Below Deck’s Adrienne Gang joined Julie Perry in Indianapolis recently for a press tour for The Insiders Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess. Thanks to the wonderful Andi Hauser and Tracy Forner for having Adrienne Gang and Julie on your show, Indy Style, to discuss Julie’s book and its connection to Adrienne and her BRAVO show, Below Deck. This was such a fun interview and we sincerely appreciate both your interest AND your help in getting the word out about this fabulous and rewarding career option of working aboard luxury megayachts.
Transcript from the Interview
Tracy >> On this show, we like to talk to people and go behind the scenes, but today we are going “below deck,” because we have one of the stars, Adrienne, from Below Deck, Bravo TV’s hit series. We also have Julie Perry, she’s a local author, of The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess. Ladies, welcome.
Julie & Adrienne >> Hi. How are you?
Tracy >> Honestly, if you had no exposure to the show, I’m guessing a lot of people don’t know this title exists—this job title.
Julie Perry >> Oh, yes, believe me, we often get accused of working on cruise ships, which we’d like to remain slightly different. We would vacation on them, probably, given our budgets… But when it comes to working on them, we like to remain in a different category.
Andi >> What’s the biggest misconception about that career path: working on a yacht?
Adrienne Gang >> People think we’re on vacation all the time, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I mean, we do get to enjoy some of the amazing places that we get to travel to, but a majority of the time, you’re looking at it out of a porthole—you’re looking at it out of a window, and seeing it and watching the guests enjoy themselves.
Andi >> So why do this line of work?
Julie Perry >> Well, it’s those perks, I think: the travel, definitely. The work is really hard, and I think you see that on Below Deck, that they definitely put their hard work in… You’re cleaning, you’re serving guests: you’re in service mode, so it is a service job. But the perks that come along with it: the money is tremendous, the tips usually end up being a good thing. And the travel, the destinations, and the people you people. I think that’s another thing, too, that when people think about the super-rich and the people who would own a superyacht or megayacht like this, then they think there are probably only one or two of those in existence. But, believe it or not, there are over 6,000 megayachts over 80 feet in the world today. And so, when you consider that each one of those has usually 12, sometimes upwards of 18-20 crew, then that’s a lot of jobs to fill.
Adrienne Gang >> There are over 400,000 “yachties” on the planet.
Julie Perry >> Right, and there are positions available as crew, everything from stewardesses and deckhands (those would be entry-level positions), and then you have chefs, as well as engineers. Then you work your way up to captain, mate, chief engineer, chief steward/ess; and the salaries in those higher-level positions are outstanding, and then you have the tips, too.
Tracy >> There you go. Well, a little different element for you. Great stories obviously—enough to compile into a book—but to be doing it, to be a yachtie, taking care of responsibilities with cameras in your face, and the dynamics of other crew members, good and bad… That’s got to be a little —
Adrienne Gang >> It was a challenge. I mean, you know, I think that this—everybody who is on the show has some maritime experience. Some don’t have a ton, so it’s a learning curve. And you’re learning while you’re working, amongst having cameras in your face. I literally would wake up, and like there would be a camera right there. The first couple days I wasn’t on the boat anymore filming, I would wake up and do one of these and make sure nobody was watching.
Tracy >> Julie, you’re out of the business now, but what made you decide, “you know what, there’s enough here for a book.” For a good, I wouldn’t call it a “tell-all,” but just a behind-the-scenes look, probably disspelling some of the myths and rumors, too.
Julie Perry >> Sure. Believe it or not, I was a yacht stewardess back in 1999, 2000, 2001. So I’m a has-been, I say. But in 2003, it was Indianapolis Monthly that wrote an article about me: “Hoosier Turned Yacht Stewardess.” And the next thing you knew, people were calling me from all over the city, asking “how do I do this?” or “how does my kid do this?” And so I started coaching individuals one-on-one, sort of an unpaid career consultant. And after I started getting e-mails from these girls, and living vicariously through their time at sea for something that I dearly missed, I thought, you know what, it’s time to put this on paper and into book form so that more people can figure it out. So 2006 is when I wrote the first edition. And, I mean, hundreds of girls. I’ve got emails you wouldn’t believe. I get the emails and then I follow a lot of them on Facebook, too.
Andi >> Now that’s how you guys became friends? …On Facebook?
Adrienne Gang >> Right, well I actually read her book years and years ago… You know, I had gotten into the industry as a chef, and so I didn’t know much about the stewardessing aspect of it. I thought that it was a pretty common sense job. But there are a lot of things you don’t know you don’t know. And so finally I had a captain that had mercy on me and handed me this book and said, “Check this out, because this will probably answer a lot of the questions you have.” So, this has been my guide, and I’ve given it to every single person that has come into this industry new, that has either worked with me or for me, or on other boats, to help them as well, because it’s such a great guide. So when she said that she was writing the second edition of the book—she and I had linked up on Twitter right before the show came out and just kinda started a banter back and forth… And I said, “You know what, if you’re doing that, I would love to help you out.” And I ended up writing the Foreword for the second book.
Tracy >> That’s great. Now you’re in town for a couple days. Where can people track you down while you’re here?
Julie Perry >> Tonight from 5:00 to 8:00, we’ll be at the Barnes & Noble at the Shops at the River Crossing in Keystone, signing books. And again, Adrienne wrote the Foreword, so we’ll both be there to sign. And then at 8:30, we’ll be at The Ale Emporium at 86th and Allisonville doing a viewing party. So anyone that’s a fan of the show, come out and watch Below Deck with us. We’ll have books to give away. And tomorrow we’ll be down in Bloomington at the Barnes & Noble down there signing books from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. So all those Indiana University students that are back to school, if you’re not really sure what you want to do after college, or you think you might want to take a few years off, that’s what I did—I did it for three years and have memories to last a lifetime.
Tracy >> Well we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us Landlubbers here today. Well, she said “Broad Ripple.”
Julie Perry >> No doubt. Last night I said, “well, this is the closest you are going to get to water: there’s the Canal.”
Thanks again for Indy Style’s Andi Hauser and Tracy Forner for helping Julie get the word out to future yachties in her hometown of Indianapolis (and beyond!). And we were thrilled to have Adrienne Gang here in Indy for several days.