Below Deck’s Tumi Mhlongo and Gabriela Barragan Almost Appeared Together on ‘Below Deck Down Under’ [Exclusive]

Who knew? Below Deck Down Under second stew Tumi Mhlongo and Below Deck Sailing Yacht second stew Gabriela Barragan are friends and almost starred together in the Australia series.

Barragan recently told Showbiz Cheat Sheet that she met Mhlongo a few years ago and they became fast friends. “I met Tumi a couple of years ago when she was hosting a podcast called Diversity in Yachting,” Barragan explained. “Then when she got cast for Below Deck Down Under she had me take over the podcast as host.”

Tumi and Gabriela almost worked together on ‘Below Deck Down Under’

Barragan said the friendship she formed in 2020 with Mhlongo could have continued on Below Deck Down Under. “I was actually cast on BDDU to replace Magda [Ziomek],” Barragan revealed. “But I was locked into another contract and couldn’t go, so they put me on Below Deck Sailing Yacht instead.” Captain Jason Chambers ultimately fired third stew Magda Ziomek on Below Deck Down Under when she seemed to be distracted by the drama going on at home with her boyfriend.

Gabriela Barragan from 'Below Deck Sailing Yacht' and Tumi Mhlongo from 'Below Deck Down Under' cast photo
Gabriela Barragan and Tumi Mhlongo |Laurent Basset/Peacock

Some Below Deck fans would love to see the stews work together. And Barragan is totally game. “Tumi and I would kill it,” she exclaimed. Adding, “Either of us can be chief or second stew and we would both easily work well together.”

Barragan shared a link to her episode with Mhlongo. The stews discussed their experience in yachting and Barragan’s journey to becoming a yachtie. They laughed about how Barragan made the career shift during the pandemic, plus they explored if Barragan’s tattoos were a hindrance in landing gigs.

Gabriela and Tumi support one another off their ‘Below Deck’ shows

Barragan and Mhlongo have also been supporting one another’s Below Deck journey on social media. “[Aesha’s] support for @TumiMhlongo is so cute and watching the finale really tugged at my heartstrings! Working with women who support one another & push each other in a positive way is really the best work environment to be in. Happy for you,” Barragan tweeted.

Always the voice of reason, Mhlongo tweeted that she didn’t understand the Gary King factor. “Okay but seriously what does everyone see in Gary??” she tweeted. Barragan, who kissed King, joked back, “Lol Guess you had to be there.”

And although Ziomek didn’t put in the same amount of work as Mhlongo, she did enjoy working with her. “I will say this … I was sad to see Magda go!” she tweeted after the episode where Ziomek was fired. “I really wish her relationship didn’t distract her, she was incredibly fun to work with.”

They wondered ‘Where are the Black people’ in yachting

During their discussion on the podcast, Mhlongo and Barragan talked about being Black women working in the yachting industry. “Being represented in something that you want to get into, it can be intimidating,” Barragan admitted on the podcast. “And then that little voice in your head is like, they probably won’t hire me anyway because I don’t look like these people. I’m not five-eight with blond hair and blue eyes.”

“So you think maybe that’s an issue because I’m not seeing any representation in any of these publications,” she added. “I’ve seen a little bit more like in certain magazines, but. it’s not enough. It’s very noticeable. Even on Instagram pages that I follow. And every time they post a photo or if they repost something that someone sent in, it’s always like a predominantly white crew. It’s not just maybe something people don’t notice, but I notice. Maybe I would have joined sooner if I saw more representation of people that look like me.”

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