Challenge Invasion Preview: Ashley Mitchell
When I first began doing these player previews, I did not expect myself to get this far. However, the support from those of you challenge-maniacs who are reading them and recommending them on medium have really made me feel supported and given me a purpose when writing them. If you have noticed, I am waiting to do the best for last, as I still have not done 7 of the champions, I would have 8, but I decided to do Camila as my second piece and that selection got a lot of responses and helped me gain steam in writing the previews that bored me. So again, I thank you all for reading.
Today’s preview is one that many have been anticipating, a girl I have mentioned many times before, the woman, the myth, the legend, Ashley Mitchell A.K.A Smashley. Ashley has become a fan favorite after her first season of the Challenge. Little did people expect her to actually arrive on the show after being kicked out of the Real World house on Explosion after only three episodes. What format would she fit? Sure she made out with Cory for a possible Exes theme, but she was not on television long enough to really be on any major theme unless it was individuals or free agents. However, in the Challenge universe where the word Rival is heavily stretched out to fit guy-girl pairs, Cory’s perfect rival was the wonderful Smashley. On Ashley’s first night on the show, she got heavily intoxicated and had some intimate fun with Challenge champion and Cara Maria’s cousin, Jamie. She went on to amaze the world more by performing well in the first daily challenge, then at the night club creating a fake situation where Jamie was making out with Nany’s cousin Nicole. This is the type of crazy hysteria that breeds well into the Challenge. In a season without many eliminations, this is the drama that America and the Challenge needs to survive. Ashley’s MVP performance might have been on the Soap Challenge, where she gave a full exhibition of herself to a live audience with her partner Cory. I am not going to say what she did was okay, but it is going to be a moment we always remember in Challenge history. Smashley went on to do well in basically all of the daily challenges last season, including an impressive daily challenge win where Ashley got fully bruised up, but was still ready to continue competing.
What was surprising about Ashley is that even with her party girl mentality she became quietly one of the strongest female competitors in the entire house. From looking up stats on a modelling page, it says she is 5'9, which I might think is a lie and that she’s actually probably closer to 5'6. However, if she is 5'6 or even taller, that is a huge surprise, compared to her massive guy teammates with her small frame Ashley has looked around 5'4 at the tallest to me. Yet, her being much taller and lankier makes so much sense, she did incredibly well in all of the Challenges last season where height was favored, grip was included, and balance was set at a high standard. Even better was that Ashley had a winner’s mentality. She did not complain like many of the other competitors during the challenges, she was outgoing and wanted to compete, more than anything when her and Cory lost in the elimination to Nate and Christina last season, she was visibly upset. While I support good sportsmanship, there is nothing I love more than a person who has their heart truly into winning the game. Cory lost her Rivals 3, and now she is back to prove herself and make her first final.
Now here’s my review of Ashley as a competitor:
Skills/Physical Strength: Ashley spends her time working as a model and being rich. Good life. One would expect her to be spending time at the gym in order to maintain her shape and look good as a model, right? Well the past six months her social media has been mostly modelling pictures and her either traveling or at parties with friends or her man. However, stalking back from the Summer of 2016, and also from before the filming of Rivals 3, Ashley was putting in legitimate work at the gym and was getting great cardio work in. cardio is such an important factor for females doing well in the Challenge, just ask Paula, Laurel, Cara Maria, Cooke, Evelyn, Nany, and Theresa. The girls with cardio can dominate final and people never see it coming. Being a big physical threat wins eliminations and daily challenges, but cardio wins finals. Ashley cannot beat Laurel or Cara is pure strength lifting competition, but she has better balance than both of them — it sounds dumb, the little stuff matters when the field is average and separates you when you get to the final. She did not have to do really any swimming last season, but I get the weird suspicion that she is a good swimmer. Out of the female cast, Ashley seems to be one on the more skilled athletes where having good footwork and hand eye coordination separates you from the middle of the pack.
Mental Game/Politics: I love Smashley. America loves Smashley, and in the same way they love the Camilanator, except for the people in the Challenge it is different. Despite being evicted from the Real World house after only a few episodes, Ashley gained a lot of acclaim from people in the house from her time on the Challenge. While the rivalry between Cory and Ashley was always a stretch, their friendship on the season was fun and adorable. She gained the favor of other girls in the house, including Sarah Rice. I know these days a lot of people do not like Sarah, but Sarah is a good competitor who knows the game well and if she thinks someone is good, they’re usually pretty damn good at the game. Ashley is fun to be around, she knows how to have a good team, super funny, and will be the life of the party. Based off of her MTV preseason cast bio and her social media, she seems to be in a relationship that looks decently serious. I think we will see a more mature and loyal Ashley this go around of the Challenge, and that will make her such a big threat in the house. You wanna know why exactly? Because Ashley is freaking smart. In all this hysteria, in all the madness, Ashley is quietly brilliant and blunt. On last season’s endurance challenge, she finished the puzzle incredibly quickly. It was her not Cory who figured out the sequence in the up all night challenge. And on top of that, in all her word stumbling and occasional drunken mumbles, her sentences are much more coherent and well put together than that of her fellow cast members. If we can get more Ashley and a little less Smashley this season, we are going to see a dominant player.
Eliminations: As I just noted, Ashley is naturally pretty intelligent. On the flip side this intelligence gets pushed to side by her emotions and occasionally alcohol(it’s okay we’ve all been there). This sounds like a bad thing, and it is when it involves house politics and arguments, but in eliminations being crazy and making quick decisions on the fly wins you games. Wes and Cara are two sides of a coin, one is a skilled athlete and politics master, while the other is a small emotional cardio beast with arms of steel. What these two have in common is they are emotional players who can quickly analyze who they are facing and do whatever it takes to win. This has resulted in 24 elimination wins between the two of them(13 for Wes, 11 for Cara) each of which hold the respective elimination win records for their sex. When Ashley turns Smashley in eliminations it is something all the girls in the house should be afraid of. I cannot see her beating Laurel or Cara heads up, but can give a lot of girls in the house trouble with her speed and length. A big reason to respect and appreciate Ashley is that she competed almost all of last season injured. She got major whiplash during the daily challenge where her and Cory won. The wounds and cuts were incredibly deep and she struggled just sleeping in her bed, and she didn’t even get pain meds! Ashley is a tough one.
Final Potential/Endurance: I think Ashley may need to put on some pounds in order to be able to deal with the tear on a body that will be a three day in final if she were to make it. Carbs are super important, those second and third winds are important towards winning or doing well in the final. Ashley’s body type most resembles a taller stronger Diem to me. I’ve peeped from her social media that she gets some good cardio in while working out, and like Cory said last season, Ashley is a party girl who can go on forever. Winning the final with a stacked crowd in her second season likely will not happen, though second or third is highly realistic. Her best chance this season would be the best competitors taking each other out, and in the final a strong person being brought down by a teammate in the final that ruins the game, reminiscent of Zach almost losing the Free Agents final for Laurel. I like Ashley’s chances to make it far in the game though.
Total Score: 84/100