INTERVIEW: Kyle McMahon with Captain Sig and Mandy Hansen of Deadliest Catch (cntd…)
|Captain Sig Hansen and daughter Mandy. Deadliest Catch
Sig: Hey Kyle!
Kyle: Hey Sig! Thanks so much to the both of you for joining us. So Sig, the fishermen’s life has been in your family for generations, right?
Sig: Oh yeah, four generations.
Kyle: I’ve noticed that it’s traditionally been men, correct?
Sig: Right. Well its four generations of fishing. The crabbing didn’t really start until the late 60’s so my father was a pioneer. So our family is of Norwegian decent. Our grandfathers on both sides, my wife’s side, everybody was fisherman.
Kyle: What was it like bringing (your daughter) Mandy into all of this?
Sig: Well as a father it was horrifying. You’re talking about an 18 year old high school girl, but that’s what she wanted. She had other job opportunities in the summer. She did a lot of salmon tendering with us every year since she was 14 years old in the summer time. That was in south east Alaska which is very calm waters. The boat is like a big fish taxi. They transport salmon from the little boats back and forth. So she’s done that for four years. Then she kept wanting to try crabbing because you can imagine she hears about it from the crew, me and seeing it on television. She’s somewhat of a tomboy and just wanted to get her feet wet and try different things. It was a very tough pill to swallow but at the same time I understand, because I’ve been there, done that. I think it’s good. I think it’s an experience that she should have.
Kyle: Mandy what was that like for you?
Mandy: It was life changing, of course. I’ve always wanted to do it and once I finally got my foot in there it totally opened my eyes. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into it, but the crew was always there and they had me covered. I enjoy it. I don’t think I could do it with a different crew, though.
|Captain Sig and Mandy Hansen aboard Northwestern. Deadliest Catch
Kyle: Having your dad as “the man in charge” at your job, was there anything that came up that you weren’t expecting? Challenges that you didn’t think would be an issue, that became an issue?
Mandy: Working with my dad? No. Me being out there, he’s more of my captain first. That’s how I looked at it. So I knew if something went wrong I could run up and I’d still have him there. So I still had that and knew I wasn’t thrown completely out there alone.
Kyle: What made you want to get involved?
Mandy: Definitely the family part. The boat is in our name and I wanted to be a part of that. I didn’t want to just be watching it on TV. I wanted to join in and be involved myself.
Kyle: That’s awesome. What has the experience been like so far?
Mandy: I had no idea what I was getting myself into it. It was physical, of course, being my size. It was different being up there because I had my limitations being my size and weight.
Kyle: Did you accept the challenge head on? Was it intimidating?
Mandy: There was no intimidation but…
Sig: She was our bait girl. You hire a bait boy and you start at the bottom. A lot of guys have quit trying to do that one particular job. So basicalyls he was shown her position and that was it. She gradually moved up and did different things on deck. She was there for a couple of trips but just that alone is a challenge on any crab boat. If you watch the show, you know a lot of the guys in her position just quit.
Kyle: Oh, yeah!
Sig: So the only advice I could give her was “Don’t quit!”.
|Deadliest Catch’s Mandy Hansen
Kyle: I don’t think I could do that. I don’t think I’m cut out for that. So I’ve got to give you props Mandy.
Sig: That’s the thing. The one thing that she has that not a lot of people have is heart. You don’t have to be a big guy to do that job. You’ve got to have it in your head and in your heart. You’ve got to want it. If you don’t want it, get the hell off the boat.
Kyle: The show’s been #1 on Tuesday nights for 5 weeks running. How has that changed both of your lives?
Sig: It’s very flattering and I understand how the whole TV thing works and that’s great. Bottom line is before these interviews this morning, Mandy actually said to me that she just wants to fish. The TV thing isn’t the priority here.
Kyle: Right, of course.
Sig: I don’t want to be insulting to the show, by any means, but she’s very sincere about just getting out there and doing that work. That’s what she’s passionate about. We talked about it and she’s like “Dad, I didn’t know we’d have to do these interviews.” and “I didn’t know this and that” and I said “I didn’t know that either.” It’s very sincere and it’s fishing first and it’s always been that way. Matter of fact, that’s why that show is as popular as it is, because it’s fishing first.
Kyle: Right. It really puts the viewer into situations that I would never put myself into, you know what I mean?
Sig: I hear it everyday, everywhere I go.
Kyle: I get to vicariously live through you from the safety of a dry, warm couch.
Sig: Yes we had a book a couple of years ago. It was a tribute to my father’s generation before us. They were the pioneers of the Alaskan crab fishery. It did real well and I’m real proud of that.
Kyle: Yes, congratulations on that success. I wanted to ask you if that was something that was especially personal to you because of the content of it.
Sig: Absolutely. You know, like I said, it’s dedicated to the guys that started it. Without them, we wouldn’t have it the way we have it, you know? It changed everything. So, of course. We take pride in our history and so does Mandy. Growing up in our social system, it was all fishermen. Even though we’re here in Seattle, there’s a very large Norwegian population and the majority were fisherman. Our social system was nothing but fisherman. Growing up we spoke Norwegian in the house. My wife and I speak Norwegian to Mandy and Nina. The topic of the day always was fishing when I grew up. All my heroes were fishermen. Period. That’s all we really knew and that’s all we cared to know. That’s just how it is. You’re proud of it. You’re proud of your heritage. That’s what gives you the drive to do better and stay out there and not cry about it.
Kyle: Mandy, you’re father was talking about the interviews and the publicity. How has that changed your day to day life?
Mandy: It’s a struggle because I have to put myself out there and I didn’t know that this was going be a part of it. Like he said earlier, I just want to be out there fishing.
|Captain Sig Hansen of Deadliest Catch.
Kyle: Is it something that you think you’ll get used to or will it always be a kind of weird thing for you?
Sig: Just tell him, “Fishing first!”
Kyle: That’s what I love about you guys – how sincere of people you are. There’s no air of fake-ness about it. This is your life. This is what you’ve always done and it is what it is. People can take it or leave it. I love that about you guys.
Sig: It’s been a struggle in a way. I’m trying to put myself in Mandy’s shoes right now and I came to this realization this morning. When you think about it, I don’t care who…Kardashians or an actor or actress. They strive to be on TV. That’s their goal in life. They want to get into television or movies and I understand that. That’s what they want. They’re the ones who want the popularity and want be in front of a camera and make a living at it. I get that. Had you asked me 10 years ago would you be doing interviews and would you want to be in front of a camera I would have said “hell no”.
This is just a documentary of what’s going on our vessel, you know? So, we never asked for that. It just kind of came along. And then the damn thing snowballed and here we are 10 years later, which is great! I think for Mandy too, she’s like “I just want to go give it a try Dad”. And now here she is talking to you. You’re talking about an 18 year old high school kid here. So I see more and more how hard it is for her. And I get it. It’s not easy. It’s not what the deal was but I’m proud of her. She’s doing good, you know? It’s not an easy thing.
Kyle: No, it’s not at all. Well, I don’t want to take up all of your time, so I thank you both so much. Mandy I look forward to seeing you on the show. Sig, of course, I look forward to continuing to see you on the show. Thank you both so much for your time.
Captain Sig is clearly a man of honor, pride and dedication. His dedication to his work doesn’t just stem from his love for the craft but from the sense of pride in knowing that he is carrying on the legacy of his heritage. Further, the love that he has for his daughter is clear from every sentence that he talks about her. It was a delight to takl with Captain Sig and Mandy and I wish them both continued success.