experiences that you are scared about that are usually the best ones in your life. That's what I've found."
Hannah said that she wants others to learn from and be inspired by her journey in yachting and on Below Deck Med — from "the highest of highs to the lowest of lows" and everything in between. "I'm really hoping that it helps young people just see that what they see on TV is not impossible for them to achieve themselves. And it is very hard work; it's not a glamorous, nice, always-gorgeous thing," Hannah said. "But at the same time, the best things in life are really hard work. So I definitely think it's worth it."
Want more Below Deck Med? New episodes air every Monday at 9/8c or catch up on the entire series through the Bravo app.
Watch Hannah open up more about this season in the Below Deck Med Season 5 After Show, below.
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