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Below Deck Med’s Tumi Mhlongo and Natalya Scudder Are at Odds Minutes After Meeting: ‘Don’t Get Defensive’

Below Deck Tumi Mhlongo and Nat Scudder Are at Odds Minutes After Meeting
Tumi Mhlongo and Natalya Scudder Fred Jagueneau/Bravo; Laurent Basset/Bravo

Below Deck Mediterranean‘s Natalya Scudder and Tumi Mhlongo have officially met — and their dynamic is much more combative than expected.

During a new episode of the Bravo series, which aired on Monday, October 2, Tumi took over the role of chief stew after missing the first charter because of visa issues. As Natalya showed her the ins and outs of the Mustique, the coworkers quickly found themselves at odds.

The issues began when Tumi laughed off the idea of living in Florida, which is where Natalya resides when she isn’t on charter. Things took another turn after Tumi shared her first impression of the interior.

“It is interesting. It kind of reminds me of Harry Potter. The organization is a s—tshow,” the Below Deck Down Under alum said before clarifying her point. “No, the boat itself. I am not talking about you. I am talking about the actual boat itself. The way that it is naturally setup is a s—tshow.”

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In response, Natalya defended the different areas of the boat, adding, “I think it is amazing. They have the service set on each level and the glassware on each level. And everything is on one level. We don’t have to run [around] or run glassware.”

Tumi, meanwhile, wasn’t thrilled that she couldn’t share her thoughts with Natalya. “I am giving you my opinion though. I am telling you how I feel,” she noted. “Don’t get defensive. All I am saying is that naturally … you are getting offended. I am not offending you.”

The reality star continued: “From your part of the organization, it is impeccable what you have done in a day. Before you got on this vessel, the way that it is set up is not necessarily the way that I would want to walk onto a boat. That’s all I am saying.”

As the conversation started to heat up, Natalya explained why she had success as the temporary chief stew.

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“I am just telling you that it has been great [so far],” she noted before calling out how Tumi’s hand gestures were bothering her. “Don’t do this with me. Don’t put the hands up at me please. Thank you.”

Natalya admitted earlier in the episode that she was apprehensive about giving up her position.

“I feel like we actually had a very successful first charter. I have established a good relationship already with everyone. On top of that, I have set up this yacht close to perfect. It is going to be hard to hand over the reins,” she told the cameras. “I just want to meet her face to face and just take it from there.”

Viewers are familiar with Natalya following her stint as a stew during season 7 of Below Deck Mediterranean. She infamously didn’t get along with her chief stew Natasha Webb or fellow stew Kyle Viljoen, who is joining the boat later in the season.

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Tumi, for her part, made an impression working alongside Aesha Scott on season 1 of Below Deck Down Under. In her confessional, Tumi discussed her concerns about stepping into a chief stew position for the first time.

“I am worried about walking onto this boat and being the new kid in town,” she detailed. “There’s always that self doubt, and I guess it’s when you’re really passionate about something and you really don’t want to f—k up. The unknown just sucks.”

Gaining the respect of her coworkers was also a worry for Tumi.

“I’ve been in the industry for a really short amount of time. One thing that scares me is will the crew respect me? It is really important to set boundaries in the beginning because that is something I have always had to deal with in yachting anyway,” Tumi told the cameras. “[Hearing] that I am not capable [or] that there’s not a lot of people like me.”

According to Tumi, her opinion of Natalya was already influenced following a conversation with Kyle. (Natalya and Kyle previously had a falling out after filming wrapped on season 7, but they have since worked out their issues.)

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“I met Kyle when I was getting my visa and he obviously told me that he had his ups and downs with Natalya. And I don’t want to be disrespected but I don’t want to demand respect,” she added during Monday’s episode. “That’s where my struggle comes in. So of course I am worried.”

Even though Tumi is still trying to find common ground with her team, the chief stew already got the stamp of approval from her superiors. Captain Sandy praised Tumi’s skills after getting a recommendation from Below Deck Down Under‘s Captain Jason.

“I have heard great things about you and I trust Jason,” Sandy explained in a confessional. “I committed to Tumi. The fact that she was held at immigration is not her fault. Captain Jason highly recommended Tumi and said she’s ready for a chief stew role. She’s focused, determined, works really hard and she cares. I know she can do this.”

Below Deck Mediterranean airs on Bravo Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.

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