Malia White made history as the first female bosun on the Below Deck franchise. She hadn’t worked on yachts prior to boarding the Sirocco as a deckhand for season 2 of Below Deck Mediterranean, but she used the time since then to work her way up in the intensely competitive industry.

According to an interview with Vulture, it was leading lady Captain Sandy Yawn who inspired Malia to follow her dreams. And now, as she returns to the Below Deck fold aboard season 5’s Wellington, the bosun feels like she’s exactly where she should be. Speaking about her aquatic ambitions, she said,

“I’ve always been drawn to work on the water, and I think after that first season, I was like, ‘Okay, this is a career change and I’m just going to go for it.’ I haven’t looked back since.”

Her comeback sparked major discussions within the franchise’s fandom, which is par for the course for any repeat star on the popular show.

Malia was eager to return to Below Deck Med for two main reasons; to work under Captain Sandy again, and to show off everything she’s learned in the intervening years.

As Malia explained to Vulture,

“Ever since [season two], I’ve continued my career. I’ve gotten my 200-ton captain’s license, and I’ve been an engineer. I’ve constantly stayed on yachts as deckhand and then worked my way up to bosun. Then I also got my PADI scuba instructor certificate, so I can teach scuba diving.”

It’s been a long road, but Malia is passionate about a career on the water.

She’s already proven her chops as a rescue diver, too, jumping into the ocean to assist a guest in difficulty during a season 5 episode.

Her drama with Chef Adam Glick, with whom she previously had had a brief and rocky relationship, is far behind her, too. Malia is now happily settled down with Chef Tom Checketts, who is also the new chef on Below Deck: Med.
Although she’s looking to put past issues behind her, Malia came under fire for making a lengthy pronouncement on Instagram after castmate Hannah Ferrier was caught with Valium on the boat.

In a since-deleted Instagram post, Malia defended her actions on an episode of the show during which it was implied she told on Ferrier. She argued in the post,

“Reporting any incident especially one we witness is all of our job. Yachting is my career I’m not here to worry about plot twists & TV drama I’m here to do my job and learn how to become a Captain.”

While some fans believe Malia is in cahoots with Captain Sandy to get Ferrier kicked off the yacht, Malia insists that things are great between the three women. Speaking to Vulture, she said,

“In a way, I felt even more confident, because I know Hannah, I know captain Sandy, so I expected the level of support I would get. I was very excited to have us three come together and show people that women can have these leadership roles and they can do it together.”

Fans who watched Malia on Season 2 of Below Deck Med will remember that she ended up falling for bosun Wes Walton. The pair dated for a while after the charter season ended, but the relationship ultimately did not work out.

While the romance wasn’t meant to be, at least Malia got a good friendship out of it. She told Bravo’s Daily Dish in early 2020 that she and Wes still keep in touch. She shared,

“He has had some amazing yachting experiences recently. He’s been traveling all over the world. We’re still good friends. He keeps me updated with his travels, and I tell him about mine.”

Wes apparently even gets along with Malia’s current boyfriend, Tom Checketts. As Malia recalled,

“Him and my boyfriend actually hung out in New Zealand, but I wasn’t there, which is funny. Small world, yachting is.”

Malia may have broken ground as the Below Deck franchise’s first female bosun, but the journey hasn’t always been an easy one for her. As she told Refinery29, from her perspective, misogyny remains rampant in the yachting industry. As she puts it,

“Everyone comes from such different backgrounds, culturally, so there’s such a huge learning curve on boats anyways. And then you mix up genders and different gender roles and leadership roles and it gets even more interesting.”

The impact she’s made as Below Deck’s first female bosun isn’t lost on her, and she hopes that it’s part of a bigger change. She said,

“I think it’s something that people are ready to see and I think that it’s a good representation of where the industry is going because a lot more females are starting to step up everywhere, hopefully.” Watch the video to learn The Truth About Below Deck Med’s Malia White!

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