Chicago local Nico Scholly is on board for this season of Bravo's Below Deck. This series documents the crew onboard an $11-million luxury yacht and the drama that unfolds.
Windy City Times interviewed gay cast member Dave Bradberry back in 2013.
Scholly ( nickname: "Nico Freako" ) promises plenty of hijinks this season, and brings a strong background of working on yachts.
Windy City Times: Hi, Nico. Are you Italian?
Nico Scholly: NoEnglish, Scottish, and Mexican.
WCT: Do you grow up in Chicago?
NS: I grew up in the northwest suburbs. After the show I just moved back and I live up by Montrose Beach.
I went to Fort Lauderdale and did yachting for five years. This last year I did the show. Right now I do freelance work with yachting and I just graduated from real-estate school at the Chicago Association of Realtors on South Michigan Avenue. I'm taking my state exam this week.
WCT: Maybe you could do a Chicago version of Below Deck?
NS: That would be awesome.
WCT: What was your journey to being on Below Deck?
NS: Someone called me asking me to be on the show previous seasons. I turned it down. It looked like fun with great people. The whole experience looked like something new. I am all about jumping into something. That is how I got into yachting. It was a fresh start to travel around the world and make money. This is the same thing.
WCT: Are you happy with how the episodes turned out?
NS: I was overly surprised and happy. Just wait for more episodes to come. There is so much more drama and fighting this season, hooking up, friendships, and a lot of screaming.
WCT: You seemed very in control from what I saw so far.
NS: Absolutely. I like to have a good time but when you hear repetitive stuff from your senior deck hand then you find out where the problems are. Captain Lee hands out a plane ticket pretty early in the season. We get a new crew member after that. There are a lot of complications this season.
WCT: I saw some drag in the preview.
NS: This season there is quite a bit of drag, actually. There are a few big surprises in that area.
WCT: I also saw some naked [men].
NS: There is a lot of nudity, to say the least.
WCT: I interviewed Dave Bradberry awhile ago for Below Deck, so this show has been going on a long time.
NS: This is season four of Below Deck, and there was also one season of Below Deck Mediterranean.
WCT: Did you have much experience in the past on yachts?
NS: I had quite a lot of experience working on yachts in the past for five years now. I was on one yacht for a solid two years and I really learned a lot of stuff. Just because my title is deck hand, you might find out I have a little more experience than others. That may become a problem…
WCT: What does a deck hand do?
NS: In a nutshell, [there are] cleaning, driving boats and taking of every guest's needs.
WCT: That could be a lot.
NS: It could be. Guests can be very needy. They said we had some of the neediest guests in all of the seasons of Below Deck.
WCT: Before this show, viewers may not have known that how tough a job it is.
NS: Absolutely not. Below Deck has gotten bigger every year. People are tuned in with record numbers for the Mediterranean season. I guarantee with this season that with everything going on we will have more than that.
WCT: This is a different level than restaurants with the pleasing of guests.
NS: Exactly. It is not like we can cut them off from drinking, because they pay lots of money. At a certain point we have to stop and pour water instead of beer.
The guests needs can be anything and that is how we make our tips by doing everything that they want.
WCT: Tell our readers about your practical jokes.
NS: Whether I am sober or drinking, I am always the same person. That is why they call me "Freako." I like to get loose, baby!
It is possible to have fun while working and I believe in that. I think we can be professional but the fun should never stop. I can always kid around and the jokes are relentless.
WCT: Have you ever been in trouble from a practical joke?
NS: I have never taken it too far. I was alright on the show but I misbehaved a few nights but we are all human and make mistakes. I was having a great time.
WCT: Who were your past celebrity clients?
NS: I can't say too much but we have filmed music videos onboard of ships that I have worked on. There was also an A-List celebrity party down in Miami.
WCT: Are you going on Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live show?
NS: I would love to. His show is the one I am most interested in doing. He's a legend.
WCT: What do you want to accomplish by being on Below Deck?
NS: I am interested in doing something new whether it is going into acting or just being on a few more seasons of Below Deck. The possibilities are endless.
WCT: So even with real estate, you might still sail again?
NS: You never know. Right now I want to stay around family and friends, then hopefully do a few charters. We will see where Below Deck takes me and hopefully be on the next season. I am living in the moment right now and walking on air!
Below Deck sets a course for adventure every Tuesday at 8 p.m. central on Bravo TV.