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Aesha Scott has found her ‘fairytale ending’

The Kiwi reality TV sensation and her new fiancé welcome us into their Mount Maunganui love nest
Aesha in a green tracksuit leaning on partner Scott on the couchPictures: Maree Wilkinson, Ben Bartlett

When Woman’s Day visited Below Deck star Aesha Scott at her new home in Mount Maunganui at the end of April, marriage was a hot topic of conversation, but her partner Scott Dobson hadn’t yet proposed.

Would he wait to propose on camera in true reality TV style, like some of her co-stars?

“No, I’ve said I’d kill him!” joked Aesha, 32, pulling her best murderous face.

Laughing, Scott, 33, added, “She’d hate it to be anything other than sentimental, private and meaningful. I’m starting to get a lot of pressure from her friends and fans, but it’s got to be the right situation and the right time.”

And just days later, it seems either the pressure got too much or the timing was right because after four years together, Scott put on a nice shirt and got down on bended knee at Waihi’s remote Homunga Bay, where he’d pretended they were meeting her photographer friend for a sunrise hike.

On a quick catch-up call the following week, Aesha squeals with delight, showing off a stunning round-cut diamond ring by her favourite Kiwi jewellery designer, Layla Kaisi.

“I remember hiking to Homunga Bay with my mum years ago and thinking, ‘Wow! This has got to be the most pristine place.’ It was always my dream spot to get engaged, but I’d never actually said that to Scott. He just knows me so well! It’s all a bit of a wild blur and Scott forgot almost everything he’d planned to say, but after a bit of stumbling, he said he knew from the first time we hung out that I was the girl he would marry. I was frozen in shock for a second, but I shook myself out of it and started yelling, ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’

“I feel like the luckiest girl in the whole world. I’m one of those hopeless romantics who would watch rom-coms as a little girl and dream of how I might get proposed to one day. In my twenties, I thought meeting ‘the one’ might not happen for me, but I’ve found him! Scott is such a good, decent, honest person and he loves me so much. He is my fairytale ending.”

Scott proposed in the engagement spot of her dreams and Aesha yelled, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

The fairytale analogy is especially apt now that the reality TV princess – a global star after appearing on Below Deck Mediterranean and Below Deck Down Under – and her Prince Charming have set up their own castle in the Bay of Plenty

But it’s been a long journey to finding their dream home. Having both spent years travelling the world and working overseas, Aesha recalls telling Scott within the first six months of their relationship that she wanted to one day get married and raise kids near Tauranga, where they both went to school.

“It was non-negotiable,” she explains. “I’ve been to so many beautiful destinations, but this is just the most beautiful, special place in the whole entire world. I feel like my spirit is very connected to the land. This is where I belong.”

Finally, last year, after so long flitting between Europe and the US, the pair flew back to Aotearoa to find a permanent base. But it took five agonising months of house-hunting to settle on the perfect love nest.

Aesha tells, “We had this absolute fantasy of being right in the centre of the Mount. Like licking the base of the track up the hill, but unfortunately everything in our price range was full of moisture. We went conditional three times and spent thousands of dollars on builders’ reports. It was always so gut-wrenching when they came back with ‘100% moisture’ and ‘rotting wood’.

“Then three days after realising we needed to look further out from town, we came to this open home. The moment we walked through the door, Scott and I both looked at each other and were like, ‘This is it. This is home!’ It was so exciting when our offer was accepted. It’s by the beach and I love that it has a big deck for entertaining, so I can have all my friends over for drinks.”

Because they’d been living out of suitcases for years, they had to start completely from scratch when it came to furnishings. “It was lucky style-wise, but unlucky financially,” laughs Aesha. “We sadly didn’t have all these beautiful, sentimental pieces that we’d collected over the years. It did give us the opportunity to traipse around the shops though, looking for deals. I think it looks sick-as!”

Scott had to be convinced about the cream colour scheme, but they’re both pleased with their choice of furniture. Particularly the Hawthorne tables and stools, curated by and purchased from family owned Canterbury boutique Addy & Lou.

As a chief steward on Below Deck, Aesha is in charge of the interiors and hospitality aboard her boats. She admits her professional attention to detail has spilled over into her personal life.

“I hate living in mess or clutter, so we got the house almost all squared away within a week. It has felt like home so quickly,” she says. “Luckily, Scott is a very tidy, observant person who sees the mess that a lot of men would miss. He dusted the flat surfaces before you guys arrived this morning. It’s so sexy!”

“I’m just pandering to your OCD!” laughs Scott. He rolls his eyes, before jokingly complaining about how Aesha’s wardrobe takes up nearly all of the house’s storage space. Although he adds that he has enjoyed her recent efforts in the kitchen.

She grins, “After not having a chance to cook for so long, I’ve discovered my inner Italian nonna. I love feeding my man! I’m usually very curry-centric in my cooking, but lately I’ve been trying more rustic dishes, like potato bake, sausages and shepherd’s pie.”

Bride-to-be Aesha is loving setting up house with Scott.

As well as her new culinary achievements, Aesha is also excited about her return to Below Deck Mediterranean. She made her TV debut on the show in 2019, before fronting the Down Under spin-off in 2022.

“It’s like going back to my childhood home,” she enthuses. “It felt so special because the Med is where I started yachting and most of my life was based in the South of France. Being able to launch my own franchise in Australia was awesome. But stepping on to the boat in Greece, surrounded by that blue water and those dry hills… I was like, ‘Yes, this is yachting!’

“It was also amazing to be back with Captain Sandy [Yawn, her co-star/boss], who used to see me as a bit of a loose unit. Now, as a mature, experienced woman in a leadership role, she has met me. Although I did have to lean on her wisdom because I had issues with two of my stews that I just couldn’t overcome!”

The Below Deck star has a huge celeb following.

Aesha received worldwide praise for how she handled a case of sexual misconduct on Below Deck Down Under. She stepped in to stop a drunken male crew member getting into bed naked with co-star Margot Sisson without her consent.

“I got 200,000 extra followers in the two days after that aired,” she marvels. She adds, “I felt very conflicted because it’s so gross to capitalise on such a horrible situation. I was happy it started so many conversations about consent and got people to open up about their stories.

“I’ve been in a similar situation in Melbourne. I thought I’d gotten into an Uber, but this guy drove me into a forest, where he did things to me and made me do things to him. It was a situation in which I should have been safe and I was beside myself. I think that’s why I picked up what was happening with Margot so quickly. It was like a sixth sense.”

The on-board incident no doubt helped Aesha clinch the TV Personality of the Year trophy at last year’s New Zealand Television Awards and won her some serious celebrity fans. Jennifer Aniston, Rihanna, Margot Robbie and Chrissy Teigen have all confessed to watching Below Deck, which Aesha says is “surreal”. She jokes, “Next time I go to Hollywood, I’m just going to walk laps and I hope
I run into Riri.”

As for the future, Aesha has just hired a publicist to increase her profile and help broaden her career options.

“I don’t want to be just a reality star on a boat,” she explains. “My ultimate goal is to be a household name who hosts fun shows like Love Island or The Amazing Race.”

But for now, Aesha’s simply enjoying being home, with her man, here in Aotearoa. Turning to Scott and holding his hand, she says, “I’ve always felt very in love with you. But since we’ve moved into this house, I’ve felt even more in love.”

And as for their upcoming wedding? Aesha smiles, “It has to be somewhere near Tauranga, with a gorgeous view and lots of food – like party pies, cheerios, chips and Kiwi onion dip – to come out when everyone is on the dance floor rocking out to Fat Freddy’s Drop and Six60. But we’re not in a rush for that. We’ve got forever.”

The brand-new season of Below Deck Mediterranean streams on Hayu from 4 June. It will premiere on Bravo New Zealand at 8.30pm on Thursday 20 June.

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