Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Ashley Underwood got a parasite playing Redemption Island
With Survivor filming for seasons 41 and 42 indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show’s past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they’ve been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.
“Only You Are Safe.” Those are the four words that may have cost Ashley Underwood a million dollars. Already riding the strength of two straight individual immunity wins, Ashley was running neck and neck with Boston Rob Mariano in the final Survivor: Redemption Island immunity competition, with a guaranteed spot in the final 3 on the line. Then came the word puzzle, which stumped both competitors. When Rob figured it out first, Ashley’s run to the title came to an end and she was voted out of the game on day 38.
A decade later, how does Ashley feel now about her time on the island and coming up one day short? We sent her a Quarantine Questionnaire to find out.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you’ve been up to since appearing on Survivor.
ASHLEY UNDERWOOD: So much has happened since Survivor! For starters, I got married!! To the person I was dating while on the show — and we have two beautiful girls, ages 5 and 2! We moved to Boston and have been here for 7 years and absolutely love it!
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
I think I was most proud of winning back to back individual immunity! I came up just short of winning my third in a row, which sadly was the most important one to win!
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
I wish I had shown more of my bold personality… instead of playing it safe the entire time. If I played now, it would be VERY different. I think being a mom has definitely made me so much stronger and outspoken! Don’t mess with mama bear! ;)
What’s something that will blow fans’ minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
I think Phillip provided us with enough “mind blowing” moments during our season. I’m not sure how I survived with that man for 38 days!!! It’s so funny, because post-show at the reunion I actually loved seeing everyone again, including Phillip! The show definitely brought out a kooky side of us all!
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I’m fine! I was 24 years old… so young, naive and just trying not to make too many waves. I think if I were to play now my edit would be much different.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
There was definitely a deeper appreciation for EVERYTHING I have. I was actually really sick when I came back and had to be hospitalized because of a parasite that I contracted in Nicaragua. I had super high fevers and basically couldn’t keep anything down — it was pretty crazy! I also lost 20 lbs, and so coming back and getting fully healthy again was definitely more challenging than I anticipated!
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
NEVER!!!! I am so grateful and thankful to have had that experience!!! I appreciate it even more so now than when I was my young self! I know how many would DIE to be on that show and I feel like it’s such a blessing! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life thus far!
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
Post-show I actually took a trip to Africa and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with Franny (as well as Eliza Orlins!), which was such an amazing memory to make together! Franny and I still talk, and I also keep up with Natalie and Andrea — mostly on social media!
Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what’s your favorite season you were not on and why?
I literally don’t watch TV! I’m such a grandma (though, I think even grandmas watch TV!). I’m so busy with my kids, running a business from home, and keeping the house running that I literally haven’t watched any seasons of Survivor in so long!
Who’s one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Eliza Orlins! Oh my goshhh, I would have loved to play with such a strong female like her on the show! She’s such a boss!
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Finally, would you play again if asked?
I have been asked a few times! The timing wasn’t right for my family (literally, I was pregnant the first time & then my first baby was 9 months old!), but I think now I would if I was asked :)