‘Below Deck’ Star Hayley De Sola Pinto on Season 10 Fights, Flings & Captain Lee
The Below Deck waters have been far from calm for season 10. It started with Captain Lee Rosbach stepping away to address physical ailments and nerve issues from a past surgery. This led to franchise fav Captain Sandy Yawn holding down the St. David for many of the charters, which was easier said than done when it came specifically to the interior crew dynamic. Yawn was forced to ax stews Camille Lamb and Alissa Humber. Not to mention having to work through some rough patches involving Chief Stew Fraser Olender and Chef Rachel Hargrove.
One who stayed relatively unscathed and avoided the chopping block was Hayley De Sola Pinto. The fiery newbie from Britain managed to get just the right amount of messy on-off nights while making sure those rooms were tidy and drinking glasses full when guests were aboard. Ahead of the season finale, we caught up with the self-described “Ariel on Crack” to dish on all the drama in Saint. Lucia.
What was your reaction when Captain Lee left the vessel and Captain Sandy took over?
Hayley De Sola Pinto: My initial reaction was of concern for Captain Lee. I was really hoping he would be back just because I knew how much he wanted to be back. I think it was very hard for him to leave the boat, but he had to. Having Captain Sandy take over just felt right. He needed to take that time and go home. Then he managed to come back, which was fantastic. I was excited to have Captain Sandy in the meantime because I got to meet two captains. It was cool getting to work with both of them.
How would you compare their leadership styles?
Two very different captains and personalities, but both are great in different ways. We know that Captain Sandy gets involved a lot more than Captain Lee. She likes to get involved with the crew a lot more. She makes a lot of changes. They are both great fun. I worked well with both their management.
Captain Lee is such a legend. How was it working for him for this milestone season?
I’ve always been a fan of Below Deck. I’ve watched every single episode. I was quite nervous meeting him for the first time. I remember coming on the boat and hearing him on the radio before we all came together to meet everyone. It gave me goosebumps. After that, I was always like, “Can I make coffee for him every morning?” I was a bit of a fan, but I got to know him and he is quite lovely. Such a nice guy.
It was a very challenging season for the interior crew. At the center, Camille and Alissa had their fights. Do you think Captain Sandy made the right decision to let them go?
I’m going to say ultimately Captain Sandy made the best decision for the dynamic of the crew. We definitely worked better once everything changed. It was quite exhausting watching both of those girls argue throughout the season. I stayed out of it. I shared a cabin with Alissa, so I was not going to take sides. I worked in such confined spaces with both of them. I just thought it was much safer to stay out of that. Actually, when they both got fired, everything did change. I hate to say this, but it was a calmer atmosphere because the drama here disappeared.
You really made Fraser’s day by complimenting his leadership in the last episode. Do you think Captain Sandy was too hard on him? Or do you think he needed that to really grow in the role?
I do feel like she was harsh with him, but I feel like she had to be cruel to be kind in the long run because it gave Fraser harder skin. I would never take sides, but I do think the pressure helped him and that situation hardened him up. Fraser is a fantastic chief. I couldn’t have asked for a better boss really, but I think he did need to be harder. That didn’t come naturally to him because he is such a lovely person. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that happened. I do think it was a little bit harsh from Captain Sandy, but it did end well. They are on good terms now.
How do you think Ross [McHarg] and Ben [Willoughby] were handling their romances and onboard? They seem to be about wanting their cake and eating it too.
It’s a hard one. Boys can be boys really, especially in the yachting industry. It’s what people do. They go on these yachts, earn good money, travel the world and all have sex. That’s what happens, and it can get complicated. That’s why they say never shag the crew because this is what happens. I think really you know what you’re getting yourself in for. It’s just having control over it really. These guys are just being guys and getting themselves into trouble. I kept away from that.
Did any of the guys try to make a move on you?
I was making it known I had a boyfriend. I literally am one of the guys regardless if I had been single or in a relationship. I don’t think anything would have happened with myself or anyone on board. I don’t really mix work and pleasure like that. As we can see, it gets very complicated. I got along really well with them because I was one of the guys.
What gets you through being in a long-distance relationship?
Seeing what goes on makes me thankful I have a boyfriend away. My boyfriend actually works away, so we very much are used to not seeing each other. We’re used to having time apart, which I think is incredibly healthy. The six weeks I was away weren’t that hard. It went very quickly. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
You bonded with Tyler when he joined the crew. How was it for you to be that support system for him as he made the decision to come out to his family?
It made me feel great that he would confide in me like that. His parents come from different backgrounds. I had to understand that they were religious and not that accepting. For him, it was a really big deal. For me to be able to be there for him and to comfort him and make him realize it is okay to be who you are. It was really lovely to support him in that way and give him the confidence to be himself and tell his parents that this is who he is. A lot of my friends are gay and have been through hell having to come out and be accepted. It’s something close to my heart to help someone make that decision.
Who was the worst charter guest this season?
We’ve definitely had an interesting selection of guests. I want to add that I’m actually staying with one of the guests. I’m staying with John right now! That’s a perfect example of the guests and how that went. We became very good friends after his episode. To be honest, I wouldn’t say the guests this season haven’t been that bad. I think other Below Deck seasons had it worse than us. We did have some demanding guests, but that is just yachting. Sometimes you get lucky to get people that just want to eat food and go to bed early. You have to take the good with the bad.
What can you tease about the season finale?
It is quite fun and surprising. You should never judge a book by its cover is basically what I will say about that.
Below Deck, Mondays, 8/7c, Bravo