Murtz On The Scene: Exclusive Interview With The Amazing Race 23‘s Ally Mello & Ashley Covert

Sunday’s episode of The Amazing Race will undoubtedly be remembered for Nicole Jasper engaging in one of the most appalling acts in the show’s history, when she attempted to copy Leo Temory in a roadblock task that asked the teams to construct an angklung instrument in Indonesia (this was after the doctors used the U-Turn against the Afghanimals in the previous episode). When Leo destroyed his instrument to prevent the cheating from taking place, Nicole only managed to get through the task after it was basically completed for her by her fellow alliance member Amy Diaz. The collusion resulted in ‘Ice Girls’ Ally Mello and Ashley Covert being eliminated. I caught up with the blonde bombshells to discuss what happened, their alliance with the Afghanimals and Ally’s showmance with Tim that we didn’t see.

Murtz Jaffer: Ally, I want to get right into it. I thought that the way that Nicole attempted to copy Leo’s scale at the roadblock was the most appalling thing I have ever seen on the show, especially after U-Turning them in the last leg. I know that had already happened prior to you guys arriving at the roadblock, what was it like watching it on TV for the first time?

Ally Mello: Honestly, it was really hard to watch. I knew that we had already made our own mistakes but watching the way that she went about figuring it all out. It was really hard to watch especially because Ashley had gotten it done in her first try and figured it out quickly. It was a hard one to take.

MJ: Ashley, I understand that you actually completed the roadblock that asked teams to finish building a scale on your first try. How did you feel when you saw Amy basically doing it for Nicole?

Ashley Covert: It was hard to stomach it because I was able to figure it out in 10 minutes and knowing that Amy had literally placed every piece in order for Nicole and told her that ‘this is what you need to do’ and Jay was telling her ‘you need to hurry up, you need to hurry up.’ It was just kind of like… there should be something in the rules stating that you can’t help out another team that much. At the end of the day, I am not mad at Amy for helping. I understand that was their alliance and they wanted to keep them in it for whatever reason. It just sucks because Ally and I could have caught up to them.

MJ: Many Amazing Race teams talk about the luck factor as being a critical determinant in who does well and who doesn’t. You guys had a pretty stress-free ride up until this past leg. It was on this one where the “For The Elephants” detour seemed to throw you off your game and it was the first time that you started to argue with each other. Can you tell me about what happened and why you didn’t carry the sugarcane on the top of the cab like the other teams did?

AM: There were not very many taxis there and that was our first issue. The first few taxis that we did flag down, would not let us put any type of fruit in their taxi so we were just having difficulties finding a taxi that would even allow us to put it in there and then when we tried fitting the sugarcane, they didn’t like the way that Ashley and I were trying to do that. I mean a lot of the guy/girl teams, the guys were able to hold the sugarcane outside of the car but we didn’t have the reach to do that and they didn’t want us putting it in the car. We really had bad luck for the taxi for the first time during the whole Race. It really really really changed the game for us. It was frustrating and it was hot and it was one of those things where we felt desperate because we couldn’t find taxis. The opportunity just wasn’t there to fix what needed to be fixed.

MJ: It had nothing to do with the other teams having guys right? It wasn’t the male cab drivers saying ‘okay, I am going to let these guys do it but I am not going to let these two guys do it?’

AM: I wouldn’t blame it on that. I don’t know why certain cab drivers didn’t want to put it in their car but maybe it was just our bad luck!

MJ: The portrayals of teams this season has been fascinating. Travis and Nicole initially came off as the heroes and the Afghanimals came off as the villains and now it seems like the roles are completely reversed. Travis and Nicole talked about how they wanted to set an example for their kids and then ended up using a U-Turn and cheating. Do you think the Afghanimals are now the heroes?

AC: I don’t know if I would call them the heroes, I think everybody watching is now able to see how really fun they are. In this past episode, you were able to really see them dancing around in the arena with the kids and just really having a blast with them. That was the Leo & Jamal that we knew. Seeing Leo running around with the angklung so Nicole couldn’t see it, that’s just him. He likes to laugh and have fun. For me, I just think that now they are going to come across as the funny good guys that everybody is going to start rooting for to win now. We’ll see what happens with everything though.

MJ: Why did it seem like you guys were the only ones who liked them? Did they just rub people the wrong way at the start? I felt like you guys were their only friends in the world.

AC: (Laughs). I think that people just didn’t really agree with the way that they raced. Ally and I really got to know them in the airports and we were able to be on planes together. They were just so kind to us. We never really raced against them. They were always in the front and Ally and I were always in the back so we were never really up at the front with them. We knew that if we were up in the front with them, they would help us. I think people just didn’t like the way that they raced. Ally and I just understood that they were there for the million dollars. We came out of it with two lifelong friends and that’s all that really matters to us.

MJ: Ally, when watching the show, it felt like this season was a tale of two alliances, with Jason/Amy/Travis/Nicole on one side and you guys and Leo and Jamal on the other. How did these alliances form and why couldn’t you guys all get together?

AM: Our alliance formed with the Afghanimals right off the bat. In the LAX airport on the first leg and it was just a case of us all being from LA. They were more travelled than we were and we thought that they could help us with figuring out how to travel internationally and tricks of the trade with that. They were just funny. They made us laugh. The whole way through, we just had such a good time with them. When we were stressed out, being with them helped us calm down and enjoy ourselves. Jason and Amy, they apparently think that they raced that the same way, but I think that Jason and Amy are on a different platform. I am not sure how they raced the same. Those guys (Jason/Amy/Travis/Nicole) just felt that they were both couples and had similar outlooks on how the Race should be raced. That’s how they got together as far as I know. Now that we are out of the Race, it will be interesting to see how they treat the Afghanimals knowing that the Afghanimals don’t have an alliance anymore.

MJ: On the show, it seemed like the Afghanimals were helping you guys a lot. Were there things that you helped them with that we didn’t see?

AC: We actually made sure that they read their clues every single time. In the first episode, you see me pointing at Leo and saying ‘you didn’t read your clue correctly’ and then you didn’t see when we were in Norway, Leo & Jamal misread their clue again and when we got in, Ally and I were like ‘you didn’t read your clue, you were supposed to walk here instead of take a taxi.’ They were like ‘what should we do?’ and we told them that they had to go back and walk. That could have really hurt them in the end if they had to take that penalty. We helped each other in different ways.

MJ: On the leg prior to you guys being eliminated, Tim and Marie chose to U-Turn the Bunnies instead of you. When I talked to them, they mentioned that the reason Tim and Marie chose to U-Turn them instead of you guys is because you and Tim liked flirting with each other. Do you think that had anything to do with it?

AM: (Laughs). Oh my goodness! Well, possibly. Tim and I definitely got along on the Race. We were both single and enjoying each other’s company but they also had other problems with the Bunnies. It started at the airport on that one leg. I think it was a combination, but hey, we’ll take it right? Being an all-girl team had to be an advantage at some point right?

MJ: That actually is my next question. Do you think that pretty girls have an advantage or disadvantage on the Race or does it not play a factor at all?

AC: Honestly? It can because we didn’t get U-Turned by Tim & Marie. I don’t think that it really does. You might be able to link up with a male/male team if you are a pretty girl and they want to hang out with hot chicks, but at the end of the day you are racing by yourself so it’s not really going to help you. But in this instance, it definitely helped us because Ally and Tim were able to be a little bit flirty with each other and the Bunnies went home and not us because they got U-Turned.

MJ: And the Afghanimals weren’t jealous of you and Tim?

AM: (Laughs). No, the Afghanimals… they were just strictly friends. I am not sure. People told me that Leo was sad about it and we kind of could see a little bit of a difference. Once it was game time, Tim and I didn’t really talk much but once the cameras were off, that was when we were able to have fun together. I hope it didn’t. I hope it didn’t bother him.

MJ: I am dying to know, Ashley, what does an Ice Girl do?

AC: Our job as an LA Kings Ice Team member is that we have about 400 appearances a year. We work for an amazing Foundation called Kings Care where we raise a lot of money for children’s hospitals and things like that. If you come to a Kings game, you can find us running through the stands, throwing t-shirts out to people. We go on the ice and clean the ice during each timeout to regulation to make sure the ice is clean and smooth for the players and for the Kings to win all their home games.

MJ: What’s next for you?

AM: I am just back to reality here in LA. Working a lot. I do a lot of modeling and all sorts of things in the entertainment industry so I am going to continue doing that and just having fun. We both got our degrees at Cal State Long Beach. Definitely looking into masters programs right now but I am not going to jump on that too quickly.

AC: I am actually finishing up a teaching credential at Cal State Long Beach so I am in a graduate program. What’s next for me? Having fun with everybody and being busy in LA and then maybe slowing down a bit and getting into some teaching.

MJ: I will leave you with this final thought. Ally, if you were in a showmance with Leo, then I think your name would be “Leoly” and if you were in a showmance with Tim, it would be “Timly.” Which one sounds better to you?

(Ally & Ashley laugh).

AM: Oh no! That’s a hard one! Man. I think I could trust Leo to be a more loyal friend and a more loyal choice to go with but Tim is so much fun. Gosh!

MJ: So Leoly or Timly? You gotta give me a final answer!

AC: I like Leoly, Ally!

AM: Yeah, I think I have to go with Leoly. You read my mind.

MJ: Amazing. Thank you so much. It was great talking to you!

AM & AC: Thank you.

The Amazing Race airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CTV & CBS

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