Below Deck Makes History With First Gay Chief Steward

Yachties, it’s time to make queer history! Season 10 of Bravo TV’s Below Deck is making history with the first male, LGBTQIA+ Chief Steward Fraser Olender.

Below Deck’s tenth season is already making waves in the uniquely waveless region of Saint Lucia. Why? Because Captain Lee Rosbach has hired, for the first time in franchise history, a male chief stew.

Olender, who joined Below Deck in 2021 and is Saint David’s former second stew, is stepping into the role for the first time. As he told Bravo’s The Daily Dish, the role is not something he takes lightly. “I feel so honored. I can’t quite believe it still,” he said. “I think that I’ve always dreamed [of] walking in Kate [Chastain]’s footsteps, and I feel like I’m finally doing that.”

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He added that he’s been working toward the promotion to chief stew since he joined the series, saying, “I had manifested this when I did Season 9. I know it sounds ridiculous, but when I start something, I need to do it 100 percent; I need to get to the top as quick as I can. And it kind of fell into place with enough hard work.”

Fraser Olender is Making Queer History

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In addition to being the first male chief stew on Bravo, Olender is also making queer history on the show – as a gay man, that’s another Bravo TV first. However, Fraser isn’t the first gay man to appear on Below Deck. Instead, that honor goes to season six cast member steward Josiah Carter, who recently announced his engagement to fiancé Michael Groves in February 2022.

Captain Lee has nothing but positive things to say about Olender’s work ethic (and Carter’s too, for that matter), encouraging other members of the LGBTQIA+ community to go for their yachtie dreams. “Fraser desperately wants to do his job correctly. It shows the viewing public and a lot of other people out there that if you want to be a Chief Steward, pull the trigger [and] go for it! Fraser laid the ground work for you,” Lee told PRIDE.

Check out the full interview with Captain Lee below for more details about the first male chief stew on Below Deck, airing Mondays at 8/7 central time and then the next day on Peacock and the Bravo TV app.