Exclusive: Rhylee Gerber From ‘Below Deck’ Responds to Sexism in the Yachting Industry
Rhylee Gerber from Below Deck made quite a splash on the yachting reality show this season. The fierce deckhand was often the odd woman out among her male-dominated exterior crew. Gerber always spoke her mind, which sometimes got her into trouble and rubbed fans the wrong way.
But Gerber’s combative approach was born from frustration and the desire to learn, she recently told The Cheat Sheet. She is still a fishing boat captain in Alaska but her adventuresome spirit brought her to Florida to work with a friend who is an artist. Gerber teased that viewers shouldn’t count her out for another Below Deck season either. We may (hopefully) get to see more of Gerber in the near future.
While she may have come off as being frustrated and even argumentative on the show, Gerber isn’t exactly the hot-headed deckhand that viewers saw. So what does Gerber think about her time on the show? Plus, what does she say about sexism in the industry, especially about an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter about Captain Lee Rosbach?
Gerber is actually pretty funny
She appeared on Below Deck to do a job but often found herself in the middle of a verbal smackdown with coworkers. But when The Cheat Sheet spoke with Gerber, she was personable and downright funny. Her infectious laugh and easygoing personality were definitely gems that may have sometimes been missed on the show.
She laughed at a lot of the moments she had on the boat, fully able to poke fun at herself. “Sometimes my mouth gets me into trouble,” she laughed. “But I was 100% authentic. And any emotion I had in life I had on the show.” She adds that although the cameras often caught the arguments, the crew had plenty of times where they were laughing and joking too.
Gerber doesn’t take herself seriously, but she is very serious about work. “I was there to learn,” she says. “Sure I’m a fishing boat captain but yachting is different. And I ask a lot of questions, but that’s because I want to learn how to do everything the right way and get better at my job.”
She says that lack of communication created more drama
Bottom line is there was a total lack of communication from the bosuns on the show. “It was never a matter of disrespecting the rank, it was more about being totally incompetent in their rank position,” she says about why she questioned her boss. “And then treating me like dirt.”
Plus, “We all saw the incompetence with Chandler in managing the team,” Gerber recalls. “But when it came down to me and Ross, it was 100% his inability to communicate effectively.” She adds she had requested a number of times to be shifted from working late nights to mornings so she could drop anchor. But neither bosun Chandler Brooks nor Ross Inia made that happen for her. Meanwhile, when deckhand Tyler Rowland joined the team, he was given the opportunity, Gerber adds.
After deckhand Ashton Pienaar was yanked off the swim deck by a rope, Rosbach told Inia that no one should be on the swim deck. However, when Gerber was working on the swim deck, instead of relaying to Gerber the specific instructions, Inia kept telling her to just move to a different location. “Then when I’m am in the wheelhouse getting my ass reamed by Captain for Ross not communicating, I was totally expecting Ross to step up and take the blame for not informing me of the new protocol. He never did that so I was very pissed at him.”
Does she find the industry to be sexist?
Did Gerber find the environment to be sexist while on Below Deck? “My immediate thoughts during filming wasn’t that they are treating me differently because I’m a woman,” she remarks. “But afterward I did notice that after Tyler came on, maybe there was something to this. I have muscles, I’m strong. I mean, I lift bigger fish than these jackasses and they’re not really utilizing me.”
Most recently, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote an op-ed in The Hollywood Reporter about sexism and racism in the public eye. Abdul-Jabaar called out Rosbach’s comments to the male deckhands about working like “girls.” He also likened the comment to “the gender-bias equivalent of wearing blackface without realizing that it’s offensive.”
Since Gerber was also on deck, did she find Rosbach’s comments to be sexist? “When it came to Captain, I didn’t have a lot of interaction with him during filming,” she recalls. “But regarding any comments like ‘hey ladies get off your ass,’ I never took offense to it because I knew it was in jest. Captain gets a lot of attention for his one-liners and a lot of people find them funny. It’s not like I cracked up at it but I didn’t find it offensive. To call someone a girl, in my opinion, they should be lucky to be as badass as me.”
In fact, she likened the “girls” comment to one of many Captain Lee-isms, which she pointed out were also male-based too. “Along the same lines, no one said a word when he said there were no swinging dicks on board too,” she laughs. “I mean, that totally excludes me, right?”
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