It’s no secret that we here at 10thoughtsblog have been fans of Tiffany Copeland since the moment we saw her swigging wine straight out of the bottle. Over the course of the season, she’s proven herself to be the most down to earth crew member with the best attitude and wittiest snark. We’re also pretty sure that her weekly BelowDeckMed drinking games are a plot to rid the world of drunks in an effort to hoard all the booze for herself. Just a theory.
Thanks to how awesomely accessible Tiffany’s made herself to fans, we’ve gotten to know her a little bit over social media but it wasn’t enough! We needed #MoreTiffany and were thrilled when she accepted our request for an interview. I hope you guys enjoy and send some love to our favorite @nautiyachty on twitter because she definitely didn’t have to put as much thought and effort into this as she did.
Our questions are in bold with her answers below in regular typeface.
Also – I know you won’t, but don’t forget to tune into Below Deck Med tonight at 9pm!
Let’s get some basics out of the way first. What’s your full name, age, hometown and the town you feel most at home:
Tiffany Copeland. 30. Hometown is Jupiter, Florida. I feel at home in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
Top 3 cities outside of the US you’ve ever traveled to:
Semuc Champey, Guatemala. Caye caulker, Belize. Monteverde, Costa Rica.
What’s your back story with boating?
My boating career kind of started while I worked on the BP oil spill as an oil sampler. I was out on boats every day and made friends with some of the boat captains that I worked with regularly. I knew they were making a ton of money and I always kept that in the back of my head, but my passion of the ocean was greater. I then went and worked in the Florida Keys as a marine science summer camp instructor. I learned to drive a boat, took students out snorkeling and diving, teaching conservation and I loved that. But I was making $500 a MONTH. I went back to my home town of Jupiter and found a place that did kayak and paddle board tours. I’d teach conservation to guests and got paid decent. I also had time to volunteer and do marine mammal rescues. A friend from college told me he was working on dredges as a biologist and making a good living, so I tried it out. I was able to make enough in two to three weeks, that I would take a month off after and go travel. But after two years, and a ton of back to back winter storms, I had had enough. I came back to south Florida, went on a blind date with a South African who was in yachting and learned about the industry. My background in boating really helped out with getting a job! I freelanced for a little bit before landing a job as a deck/stew. I quickly realized I liked the exterior a lot more. Can you blame me?
Definitely not. How did you get involved with the show?
I was on vacation in Mexico after working almost a year straight on my last boat. I had left a list for my captain to hire some day workers to complete. We would be leaving two days after I got back to sail from Florida to the Northeast. He had 3 weeks to find someone. Two days before I came back, I asked if it was done. He told me “no.” My job was hectic enough because we didn’t have enough crew to keep up with our demanding owner and aging boat. So I had a “glass” of wine in my hotel lobby and was on Facebook, trying not to cry because I was so stressed out. Adrienne from season 1 posted about the show, so I decided to contact her. I was like, “well, everyone always says I should be on this show, why not?!” Next thing I know, I started getting a lot of phone calls and emails. The rest is history!
Are you a fan of reality TV? If so, favorite show? If not, favorite non-reality TV show?
I don’t have a ton of time to watch tv, but I always liked Below Deck. It was always my guilty pleasure. I love pretty much anything on Comedy Central, especially Workaholics and Broad City. Also The League on FX. I of course love watching the Steelers!! I also recently got into Vanderpump Rules and Southern Charm.
Let’s dive into your time on the show. In the first episode you told Hannah that you preferred deckhand work, why is that?
Because scrubbing toilets sucks! And I was secretly hoping she’d let me go outside some.
Is your goal still to become a captain?
Hell yes!! I seem to have A.D.D. with jobs, but yachting has kept me entertained because there’s always something new to do, or fix or a new place to see when we have down time.
I have my license now, and my current Captain has been really great about teaching me how to drive!
The first episode or two made it seem like you might be the “I’m too good for this” character on the show, à la Sam Orme from season 1. For example, Sheknows.com had a headline that week that read “Tiffany Copeland should get off her high horse”. Were you concerned after episode 1 came out that you might be a getting set up as a show villain?
I know I’m a hard worker and I do my best to get along with everyone, so I wasn’t that worried about it. I was a little shocked that I came off that way, but I think the viewers can see that their first impressions of this crew have probably all changed since the first few episodes.
One of the coolest parts about Below Deck is that since season 2 they’ve had a female deckhand. Except for this one gender role cross over, there seems to be a clear division on the boat between guys and girls (Stews & Deckies). Even female deckhand Jen seemed upset about being relegated to “girl work”. What are your thoughts on sexism in yachting? Are there ever any male stews?
Sexism is huge in yachting. But this may stem from the fact that most yacht owners are male, thus wanting girls working the interior because they are a little nicer to look at. But there is a clear divide between interior and exterior. On smaller boats, it’s easy for guys and girls to be “deck/stews.” I think a lot of captains also want males outside because you do need to be strong. A lot of times, guys will look at me right before I pick something up and ask if I want help, which I’m sure most of it is just them being chivalrous. But I almost always decline and then they are shocked that I was able to pick up whatever it was. On the other side, I’ve never worked with a male stew, but they most definitely exist. I toured a boat in Fort Lauderdale a few months ago that was completely male crew. The wife didn’t want any competition on board.
Your relationship with Chief Stew Hannah was very rocky at the start. Why do you think that was?
I came from a smaller, privately owned boat with no charter experience, and mostly deck experience. Going into a crazy charter season, you need a very strong crew, inside and out. So I had a lot to learn in a short period of time. She also didn’t have much time to guide me, so I had to figure most of it out on my own. This frustrated both of us.
By the 3rd or 4th episode your relationship with Hannah had drastically improved. What made it improve so quickly?
I’m a pretty quick learner, so that relieved some stress from both of us. I also know how to put my head down and WORK and not talk back… Unlike some other crew members.
Speaking of other crew members, do you feel like Julia has been leading Bobby on, or is he seeing something that isn’t there?
Julia and I have a lot in common regarding this. We mostly have male friends. Being nice can come off as flirting. But she told him from the get go that she had a boyfriend. I can’t blame Bobby for trying!
There have been a couple of love triangles over the course of the season (You, Ben, Bryan & Hannah, Ben, Bobby); is it tempting to get into a relationship with a crewmate because of how isolated the crew becomes from the outside world (live together/ work together)? And also, who’s the biggest flirt on the boat?
Flirting helps pass the time. And it can also work to your advantage. I’ll flirt with anyone if it means they will help me fold laundry! But I wouldn’t get in a relationship with someone I worked with unless we made it very clear that there needs to be a defined line between business and pleasure. Maybe it would be a little easier if we were in different departments. I think the biggest flirt on the boat is Hannah.
The evolution of your relationship with Bryan has been interesting. You guys went from flirting to an almost-hookup in the hot tub where you shut him down and then we saw very little interaction between the two of you going forward. What’s your relationship like with him now?
I actually hang out with him the most from the show because he lives close. He’s not a bad guy, but I don’t stick around if he starts drinking a lot.
What was it like to watch that hot tub episode where Bryan was crass and lewd, to say the least? Has he apologized?
My jaw dropped. I didn’t remember everything he had said to me until I watched it all over again. I just remembered it was inappropriate. Seeing what he said to the guys about me to was also shocking. He did apologize later that day, and several times since that episode aired.
Bryan has also gotten some criticism for the way he has treated Jen this season. Out of curiosity, how important is it for a deckhand to know how to tie a bowline knot and do all the other deckhands know how to tie one or do you feel like Bryan was singling Jen out?
A bowline is really important to know because it can be used a lot, and it’s one of the strongest knots that’s also easy to undo. When I was working in the States, I almost never needed it. Now that I’m working in the Mediterranean, I use it daily. It has a lot to do with the types of docks you’re dealing with. In the states we have a lot of cleats to tie off to. In the Med, it’s chains and giant bollards of all different shapes and sizes. I’m not sure if Bobby or Danny know how to tie a bowline or not. We should have a competition! I do think Bryan singled Jen out, but I think that’s because she claimed to have so much experience.
Speaking of Bryan & Jen, later in the season when you and Jen are in your room, Jen tells you that she hates Bryan and you say you hate him too. Now that you are watching the season instead of living it, are you still TeamJen? What do you think both of them could have done to create a better work relationship?
At that point, I didn’t like him for a different reason (I.e. The hot tub scene). But I also wanted to keep the peace in my room. If you don’t get along with your roommate, and there’s nowhere else to go, you’re in for a lonnnnng season. I think if Jen tied a few bowlines for Bryan, he would have backed off. She’s clearly good at everything else. Sometimes you just need to appease your boss to keep the peace.
Inarguably, the villain or the “Rocky” of the season has been Danny. Do you feel like he has been misrepresented on the show? How palpable is Hannah, Bryan, and Bobby’s frustration with him on the boat? Did it make sense at the time to you or did you feel like he was being picked on? Has watching the show changed your opinion at all?
I was Team Danny all season. He would always come and confide in me about how everyone was picking on him. I’d stand up for him if I saw him get picked on even! Now that I’m watching everyone’s side, I feel like a fool for believing him. Every one of us gave him advice. He never listened. But he kept getting away with it, so he never learned.
Captain Mark has gotten some criticism for being too lax on punishments, specifically regarding Danny. What are your thoughts and do you feel like any of Danny’s actions over the course of the season should have resulted in him getting terminated? If so, why do you think he wasn’t fired?
I do think that Captain Mark was a little too lax with Danny because replacing crew with short notice isn’t easy, especially where we were, but it’s not impossible. I think if we were based in France, Danny would have been gone by the second charter. There’s plenty of eager deckhands begging for work there.
What are your relationships like with the crew now? Who do you keep in contact with and who have you lost touch with?
I talk to pretty much everyone except Danny, Jen and Julia. I’m really close with Bobby, Bryan and Hannah. I’ve hung out with Ben a few times when he’s home in Fort Lauderdale as well. And I’ve seen Mark a few times, but I’d love it if we chatted more.
If you could draft a Fantasy Below Deck crew, who would on it?
Chief Stew: Hannah
3 Deckhands: Connie, Kelley, Bobby
2 Stews: Amy and Julia
What’s the best part about being a yachty?
I don’t pay rent, I don’t pay for food or toiletries, and I get to see the world… From a porthole.
Would you join Season 2 of Below Deck Med if they asked you back? Even as a stew?
I would do another season because I liked the challenge… But not as a stew. I’d rather be a deckhand, even though I’m over qualified now.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to keep my job as first mate and keep learning everything I can until it’s time for me to start running my own boat.
Thank you so much Tiffany! You’ve been awesome to watch and we can’t wait to see what the last few episodes of the season holds for you!
All photos taken from Tiffany’s Instagram where you all should also be following her! https://www.instagram.com/nautiyachty/
If you want to learn more about Tiffany and the rest of the Below Deck Med crew, visit BravoTV.com
This interview with Tiffany Copeland was conducted by Liz and is the exclusive property of 10thoughtsblog.com. Please link back to us if you plan to share or quote. In other words, be cool my reality tv lovin homies…be cool