Below Deck star Francesca Rubi has opened up about replacing Kate Chastain as chief stewardess for season eight.
Kate announced she was leaving the cast at the beginning of the year, after six years in charge.
Fans were given their first look at Francesca in action as the new series of the boat-based reality show set sail on Monday – with the newbie thrown in at the deep end.
Chatting to Metro.co.uk about what we can expect from the new episodes, she lifted the lid on the expectation of stepping into such big shoes.
‘I am definitely an honest and open person, so I went in there, I joined the boat as myself,’ she told us.
‘It’s a difficult one because Kate was there for like six years, so five or six seasons. She’s got an already established relationship with the world and the following of Below Deck.
‘Any person that went into that position would have comparisons. But I just went in there not thinking about that. I just went in there doing the best that I can, as my honest self.’
Francesca joined the Below Deck franchise at a tense time, with the chief stews of both the original series, and the Mediterranean spin-off leaving.
Hannah Ferrier was famously sacked midway through season five, after a drama over having drugs on board – leading to intense backlash from viewers.
The newcomer revealed she has spoken to both ‘briefly’, but wasn’t too worried about being compared to either of her counterparts, as she was expecting it.
‘I have spoken to both of them briefly. Hannah lives not far from me – she just had a beautiful baby,’ she continued. ‘I have spoken to Kate more recently actually, just now after the first episode launched.
‘But I wasn’t ever worried, I knew that it was a factor that I was going to be compared definitely to Kate, maybe not so much Hannah, but I was never worried about being compared to anyone.
‘I am my own person and it was inevitable that that was going to happen, but I was never worried.
‘I just went in there as myself, that’s all you’ve got to do. You learn things from chief stews but you’re all in the same boat. You’ve all got the same skill set, you just put your own flair on it.’
Well, Francesca has nothing to worry about, as fans had a great reaction to her debut – despite the star being a little ‘overwhelmed’ in the first episode.
‘The feedback has been really, really lovely,’ she added. ‘It’s really, really nice.
‘That’s all I can hope for, really, just just people being really understanding and welcoming.
‘Change is good, change is shocking at first but I’m glad everyone’s warming to it a little bit.’
All seasons and every episode of Below Deck are available on HayU, with season 8 dropping weekly from November 3.
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