Survivor: Ashley tells it all

By admin
26 March 2010

She couldn’t get homesick, she decided on day one. Every day she’d think about her partner and kids briefly, wipe away the tears and focus on winning Survivor South Africa: Santa Carolina.

But the night Ashley Hayden (42) arrived back from Mozambique she didn’t hold back her feelings.

As she turned into their street in Parkview, Johannesburg. she saw yellow ribbons tied around the trees and could hear her and partner Charlie Wilson’s favourite song, Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree, playing. Outside the house he and Cara (6) were waiting with Guy (5). As they hugged and kissed everyone started bawling.

Her stint on the island felt long and tough, says the former M-Net continuity presenter who loves challenges. In Survivor the challenge was not glamorous and the conditions gruelling.

Her plan was to fly under the radar. “I’m someone who always wants to be in control and it wasn’t easy.” She tried to be nice, the girl everyone liked.

Not that viewers saw it that way. When Ashley organised for Binnelanders’ Sandi Schultz to be voted off they laid into her on the internet but Ashley says Survivor is just a game and she wasn’t bothered by this.

Her strategy, which turned out to be successful, was to vote out as many women as possible before the teams amalgamated. “SA men don’t see women as a threat and it’s easier to fool them,” she says.

Appropriately Ashley runs programmes to teach women how to achieve despite prejudice in the workplace.

She says at home she more like the Ashley on Survivor “just cleaner!”

She’s upset so many Africans still live in similar conditions, which is why she chose The Homestead – Projects for Street Children as her charity. “What you’re experiencing in a month on the island our children experience every day on the streets,” the director of the project wrote to her.

As she reads the words the tears well up in her eyes.

* Ashley will soon appear in 7de Laan as Wesley’s (Eckhard Rabe) ex-wife Diana who has a  dark past and promises to cause ructions.

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