Part of the ‘Below Deck’ franchise, Bravo’s ‘Below Deck Mediterranean’ is a captivating reality TV show that made its debut in 2016, offering its audience an exclusive glimpse into the glamorous yet demanding world of luxury yachting. The series is set against the stunning backdrops of several picturesque locations and follows the life of crew members as they cater to the desires and whims of their elite clients. As they balance their work, relationships, and personal drama, it immerses the viewers into a blend of drama, opulence, and behind-the-scenes of life at sea.
Over the years, the show has introduced several individuals who have entertained people all over the world while trying to balance their interpersonal drama with the challenges of a high-pressure service. One of the notable figures who have gained immense popularity from the show is João Franco from season 3, who left a lasting impression on the viewers and amassed a solid fan following. He left the show after two seasons, making his fans wonder about his latest pursuits. We dug around and unearthed the tales of his latest pursuits and are here to share them with you!
João Franco’s Below Deck Journey
João Franco hails from Zimbabwe and was brought up in a challenging environment, which instilled determination in him to escape his old life and pursue a better one. He built his own business, where he had 10 people working for him for 3 years, after which he left for the yachting industry. The first step toward his now-successful career was when he secured a job as a day laborer for a boat captain. He soon had a rapid ascent, leading him to become the Bosun of the Sirocco in ‘Below Deck Mediterranean’. He entered the scene in the third season, where he quickly stood out as a diligent and skilled deckhand.
However, João’s capabilities were soon overshadowed by his involvement in a love triangle with stewardesses Kasey Cohen and Brooke Laughton that caught the attention of the audience. Despite the drama, he chose to continue his relationship with Laughton while continuing to flirt with Kasey, which created tensions among the crew members. Another low point of his time at the show was when he got drunk and called chief stew Hannah Ferrier a “sl*t”.
SLUT SHAMING IT NOT A FUCKING JOKE
— Hannah Ferrier – CEO Ocean Int Training Academy (@hannahferrier_) July 9, 2019
After the episode aired, he issued an apology which has since been deleted, stating, “I am appalled by my behavior on the show. I realize that I acted extremely primitively and disrespectfully. I don’t know what came over me, but I am accepting responsibility for my actions.” While talking to Starry Mag about the incident, he stated, “There is so much about me that I would like to clarify, but how could I convince people that I actually am a gentlemen and that I actually do have respect for people by what everyone sees on the show?”
João further added, “To summarize everything, I am human. And this is a reality TV show. We all make mistakes and we all need to acknowledge them for us to make positive changes. I have acknowledged mine.” In 2019, he returned for the fourth season as a Bosun. He had ended his romantic relationship with Laughton and was focused on impressing Captain Sandy Yawn. As he continued to have fewer entanglements with the crewmates and worked hard on improving his professional image, the season served as a redemption arc for João.
In an interview with Decider, João talked about his redemption on the show, saying, “I think it was for me to prove to myself that I could do it. I’ve been on boats before, and I’ve proven that I could work. If you last longer than three or four months, you’re actually good. And [captains] don’t care if you go out and get absolutely drunk as long as you do your work the next day. So that’s where I’ve come from on yachts, but I still prove my work.” While he still had a sour relationship with Chief Stew Aesha Scott, season 4 proved that with the right mindset, he had exceptional dedication and leadership skills.
João made a return to the ‘Below Deck’ universe as part of the Northern Sun crew on ‘Below Deck Down Under’ season 2 as a replacement for Bosun Luke Jones. João joined Captain Jason Chambers and other crew members to assist with the operations of the yacht. While filming the season, he admitted that he wasn’t always the best version of himself, but he isn’t that person anymore. He expressed his excitement to work with Captain Jason and said, “I’ve so far been a captain for three and a half years on 30-meter boats, but I’m looking to get more experience from a bigger captain on a bigger boat because I have the ambition to get to the top.”
Where is João Franco Now?
Since his time on ‘Below Deck Mediterranean’ ended, João Franco has made notable strides in his professional as well as personal life. When he left the show after season 4, he was determined to better his life, and so he started by embarking on an academic journey and enhancing his qualifications. Not only this, he dedicated himself to the construction of a remarkable 43-meter super yacht and got a master’s license. The highlight of his career was still ahead, achieving the captain’s title, which he did in 2020 after Captain Sandy Yawn arranged a job for him.
Unfortunately, in the ‘Behind The Velvet Rope’ podcast episode from 2021, João mentioned that his friendship with Captain Sandy is fizzled. He claimed that she would often send him mixed messages about their friendship and often questioned her motivations when it came to helping him in the industry. Moreover, his personal life also had its own ups and downs. After he left ‘Below Deck Mediterranean,’ João started dating Michelle Dicu, which led to a short-lived engagement after the couple called it quits in June 2021. However, he found love again in the form of a fellow yachtie, Domi Tiesi, with whom he has traveled to over 20 countries.
João and Domi have moved in together and even celebrated their first anniversary in June, reflecting on their shared adventures. When João left the show, he decided to deal with his alcoholic tendencies as well. He acknowledged to his fans that he is an “angry drunk,” and more often than not, wakes up not remembering the events of the night before. He decided to eliminate alcohol from his life and decided to embrace sobriety in February 2020. After being 3 months sober, he thanked his trainer and his then-girlfriend Michelle for supporting him on his journey and decided to build a car with the money he was saving by not drinking alcohol.
On the professional front, João’s fans would be delighted to learn that he now owns a Master’s license. In March 2023, the talented reality TV personality shared the same on Instagram with a caption that read, “Jack of all trades but OFFICIALLY a MASTER of one!😎great exam and an even better result! 6 years of yachting, 4 years of captaining smaller vessels. Now time to raise the bar😎.” His enthusiasm for his profession is contagious, and he continues to work on his skills and gain further experience. As João Franco embraces new challenges, his story is sure to serve as an inspiration who want to follow in his footsteps, and we are excited about what the future holds for him!
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