EXCLUSIVE: Kate Chastain of ‘Below Deck’ and ‘The Traitors’ opens up about mixing motherhood and murder

“I really thought over the years, ‘I can do motherhood. I did yachting.’ It’s so much more work than I expected."


Reality star Kate Chastain was throwing missions on season one of "The Traitors," but now she has a baby throwing tantrums at home. Would becoming a mother change her sneaky gameplay as she returned for season two of the Peacock reality show competition?

Kate Chastain at the round table on "The Traitors"Euan Cherry / Peacock

"If anything If anything I feel like being a mom would have made me more aggressive," Chastain tells TODAY.com in an exclusive interview. "Now I've got college to pay for and so that prize is even more valuable." 

Faithful to herself

In "The Traitors," host Alan Cumming invites contestants to "his" castle in the Scottish Highlands. Three of those contestants, secretly designated as “the traitors,” have the ability to “murder” a player each night with the goal of lasting undiscovered until the end to take the prize for themselves. The rest of the players, “the faithful,” aim to oust the traitors amongst them through nightly banishment votes. A $250,000 cash prize is up for grabs.

After delighting viewers in the first season, Chastain, a veteran of the reality series "Below Deck," reentered the fray as a surprise guest in the middle of the second season. She walked into the elimination session, sitting down with those who had already been playing the game for several days. In a chipper voice dripping with sarcasm, she said, "Tell me everything! Who do we hate?"

So far, Chastain has been rather subdued in comparison to her fast-talking, mission-throwing antics from Season One. But her behavior was intentional. "I didn't think it was right for me to come in like guns blazing," she explains.

"It was high drama," she says of her introduction to the other contestants. "I could already tell that Kevin was pretty much the Tom Sandoval at the castle."

Alan Cumming, the dramatic host of the show, named Chastain the "funniest contestant" during a recent appearance on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live."

When asked how much time contestants spend with Cumming, Chastain says, "Alan was very busy getting his kilts and sashes tailored, so as much as you would see him on the show is pretty much the extent that we would see him."

She does give him a lot of credit, though: "He is such a lovely, lovely man. And he's such a good actor that in that moment, I truly believe him when he's like, 'Murder.' He does not break character at all and it's very convincing."

This season, Chastain went in knowing that the show was a social-strategy game, so she watched clips from “Big Brother” online, but taking care of her son gave her limited time to prepare.

Kate Chastain and Mercedes “MJ” Javid plotting on "The Traitors."Euan Cherry / Peacock

"A mental vacation from mom life"

"Sullivan is so cute. So cute," Chastain says proudly of her son, who turns 1 in May. "And so much work. Way more work than I expected but I just love him so much, so it's fine."

Chastain, who got her start in reality television on Bravo's "Below Deck," thought that working on a boat was one of the hardest jobs ever ... and then she became a mother.

"I really thought over the years, 'I can do motherhood. I did yachting.' It's so much more work than I expected. But it's also so much more love than I expected," she says.

Appearing on the show meant that Chastain had to leave her then 4-month-old baby at home.

"There was a lot of fear to leave my baby for the first time at such a young age for a long time," she explains. "I had just been like 'baby, baby, baby' for so long, it was really healthy for me to get into a world like the castle, and just remember who I am, and be around adults and just take a mental vacation from mom life." 

Sullivan did not make the trip to the set of "The Traitors" in Scotland. "My mother watched him, and we also had a nanny and a night nurse. So yeah, he had a staff," deadpans Chastain, who has not publicly revealed the identity of her baby’s father.

In many ways, motherhood surprised Chastain. "I was such a hypocrite when I was pregnant," she says. "I was like, 'I'm going to be a cool mom. This baby's going to fit into my life.' No. I know the words to every Miss Rachel song. I'm not a cool mom. The baby takes over. Buckle up."

Though Chastain missed her son during filming, she also enjoyed the break. "It felt so good to just remember who I was before changing diapers," she explains. "It's so interesting comparing my first season of 'Traitors' to my second season of 'Traitors' because my first season of 'Traitors,' I couldn't wait to go home, drive my sports car, go have martinis, go date and just have fun. Now I want to stay because I got to sleep eight hours every night. It was great. It was like a vacation this time."

Queen of the castle

Chastain named "Pilot Pete" Weber and Sandra Diaz-Twine as contestants who are truly stepping up their game this season.

"I think everybody is in agreement that Phaedra (Parks) is doing an amazing job," she says. "She's the funniest person I've ever worked with. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, who's this queen of the castle?' She's so funny. And that glam — she does it herself."

As host of "The Traitors," Alan Cumming is always dressed to kill. Peacock

Chastain implies that there are some twists and turns ahead in the second half of the season. “Coming up, people will be surprised that people you’re cheering for, you won’t be. Maybe people you weren’t cheering for, you will be,” she teases. “I was certainly shocked at the way things developed."

Would Chastain return for Season Three?

"I'm never going to turn down an invitation to Alan Cumming's castle," she says. "If Alan calls, you go."

(Disclosure: Peacock is owned by NBCUniversal, TODAY’s parent company.)