When Bravo's yacht-crew reality show "Below Deck" returns Monday at 9 p.m. for season 8, Malverne's Elizabeth Frankini will follow in the wake of series franchise stars Jen Riservato of Westbury, Kasey Cohen of Oceanside, and Colin Macy-O'Toole and Tanner Sterback of Sayville.
"I was always pretty interested in going on the show," Frankini, 30, who has worked as a "yachtie" on and off for four years, tells Newsday on a Zoom call from Pembroke Pines, Florida. "I just thought it would be a really fun opportunity," she says. "I would always hear it from friends and family and even people I didn't know — just as soon as they find out that I work on a yacht, they're like, 'You should be on the show.' So I finally did it," following a long casting process in which she credits "just being myself, expressing my interest and my skills and my experience."
A steward aboard My Seanna, the yacht used in season 6, Frankini is one of six new cast members alongside fellow steward Isabelle "Izzy" Wouters, chief steward Francesca Rubi, chef Rachel Hargrove and deck hands Shane Coopersmith and James Hough. Returning to serve under Captain Lee Rosbach is boatswain Eddie Lucas. The ship sails three-day charters this season around the Caribbean isle of Antigua.
"It was really kind of crazy in the beginning," recalls Frankini, the daughter of attorney Jim and housewife Darlene Frankini, "because we have, like, literally 24 hours until this charter starts and the guests walk on the boat and we're just thrown onto this entirely new ship — you don't know where anything is and we don't know each other yet and we're getting provisions and everything's got to get put away, everything still had to get all cleaned up," she says. "So you'll see how we were kind of scrambling."
Additionally, as the season premiere shows, Captain Rosbach was unexpectedly hospitalized. "Normally when you join the boat, the captain is onboard," Frankini says. "And I walked out to this boat, I couldn't find any other crew members for, like, an uncomfortably long amount of time, and then finally, as we're all getting ready, we realized that Captain Lee is still not on the boat. It's been hours. And we find out that he's in the hospital, he fell in the shower. … It really felt like they're going to have to cancel this charter."
Frankini was born in Flushing, Queens, and lived in Valley Stream for five years before her family moved to Malverne. A 2008 graduate of Valley Stream North High School, she went on to Marymount Manhattan College and then studied acting at the SUNY's Purchase College. An older brother, Chris, is a computer engineer. Elizabeth Frankini, taking after her grandfather, big-band drummer Gene Morvay, has played drums since age 8.
She still plays, she says, but her primary avocation is acting. The yachting work, she hopes, will help inform that. "I took a hiatus [from pursuing acting] when I went to work on yachts," she says, "because I feel like deep down maybe to become a better actress, I needed more life experience."