‘Below Deck’s Izzy Wouters On How She Found Confidence, Justice, And Total Relaxation

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We weren’t even halfway through the current season of Below Deck when I declared Izzy Wouters a “perfect crew member.” Now, she’s only proven that and more, with her hard work on deck resulting in her recent promotion to lead deckhand, and her neverending stream of meme-able quips serving as the only real moments we chuckle throughout an episode.

Izzy and I caught up via Zoom where she was nearly a day ahead in New Zealand, but was every bit as chatty and friendly as she appears to be on the show (which is why our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity). Here, we discuss why her fellow deckhands were acting like such babies, the vibrator she recommends to everyone, and what we can expect from the upcoming Season 8 reunion (a lot of lewks).

DECIDER: Tell me about life in New Zealand, because we are here watching and can’t believe it’s normal there.

IZZY WOUTERS: Yeah, it is good. It’s just as normal, basically; it’s no masks, music festivals are on, shops are open. You still have to sign in when you go into a shopping center, [lots of] hand sanitizing, which is good. And you have to wear masks on flights. But apart from that, it’s basically life pre-COVID.

I feel really bad as well, because I’m doing these fun things and having a really good time enjoying summer, but then I don’t want to post any of this on social media and make other people feel bad, because it’s so different for everyone else. It’s been really nice to be over here and see my family, too.

I say post it because I feel like I’m living through you. It feels like you were doing some touristy stuff in New Zealand, is that true? 

I was, yeah. Every time I go to New Zealand, I go and visit my family and I don’t do anything that I want to do. So I went around all the touristy areas like to Mount Cook, went to Tekapo, went to Queenstown, and it was so good. Because obviously it’s so quiet. I was at the base of Mount Cook, I think, like 20 minutes by myself, which is unheard of. In New Zealand it’s been a really good time because you can actually visit places without them being overrun with tourists. And now I’ve just been relaxing.

I’ve always been quite a homebody and a home person. I love spending time at home. But with the pandemic, especially after filming, when we went back to Australia and got put straight into a lockdown. It’s that thing where now that I’m forced to be home, I’m like, oh, I wish I could go out again. Yeah, hate being forced to do something.

It’s tough, but also it has allowed a lot of the citizens in the country to kind of have a normal life, which has been quite good, because I know myself and a lot of other people probably have been struggling with mental health through the whole COVID thing. They’ve been so good with mental health, like in Australia giving us 20 subsidized or free sessions with a therapist and stuff like that. So we’ve been really lucky.

Are you getting back to work soon?

Yeah, I’m leaving New Zealand, very sad for me, and then I’m flying out and going back to work in a couple of weeks. That’s going to be kind of weird because I’ve been on this little hiatus of just having the show going on and visiting family and now it’s back to real life. But I really love having money coming in. So that was a struggle to see my bank account just kind of go down instead of going up, because I’m really a saver and budgeter.

We’ve learned you love money.

I love money. But it’s kind of detrimental because I do end up working myself into the ground for my love of money and sacrificing my physical and mental health for it. So I’m still trying to learn that balance between being a strong, independent, financially stable woman and not actually destroying my body.

Is there something that you like to spend your money on when you treat yourself? 

I’m saving for a property at the moment, but when I treat myself, I don’t like to go out for brunches and stuff like that. I have actually recently started going to a float pod place. I have really bad anxiety and I thought lying in a chamber like that was gonna freak me out. I was kind of claustrophobic at first, but then it was the most relaxed and least anxious I’ve ever felt in my entire life. So going forth this year, I’m promising myself that I do at least one of those a month. But generally, I just like work. And then I save up and I go traveling. At the moment, that’s not really possible, so I’m saving for what I can do on my next big trip.

Okay, let’s talk about Below Deck. Love that you got the promotion, very well deserved. Was there a moment for you where you felt like something clicked and you thought, You know what? I am very confident myself and I know I’m kicking ass at this job?

Yeah, yeah. When I first got onto the boat, that whole first charter, I was in a huge dissociation anxiety episode. I was already kind of broken from the last boat I worked on, so I was not in a good place, as everyone saw. And then I went on to deck and I was a bit nervous. But there was a really good team around me; James and Shane were really friendly. Eddie was a really good leader and good motivator. And he was like, ‘Why are you getting your head? You’ve done all this stuff, you’ve got this huge license, you can do this.’ And so I started to get confidence from that and actually being given the opportunity to do stuff. I was getting recognition from him and from the captain, and I was like, oh, shit, I can do this. Because I generally, as a person, tend to catastrophize everything. So even when he was like, ‘Do you want to drop the anchor?’ I was like, Oh my god, what if it goes wrong? I would freak out. But Eddie told me some horror stories from stuff that’s happened when he’s been tug boating, and I had to come to the realization that shit happens to everyone. And it’s not always gonna go right. But you can learn from it, and generally nine times out of ten it will go right and it won’t go wrong.

When you got the promotion it seemed like you expected James and Rob to be babies about it. What made you think they wouldn’t be supportive? 

We are there to make a TV show and we’re there to have a good time and all of that but I felt like I really wanted to go there and learn and prove myself. Rob didn’t even really seem like he wanted to be there, he was a shit to everyone, and to me. James, he was there for vacation, so I knew that he didn’t really take it seriously. I think he just got really sucked into this bromance with Rob and you know, me and James gave each other shit. So it’s kind of like this weird line with him of like, what would be acceptable? If he gave me shit for anything else other than the promotion, I probably wouldn’t have cared because that’s how we are. But with Rob, a lot of the time, it was just the tone. It was kind of the same thing with Francesca. It’s not that she necessarily ever said really malicious things. It was a tone that was used a lot of the time and you could just tell. But yeah, I knew that they weren’t going to be super supportive. Once the bromance got going, it was kind of like this separate divide on deck. We worked really well as a team, but there was always that separation. Yeah, I had this feeling that it wasn’t going to be received very well and I was proven correct.

Would you work with either of them again?

Yeah, I mean, Rob was really good at his job. He was just a dick. I would work on a team with him again, but if I was above him, I’d probably be a bit more affirmative in my actions. James, I would work with again, he was very good for the deck team. Eddie got quite stressy and then I’m a very sensitive person, so I pick up on that emotion easily. So when we were stressed, James would crack a joke and bring everybody back down. I’d definitely work with James again. Rob, if I had to work with him again, I would, it’s work. But I wouldn’t choose to work with him again.

Everyone loves so many of the sometimes-TMI things you say, but did you feel like you had to tone that down at all once you were promoted? 

Yeah, I’m the youngest child in my family, so I’ve always done things for shock value, just to get a reaction from my family. It’s just how I’ve grown up. I’ve always been one to speak my mind. But when I went into the lead position, I did realize that, okay, I’m not the bosun but I still have to be maybe a bit less carefree and a bit more professional. So I did try and tone it down a little bit, just so I could get that respect. And it’s that thing where if James would have gone into that position, then I think he would have been maybe been respected a little bit more. This is so difficult, because I don’t think it was a completely sexist thing. But I think it just felt like he still would have been able to be respected. Whereas with me, if I was gonna be super friendly, then it’s kind of like showing weakness and then it opens up a hole. I didn’t want to go into that position with a chip on my shoulder about how I would have to act, but I did know that I had to put on a bit of professionalism.

I loved when you had to tell Captain Lee that you had a little bit of camel toe happening. Did he know what that was or did you have to explain it?

I don’t know if he knew because I’m such a weirdly proportioned person. My pants didn’t fit the whole time, sometimes I would actually go and steal Rachel’s pants out of the laundry because she didn’t have to wear them that often. So I could wear hers because they fit better and they’re a bit looser. I don’t know if he knew what a camel toe was, but when he saw me fishing all this fabric between my lips, then I’m sure he figured it out.

It’s funny because he says, ‘That was the line that caught me most off guard out of anything anyone said,’ and I was like, Jesus really? Even when Rachel said everyone can fuck off and whatever else. I saw some people say, how dare she say that in front of a captain? I’m like, why wouldn’t I? It’s just who I am. Just because I say some outlandish shit doesn’t mean I’m not a good worker. I just have a foul mouth.

One of your other famous quotes from the season was about your vibrator. Do you know what kind you have because I feel like you could do a lot of service.

I know, yes. It’s a Satisfier Pro 2.0. Really good. I’ve gotten my cousin on to it and then anytime one of my friends breaks up with a boyfriend she buys them and basically now anyone that I’ve met, I get people to talk about things that I want to talk about. And it’s great because if you want to take your time and be slow, you can slowly build it up or you can just whack it out, full speed, two minutes, power shower, done.

Well, speaking of health too, I wanted to see how your general health is doing because we saw you went through it on the show. Everything good these days?

Yeah, feeling healthy, feeling fine. I get really bad anxiety, so the only health problem I’ve had this year is that since the show I lost like four or five kilos, just from anxiety. I think part of that was handing over control. Even though I already know what happened on the show, you’re still handing over control of your image to someone else. So that was a bit worrying. I’m doing therapy and all that stuff to get myself back into a place because it did kind of spiral a bit last year. But I’m generally, physically and all that, healthy. And I’m hoping I can get the COVID vaccine, fingers crossed I can get it ASAP.

Yeah, hopefully very soon. Who from the crew have you kept in touch with this whole time?

I speak to Rachel on the phone sometimes, she’s really funny. I love her. Eddie I speak to quite a lot. And when I had a little spiral the other week, he called me up. He’s super lovely and gives pep talks because he’s been around the block, done it before. Liz I chat to, Ash I chat to, James I chat to, so it’s kind of just Francesca and Rob that I don’t chat to.

How about the reunion? I know you guys just taped that, was there anything you were glad to clear the air about? How was that experience for you? 

I didn’t really feel like I had to clear the air about a lot because I’d already cleared some stuff up on Watch What Happens. And the last part of my season was really good. But I was anxious about it anyway because I’m anxious about everything. But it was actually really good to see everyone. It was very interesting to see people trying to portray a different side of themselves to what we’re seeing on the show, maybe trying to do some damage control. So I think we’ll see a bit of that. But it was really nice to catch up with people and it was very interesting to see what everyone chose to wear because there were some very interesting outfits.

What did you wear?

You’ll have to wait and see but I kind of went like 70s disco glam? I can say yeah, people went for like, Big Bird. Some people went for like, don’t give a fuck and some people went for Olympic gymnast, so we’ll have to wait and see. Pick who they were once you see it you can just have a look and decide for yourself but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

I can’t wait to see what theme Captain Lee went with.

Such a cutie, he was professional as always. I love him.

You had quite a unique coming out experience about a month ago. 

Yeah, that was kind of a wild experience, because I had already come out to my friends my family and they were the only people that were in my life and focused on my life. So then knowing that this show was coming out and then I’d be having to do interviews and Watch What Happens Live and they might say, ‘Oh, which guy is the cutest?’ and I’m like, ‘Well they’re both cute but not really interested.’ And then I was like whoa, are people gonna think I’m doing it for attention, should I wait till after or will they just say I’m doing it to extend my 15 minutes after the show? But I just ended up doing it and the response I received from everyone was super supportive. I got messages from most of the Below Deck cast, it was wild. I didn’t really expect it to go as viral as it did, suddenly everyone had picked it up and it was everywhere. I was sitting on the floor of my lounge room just like, oh my god. That was crazy. But yeah, it’s been really, really nice. And I’ve had a lot of messages from people and a lot of beautiful women in my inbox and all that stuff. When I was younger I always assumed my life would go one way. So it’s been a little bit difficult for me that my life is just going in a completely different way from the life you expect. When you’re young you go, ‘By 25 I’ll have a husband and a Range Rover, two kids,’ and I don’t have any of those things.

I love that somebody pointed out that you were walking around brushing your teeth on the show

People were like, you do that? That’s so unhygienic. I was like, okay, you obviously only brush your teeth for 30 seconds. Because anyone that brushes their teeth for like, two or three minutes and a proper amount of time, is not only standing in the bathroom in one spot, staring at themselves in the mirror. Yeah, but that was a small distance for me to go. Usually I would be very happy to go around my house, go out to the letterbox, maybe you could drive down to the market and get something and come back. Yeah, it’s really funny actually. I had a bit of a thin skin when we first started the show and people say stuff about you online. But now I just find it so funny. I’m like, do you have nothing else to do with your life than talk shit to someone online? Is your life really that crap? I hope you’re not suffering too badly or anything but find something more productive to do with your time. You’ll be happier.

Has there been anything you didn’t realize about yourself that somebody has pointed out?

I’m a Gemini, so I love to chat and run my mouth and get to know people and find out different sides of situations. But I did notice that maybe I didn’t help some situations with me talking. Now I’ve kind of realized I should probably not get so involved because I have a really innate sense of justice. And I had a bit of a grudge, I will admit, from when I worked with Francesca because she just showed a different personality on camera and off camera. And I went through the whole thing like, if you’re going to do this, just be yourself. Don’t try and put on an act. And so I lost a little respect from that. I probably did let my very strong sense of justice cloud my vision, and that wasn’t the best thing. I don’t think anyone’s really pointed out anything that I didn’t really know about myself. Probably that I’m the least hot of girls on the crew. Someone said that and I was like, okay, that’s subjective. Everyone is beautiful. Also their job is to look pretty. My job is to be sweaty and gross, obviously.

Before I let you go, was there anything else that you wanted to say about yourself or your experience or the season or life in general?

Everyone should go and see a therapist. It’s been life-changing. That’s what I’ll say. Oh, and try float pods. Honestly, if you have anxiety, you’re tired, you need to stretch yourself out; it’s scary when you’re being locked into it, but this is a life-changing thing that I figured out to try a float pod.

You lie in it, it’s dark. There are like 400 kilos of Epsom salts and it’s to your body temp. [They say you don’t have to wear a bathing suit, but] I’m like, I don’t want all that salt in my crack and getting inside, that’s kind of gross. You just lie there, and they put on some sweet music to get you into it. It’s kind of scary, and I have colorful lights on at the start. But then once you actually turn everything off, you just lie there. It’s amazing, but I’m very fidgety, so I would move all the time. But honestly, I have never felt so restored or well-rested. I have Guillain-Barre, I’ve got chronic fatigue so I’m always tired. I’ve never felt so rested after doing that. It was incredible so everyone needs to try it. It was a 55-minute session. So you’re in there for a while and it’s a long time to have no stimulation at this day and age, but it’s really, really good.

A good break from screens.

I’m such a screen addict. It’s so bad. My therapist is like, you need to have less screen time. And I’m like, but it gives me dopamine.

Below Deck airs Monday at 9 pm ET/PT on Bravo. 

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