Filming a reality TV show can be tough — but for Below Deck: Sailing Yacht star Jenna MacGillivray, dealing with the haters is even tougher. She faced some seriously harsh criticism as the show was airing, and now she exclusively tells In Touch how she handles all the negative feedback.
“The stuff that people write is extremely vile,” Jenna shares. “It’s hard for me because it’s [about] the way that I’m depicted on the show — it’s not who I am as a person. So it’s very hard to defend myself.” The chief stewardess feels like she has “no power” to set the record straight when a “certain persona has been presented” that doesn’t represent who she actually is.
That’s not to say she thinks she’s perfect. The Bravo personality “definitely” has some regrets about how she handled herself on the show. “I’m very direct, and I do pride myself on my communication, but I think, at times, when I feel frustrated with somebody, I get on the defense,” she admits. “I don’t think I ever spoke in a derogatory way … [but] if I were to go back, I would be a little bit softer in my tone.”
However, she thinks claims she was “bullying” anyone are “absurd.” Though she may have criticized her coworkers’ attitudes or how they were doing their work, she never took pot-shots by insulting anyone’s character or appearance. “Some people really like that management style, but I also know that not all people do,” she continues. “I need to [work to] accommodate other people’s way of communicating that may not be the same as my own.”
That said, it’s not all bad. Jenna does get her fair share of love from the fans, and one in particular warmed her heart. After seeing an April episode where the stewardess shared a heart-to-heart with a passenger who’d recently been diagnosed with cancer, a viewer at home couldn’t help but be touched by the conversation.
“This guy contacted me and said that his mother has Stage 4 cancer and that episode really spoke to him,” she says. “He said his mom had been given a new energy from watching me.” The star reached out and made plans to talk with the woman, but even just hearing about it made a difference. “What makes me genuinely feel good is making people feel good,” Jenna says. “I guess it’s difficult for me to feel like I didn’t do that at times.”
Not everyone may be a fan, but it’s clear this star is making a difference in some of her followers’ lives.
Below Deck: Sailing Yacht airs Mondays on Bravo at 9 p.m. ET.
Reporting by Diana Cooper