On Season 7 of Bravo's Below Deck, the crew is setting sail in Thailand, but the heat isn't the only battle that the cast will deal with.
The season's second charter brought the return of guests Helen Hoey and her husband, Richard Fiore.
The couple first appeared on Season 6 of the show, and Helen was best known for her vocal reactions to Chef Adrian's food, while everyone else was intimidated by Richard's presence. This time around, the couple brought along a new set of friends, including Brandy, who showed up seemingly very drunk.
Brandy's up-and-down behavior on the show led to a media storm, with fans wondering what exactly was going on with the Valor guest. The Oct. 21 episode ended with Brandy getting carted off the beach picnic to get some medical attention, but it's still unclear what she was dealing with.
Ashton Pienaar from Below Deck spoke exclusively with Distractify about what it was like to have Brandy onboard and how the intense Thai heat affected the crew throughout the season.
What was wrong with Brandy on Below Deck?
Within seconds of meeting Brandy, it was clear that she would be one of the most unforgettable guests in the show's history. When the charter guests met the crew on the deck of Valor, Chef Kevin Dobson immediately noted that something was a bit off about Brandy.
"The girl in the white dress is really drunk," he said as Brandy joined the group for a tour of the yacht.
Brandy relaxed on the couch in the interior while the rest of her group enjoyed a meal on the boat's deck during the first hours of their charter. She sporadically exclaimed that she had paid for the entire charter, but otherwise appeared to be resting. She ultimately joined the other guests for a fishing trip, and the next day she attended the picnic on a nearby beach.
But, it was soon clear that Brandy needed medical treatment after she sat for the picnic and appeared to be faint, and her head kept rolling back.
In the last moments of the episode, Brandy was transported to a kayak while the crew figured out how to get her back on the boat. Helen and some of the other guests said that nobody should feel bad for Brandy, making the incident more confusing than ever.
Ashton Pienaar thinks Brandy was "completely out of it."
In an exclusive interview with Distractify, bosun Ashton Pienaar spoke about what it's like to deal with charter guests who need medical help, especially when the deck crew is in charge of making sure the guests are in safe hands.
"Brandy was an interesting case," he said. "We didn’t know what the issue was because it wasn’t just alcohol. It didn’t look like she was tripping on drugs. Maybe it was a mixture, I don’t know. I don’t know the facts of what she was on but from our side, it was very weird. We know how to handle a drunk person, but it was just very different because she would be fine, and then she would be completely out of it."
Brandy's behavior truly stumped the Valor crew, but they were all hyper-conscious of making sure she was never in danger.
"For us, the main thing we think about is safety. Because while we’re on the way, she can trip outside and go overboard," he continued. "We had to just keep eyes on her all the time like we always had people on deck keeping an eye on her."
The intense Thai heat didn't make things any easier for the Below Deck crew.
While many thought that Brandy's issues stemmed from enjoying the Thai alcohol too much, it's clear that the high temperatures didn't help with what she was dealing with. The heat certainly played a part in making nearly every facet of the average charter that much harder for the crew too.
"We were drinking water all the time. We would change our uniforms, and within five minutes of being outside, we were completely soaked," Ashton said about the temperatures, which were upwards of 100 degrees. "It made everything we were doing that much harder. We had to keep hydrated. We went through liters and liters of water throughout the day, so it did make things more tough.
We'll get to see how the heat takes a physical toll on the crew as the season goes on, too.
"I think you’ll see a big change in our physique from the beginning of the season to the end of the season. I think we all lost quite a bit of weight," Ashton added. "It wasn’t unbearable. We weren’t dying out there, it just made things a lot more strenuous."
Below Deck airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.