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Former Survivor Contestant Finds Inspiration Close to Home

Ashley Underwood at Survivor: Redemption Island Reunion show

Former professional basketball player, former Miss USA contestant, registered nurse, and third runner-up on Survivor: Redemption Island—these are just a few of the titles held by this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Ashley Underwood.

As a Cony High School and University of Maine graduate from Benton, Maine, Underwood says Maine will always be her home saying, “I’m a small-town girl.” The mix of her athleticism and lack of fear of getting her hands dirty helped her make her way through the Survivor experience, but it didn’t help with the aftereffect of increased interest from the public.

Across the country, people began to wonder: who is Ashley Underwood? And naturally, people looked her up on Facebook and Twitter. She quickly began to be thankful for various privacy options and the ability to switch location services off. Underwood sometimes feels the need to censor what she puts out there and says, “I will never post my minute-to-minute activities or exactly where I am. I think a lot of people treat social media sites as their diaries and that’s never really been me.”

Post-Survivor Ashley embraced an opportunity in New York City and began working at Leverage Agency, a full-service sports, entertainment and media marketing company. While in the city, she was also on the receiving end of celebrity sightings. She said she was surprised to be recognized especially in a city where there are millions of people who are accustomed to seeing celebrities on a daily basis. She says, “It’s a very bizarre feeling, but it is definitely flattering.”

Ashley in Nairobi while working with Flying Kites Global

Public attention is part of why Ashley prefers to keep her personal life as private as possible. She says, “I am very blessed to have amazing people in my life who have always been supportive.” She admits she’s not perfect and says, “It’s nice to have people that aren’t afraid to just be honest with me.” If you ask anyone who knows her they will tell you she is one of the nicest, most humble and genuine people they know and if you already follow her on Twitter or are friends with her on Facebook, you know that she finds inspiration in her faith.

Underwood has never been shy about her relationship with God and she credits her passion of giving to others to her belief in God. Ashley says that she believes in putting effort into loving others and making a difference; the things that truly matter.  She also credits her parents saying, “They brought me up to be a strong woman of faith and taught me to be true to what I believe in. They gave me a solid foundation to be the woman I am today.”

Last year she volunteered with Flying Kites Global, an organization based out of Africa that focuses on providing orphaned children of Nairobi with the care and resources necessary to build exceptional lives, families and communities. For Underwood it was an experience of a lifetime, which ultimately resulted in not only meeting with the children at the orphanage, but also a hike to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

After recently moving back to Maine, Ashley is currently working as a school nurse at Atwood Primary School in Oakland. To connect with Ashley you can follow her on Twitter @AshleyUSurvivor.

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