Though viewers have been living vicariously through the charter guests on Below Deck for years, there's even more to be envious of in Season 8. The current edition of the hit Bravo series is back in the Caribbean and it showcases crystal clear water, decadent multi-course meals, and attentive service. Plus, it was predominantly filmed just before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
Just days before the shutdowns began, Jackie Siegel, aka the Queen of Versailles, chartered the My Seanna yacht on Below Deck along with her husband, David Siegel, her stepson, her stepson's wife, and a few others.
The socialite is no stranger to Bravo; the 2012 documentary about building the Siegels' 90,000 square-foot house, The Queen of Versailles, made its TV debut on the network, and she also appeared on Flipping Out! and on Season 4 of Below Deck Mediterranean.
Ahead of the airing of her most recent Below Deck cameo, Jackie spoke exclusively with Distractify about why she thought she was going to get kicked off her charter, how she connected with Captain Lee Rosbach over addiction and loss, and whether she was aware of the drama going on amongst the crew members.
Jackie and David Siegel bonded with Captain Lee over losing children to addiction.
Three years after The Queen of Versailles debuted and polarized viewers, Jackie and David lost their daughter, Victoria, to a drug overdose. She was just 18 years old.
The grieving parents decided to speak out about addiction and the opioid epidemic so Victoria did not die "in vain."
Following Victoria's passing, David and Jackie created the Victoria's Voice Foundation. They also published Victoria's diary entries in Victoria's Voice, and they spread further awareness in a documentary, The Princess of Versailles.
Unfortunately, the couple shares a tragic bond with Below Deck staple Captain Lee Rosbach. In the summer of 2019, Captain Lee announced that his son, Joshua Rosbach, had died at the age of 42 from an accidental overdose.
Though Captain Lee has largely remained stoic about his son's passing (he did get emotional with chief steward Francesca Rubi earlier on in Season 8), Jackie and David connected with him about the tragedies they've gone through.
Jackie shared that, when David Siegel saw Captain Lee on the bridge shortly after getting on the boat, he immediately offered his condolences. Jackie thought her group was about to "get kicked off the show" because they had been told not to bring it up.
"My husband then told Captain Lee that we lost our daughter too," Jackie said about the moment that broke the ice. "All of a sudden, they started bonding and they kept talking and talking. Captain Lee opened up, and it made him feel better to know that he wasn't alone and isolated... It helped my husband as well, from man to man, having that conversation. They're on the same level. They just bonded and talked like every night, even after everyone went to bed. It was very emotional."
She added that her husband is still "in touch" with Captain Lee, and that they forged a strong friendship on the show.
Jackie mentioned that there's another Below Deck crew member she wants to stay in contact with — because she wants to get her a job at Versailles.
The Queen of Versailles has an open job offer out to Chef Rachel Hargrove.
Though crew drama is inevitable on every season of Below Deck, given the tight quarters and the big personalities, Jackie said that her charter group wasn't privy to what was going on.
"They're very good at keeping it behind the scenes," she said about whether the issues ever made their way above deck. "We didn't feel any tension at all, but I can imagine that with Captain Lee, he's very serious. He takes his job very seriously."
While Chef Rachel Hargrove and Chief Steward Francesca Rubi fight about food during the Siegel charter (and Francesca has her own issues with stew Elizabeth Frankini), Jackie never saw or heard any of the drama go down.
In fact, she had such a positive experience with Chef Rachel and her food that she wants to hire her.
"I actually reached out to Rachel a couple of months ago because I want to hire her to be our chef at Versailles. I loved her that much. My assistant reached out to her, but she was on a job already. She said that when that job was over, maybe she'd contact us," Jackie dished. "I'm still waiting."
As for whether or not viewers can expect to see Jackie on Below Deck again, she's definitely interested.
"I loved being on Below Deck. I loved it so much I did it twice," she continued. "I would even do it a third time."
After all, an appearance on Below Deck Sailing Yacht would mean that Jackie has officially appeared on every one of Bravo's yacht-centric shows.
Below Deck airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.