May 20, 2011 10:00 AM by Ryan Haidet
Spa days and fighting with Phillip. Those were two elements that stick out from Ashley Underwood’s time on Survivor: Redemption Island. Despite her success in challenges late in the game, Ashley was eventually betrayed by Natalie — her closest friend in the game. Coming in fourth place, Ashley found herself on the jury where she voted for Boston Rob to win the $1 million prize. Shortly after the live reunion show at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, Ashley talked with me on the red carpet about her experience on the show. She touched on her controversial spa days, discussed her feelings toward Natalie and said that Phillip is somebody she would hang out with outside of the game. You read that right! What else did she have to say? Be sure to watch the video inside the full article to find out more.
Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Let’s talk a little bit about the way it ended for you. Disappointed?
Ashley Underwood: Completely disappointed. I mean, watching that all over again, it just brought back all the emotions. It was heartbreaking for me to come so close. Rob said it. He knew if I went to the end, I would have beat him. Maybe not because I played a better game than him, but I made so many good relationships with people on the jury that I know I would have won.
Ryan Haidet: That’s why he had it out for you that whole time?
Ashley Underwood: He completely had it out for me. Thank God I won those two Immunities or I would have been gone way before that. He had it out for me just from Ralph saying that one comment, “You have my vote at the end.” I think that planted a seed and he was like, “I gotta get Ashley out. I gotta get Ashley out.” I’m lucky to have hung in there as long as I did. I came up a little bit short so I can’t really hang my head too much.
Ryan Haidet: Were you bummed out about Natalie? You’re talking a lot about Rob, but I think you were closer to Natalie. Were you bummed out when you saw that vote turned around and your name was on it to vote you off?
Ashley Underwood: I was completely bummed out. Natalie surprised me because she knew she didn’t have a chance to win. She knew that Phillip didn’t have a chance to win. So she essentially said, I choose Phillip over you to sit at the end and I choose Rob to give the million dollars to. For me, that hurt. I knew I deserved it way more and I thought that we were tighter than that. I would have been OK going out on a tie-breaker, but going out because one of my best friends decided that I didn’t deserve to win the million dollars pretty much, it sucked.
Ryan Haidet: Are you still best friends?
Ashley Underwood: Not best friends, but we’re still friends. I mean, it’s a game. I said things I didn’t really mean. I stabbed people in the back as well. It’s a hard game. It’s not fun. You hurt peoples’ feelings. So she made it to the top three. We’re friends. I’m proud of her. Life goes on.
Ryan Haidet: So are we friends with Phillip?
Ashley Underwood: (Laughs) Actually, Phillip and I are cool. I know it’s weird for everybody because Phillip and I clashed the most on this season. But honestly, it’s hard enough to spend 39 days on an island with your best friend, let alone somebody in pink underwear that claims they’re an FBI agent. I still don’t believe it, by the way. I would go have lunch with Phillip or have a drink with Phillip. Maybe not every day, but once a week. (Laughs)
Ryan Haidet: Was it worse living with him on the island than we got to see on the show?
Ashley Underwood: You guys only saw half of it. I mean, it was brutal! I would tell him this to his face. He would probably say the same thing about me. I will say, he worked so hard around camp. I’m not taking that away from him, but story after story after story. He wanted his close- up. It was always about Phillip. I think what hurt him the most was that he wasn’t feeling appreciated and loved. No Phillip, I’m not going to cuddle up to you in bed. Like I said, I’d rather die. He knows that. You guys only saw half of it. That’s why when you see our blow-ups, that’s like pent-up aggression. I could do that every day. I just didn’t.
Ryan Haidet: What is something about yourself that viewers didn’t really get to see? What is something you want the viewers to know?
Ashley Underwood: I think towards the end of the game, that was more the player I wanted to be. I kicked butt in challenges. I came up a little bit short at the end. I had the strategy going, and I think that’s kind of like what I wanted to be the entire game — and it didn’t really look like that. I guess it’s good TV regardless. I kind of wish it was maybe portrayed in a different way. And I don’t regret my spa day! Because you need to take care of your armpits, OK people. (Laughs)
Ryan Haidet: They did do a lot of showcasing you and Natalie laying around doing nothing.
Ashley Underwood: They did. Like I said, it makes for good TV. Guess what? We made the beds every day. We hung out the clothes and the wet blankets every morning. We cooked the rice by the way, mind you — every freakin’ meal. So we did things around camp. Obviously it made for a better story to show that we didn’t. Whatever. I’m fine with it. The people in my life know who I am and that’s all that matters.
Ryan Haidet: Andrea approached you guys with an idea to target Boston Rob at the final five. All this knowing that he had a hidden Idol?
Ashley Underwood: Andrea didn’t know that Rob had an Idol. The only people that knew about the Idol were Natalie, Grant and I. That’s why when she was coming to us with this, “Make a big move. Make a big move.” Guess what? It’s the last time that Rob can use his Idol. He’s gonna use it. Then what? We get rid of Phillip? It just didn’t make sense. To me it didn’t make sense. I knew either way Rob was going to get rid of me. It didn’t really matter. So I knew that I needed to win the last challenge to make it to the end.
Ryan Haidet: Advice to a future player?
Ashley Underwood: Talk. That was the biggest mistake that we made — the six Ometepe that stayed together. We didn’t talk to each other. We were too comfortable and we were too stuck in believing one person. Just don’t ever do that. It’s my biggest piece of advice. Just talk to each other. It sounds so simple, but really, don’t think you’re ever 100 percent safe.
Ryan Haidet: All right. It was nice talking to you.
Ashley Underwood: Thank you guys.
Check out my interview with “Boston Rob” Mariano — the winner of Survivor: Redemption Island:
Check out my interview with Phillip Sheppard — the runner-up of Survivor: Redemption Island:
Check out my interview with Natalie Tenerelli — the third-place finisher on Survivor: Redemption Island:
Game images courtesy of CBS. Red carpet photos by Melissa Fouse.
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