Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Episodes 6-8 of Squid Game: The Challenge.
If you're up for a wild ride in the realm of cutthroat reality TV, look no further than Squid Game: The Challenge. The competition series, inspired by the South Korean drama Squid Game, is currently taking the world by storm with its rollercoaster of twists, turns, and intense games.
The show sees 456 players from all walks of life battle it out for the chance to win the ultimate grand prize (a jaw-dropping $4.56 million, in case you were curious). Among the contenders is Ashley Tolbert, aka Player 278. With that said, let's get to know one of the more fierce competitors in Squid Game: The Challenge.
What is Ashley's job outside of 'Squid Game: The Challenge'?
According to her official LinkedIn profile, Ashley currently works as a HIPAA and civil rights investigator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights in Atlanta.
For those interested, Ashley's job involves ensuring that healthcare providers follow privacy laws and treat people fairly and equally in healthcare matters. Additionally, she likely investigates complaints to ensure compliance with rules, safeguarding patients' rights and privacy.
Before this role, she worked in research and as a graduate research assistant at Emory University and the Morehouse School of Medicine. In 2016, Ashley also gained experience as an ESL teacher in Shanghai City, China.
This left a lasting impact on Ashley, who says her mom raised her to be as resilient as she is. Ashley acknowledges her strength and tough exterior, noting that these qualities make it difficult for her to get close to others. In fact, breaking down many of her emotional walls is a prerequisite before she even considers letting someone in.
Ashley knows she has a massive target on her back.
Although the remaining players agree to work together during the Glass Bridge game, Ashley does her own thing. She refuses to follow the rules and lets fan-favorite competitor Trey Plutnicki (Player 301) get eliminated, which irks several fellow contestants, including Mai (Player 287).
However, in the cutthroat competitive environment, everyone is focused on their individual success. Therefore, Ashley understands that aiding someone else's progress would only diminish her own chances of securing the prize — and truthfully? We can't fault her for that.
Nevertheless, Mai remains determined to ensure Ashley's elimination. In Episode 8, the last 12 contestants engage in a challenge involving rolling a die. Before rolling, each player must nominate another player for elimination. Should a contestant roll a six, the nominated player is eliminated.
Despite the agreement for each player to nominate themselves, Mai surprises the group by choosing Ashley. Luck is not on Mai's side as she fails to roll a six, allowing Ashley to stay in the competition. When it's Ashley's turn to roll the die, she nominates Mai, but the roll doesn't result in a six, keeping Mai actively in the game.
The evident animosity between the two adds an extra layer of excitement to the show, and it'll be interesting to see who will outlast the other in the competition!
Watch Squid Game: The Challenge on Netflix.