FTS Q&A: Ashley Underwood

A four year starter for the Black Bears basketball team being named to the America East all-conference team in her senior year. Winner of Miss Maine on her first attempt and representative of the Pine Tree State in the Miss USA pageant. Star of the CBS television series “Survivor: Redemption Island” surviving the bugs and heat of a Central American jungle. That resume belongs to none other than the talented and beautiful Ashley Underwood who can now add a Fill The Steins Q&A; to that list.
Ashley joined us on the Fill The Steins Podcast this week and offered some great behind the scenes stories about her time on Survivor and what it was like trading her basketball high tops for a pair of high heels and the catwalk in the Miss USA pageant. Before the Podcast, Ashley was nice enough to sit down with us and catch up on her time at Orono and all the different paths her career has taken since.
FTS: Which dorm/dorms did you live in during your time at Orono and is there one memory that stands out from that experience?
Ashley: I lived in Hancock Hall and LOVED it!  I don’t know if I have one memory in particular, but all of the basketball girls lived in the dorms so we definitely had a lot of laughs.  I lived in Hancock for my first two years then moved off campus with two of my teammates – I’m so glad I had the dorm experience!
FTS: Which was harder, handling the rainforests of Nicaragua on Survivor: Redemption Island or walking the length of the mall at UMaine in early February?
Ashley: Well, right now, both of those things sound terrible… but I think the obvious answer is Survivor!
FTS: You have the trifecta of redeeming qualities; intelligence, looks, and athleticism. This isn’t a pageant question, but which one of those qualities is most important to you?
Ashley: First of all, THANK YOU!  That’s extremely kind.  I think it’s great to be a well-rounded person, and that doesn’t necessarily have to include those three qualities that you mentioned.  I think it’s important to take advantage of whatever strengths, talents, and unique abilities that God has given you.
FTS: Do you feel your weekend dance trips to Ushuaia/103 Ultra Longue better prepared you for walking the stage during the 2009 Miss USA pageant?
Ashley: Ha! Good old Ushuaia … I didn’t have too many weekend dance trips actually, since a lot of my weekends in college were consumed with basketball which I’m happy about!  Nothing can really prepare you for the Miss USA pageant … I guess it was a lot of practice walking in high heels around my house, which was difficult considering my shoe of choice growing up was a pair of high tops!
FTS: Having had a stellar career at Cony High School before success at UMaine and then in Switzerland, where does basketball currently fit into your life?
Ashley: Basketball is still very much a part of my life.  My fiance, Chris Markwood, who also played and coached at UMaine is now an assistant coach at the University of Vermont.  I have so much fun going to his games – I literally plan my schedule around them! I love being able to talk basketball with him and share that passion – it’s a lot of fun!  Of course, I keep close tabs on the UMaine women’s team as well – and try to catch as many games as I can online!
FTS: In all your travels representing Maine on Survivor and in the Miss USA pageant did you ever find it challenging to explain to people what it’s like to be from Maine?
Ashley: Honestly, no. I love Maine so much and have so much pride for growing up there that it’s easy for me to talk about.  I think people see how my face lights up when I describe how beautiful it is, but also the people and how friendly and hospitable they are!
FTS: Guilty Pleasure: When you head back to the Orono campus, where’s the first place you are stopping for a bite to eat?
Ashley: That’s a tough one! There are a lot of new places since I’ve lived there – but I’d have to say Governor’s for their peanut butter no-bake cookies and Verve for their burritos!
FTS: Last question, when the moment strikes you, what do you like to fill your stein with?
Ashley: Not often, but I love a good mimosa.

We’d like to thank Ashley for joining us for the Podcast as well as for the interview and we send best wishes for her and Chris in the upcoming wedding this summer. A great representative of UMaine and the State of Maine, Ashley Underwood!

Did you catch the podcast this weekend? What did you think of Ashley’s interview? Leave your comments below.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fox411

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