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  Windy City Times

David Alonson Bradberry goes 'Below Deck'
NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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David Alonson Bradberry has become the latest openly gay Bravo reality star, sailing to new adventures in the television series Below Deck. The show follows a group of crew members working and living on board the Honor, a 164-foot yacht. Drama ensues when personalities clash and clients begin demanding special treatment.

Before becoming a deckhand Bradberry served as a Marine Embassy Guard providing security for former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He worked for the Trevor Project and Toys for Tots, and recently appeared at a GLAAD event in support of good causes.

After the military he filmed a few hardcore videos for and met his boyfriend, adult movie star Trevor Knight, who was recently featured on Below Deck in an episode where they become engaged to marry. Windy City Times called him in California right before the celebratory scene aired.

Windy City Times: Hi, Dave. You go by Dave or David?

David Bradberry: Either one; David seems more formal.

WCT: Where are you from?

DAVID BRADBERRY: I am from all over the place. I was born in Louisiana but we moved around a lot growing up. I spent a few years in Oklahoma. I graduated high school in Texas and joined the Marines.

WCT: Were you in the Marines during "Don't Ask, Don't Tell?"

DAVID BRADBERRY: Oh, absolutely. I joined in 2004 right after school. The policy didn't really affect me personally but it did affect a lot of my friends, people who were really close to me. I actually saw two or three friends get kicked out under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Fortunately I was blessed with very tolerant units. I wasn't out in front of crowds waving rainbow flags on the tarmac but I never really hid who I was and I think people respected that, once they realized I wasn't going to chase anyone into the shower.

WCT: What led you to Bravo's Below Deck?

DAVID BRADBERRY: I was looking for a job and just came across it. I had been living in LA for a couple of years. I had done a few independent films, Bite Marks, E Ticket Ride, and a few other small films. Those didn't really pay the bills and I didn't want to wait tables or start dancing on boxes in West Hollywood. This came across my path and I jumped on it. I was excited to find that Bravo thought I was interesting enough to be on TV.

WCT: Was the cruise set up to be a reality show?

DAVID BRADBERRY: I am not sure how everybody was found but I can say that almost everybody was working in the yachting community prior to the show taking place. It is a docudrama in the sense that we were the real working crew of the boat, we weren't actors. I do have some acting experience but I wasn't acting on the boat. They really had me working. I thought I was going to just show up and it would be The Love Boat and I would be sipping cocktails with Housewives! [Both laugh.] We were definitely put to work. Eddie Lucas I think had been working in the yachting community for a long time. Sam Orme didn't have much experience, her family owns a yacht. I was in the Marines. Everyone was very well suited to be on a yacht.

WCT: Tell our readers about your job on the boat.

DAVID BRADBERRY: I was the lowest man on the totem pole. I was the second deckhand. I wasn't in charge of anything. I was responsible for the exterior of the boat. Our job was to more or less keep the boat clean, and keep the guests happy and safe when they were on the boat. In addition we were in charge of all of the water toys, jet skis, speed boats and scuba equipment. Any time the guests were outside of their cabins they became our responsibility. If they wanted to go to shore or leave the boat we were there to facilitate anything that they needed.

WCT: It seems like we are seeing more of that with the guests leaving to boat for excursions.

DAVID BRADBERRY: Absolutely. This type of vacation is not tied to a yacht necessarily. It is whatever the guests want to do. The yacht is their home base. Fortunately it is a moving home base and they can pretty much do whatever they want.

WCT: I didn't know about tipping on charter boats.

DAVID BRADBERRY: We get paid industry standard, which is probably the same rate as what you find at a gourmet restaurant so tips are not mandatory but they are definitely encouraged and accepted. Generally, it is not surprising to get tipped more than your month's salary in a single charter.

WCT: Did you find the tips were good with your job?

DAVID BRADBERRY: It depended. [Laughs] In the first episode unfortunately that charter ended quite abruptly. When the guests were asked to leave we forfeited our tips. Again tips are not mandatory. One guest didn't tip at all. Some guests tipped abysmally, almost insultingly at one percent. In retrospect it makes me thing I didn't do a good job or maybe I upset them. We are always at a hundred percent or at least strive for it but it isn't always appreciated.

WCT: How was it working with the other crew members? It seems like there are some difficult people on the boat.

DAVID BRADBERRY: There were a lot of big personalities right from get-go. Everyone had big personalities and that is not just the guests. Each guest was special in their own way and had their own drama. Sometimes it carried below deck. We created a mess of things of things amongst each other. Fortunately we did a good job of keeping that below deck. As far as I know none of the guests really saw what was going on.

Sparks are starting to fly this season. To be honest. Eddie, Aleks and I were above deck cleaning and doing our jobs when all of this craziness was going on. There were cat fights left and right! The tension is definitely building.

WCT: The preview looks like there is a fire on the ship.

DAVID BRADBERRY: There is a lot of excitement. This season will be something to tune into. Watching it is interesting. A lot of it I didn't know was happening.

WCT: How long were you on the boat?

DAVID BRADBERRY: I believe it was 13 weeks.

WCT: What else can audiences look forward to on Below Deck?

DAVID BRADBERRY: All sorts of things. There is a wedding on the boat and lots of romances.

There is one charter group comprised of a husband and wife that had recently separated. They brought their new romantic interests and their daughter. It was petrifying from the very beginning.

It is an exciting show no matter who you are—young, old, male, female, gay, straight. I think there is something to watch and enjoy about Below Deck. There is no other show like this out there right now that I am aware of at least.

WCT: Any plans for you to be on Watch What Happens Live?

DAVID BRADBERRY: I would love to go on that show. I guess we will find out. I am sure the show will do well and Andy Cohen would love to have a couple of cast members on his show eventually.

WCT: Have you been to Chicago?

DAVID BRADBERRY: I love Chicago. We have been there a few times. I am hoping to make it there for Market Days.

WCT: See you then and I will be watching what happens on the show in the meantime.

Below Deck sails every Monday on the Bravo Channel.

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