SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHO WON OUTLAST ON NETFLIX
They’ve been called reality TV’s “biggest villains ever,” and that’s really saying something in this day and age. Jill Ashlock and Amber Asay may not have won Netflix’s thrilling new adventure competition Outlast, but they’ve made as big a mark as the bear scat they dodged out in the Alaskan wilderness.
The pair, who can only be described as a real-life Thelma and Louise, are the breakout stars of the show, mostly for the morally ambiguous actions they took to try to win the $1 million prize. On Outlast, 16 lone wolf survivalists were dumped into the remote, frigidly cold and rainy frontier with one mission: last there longer than everybody else. There was one major catch to the game, though. They had to make it to the end as a team. No easy feat for this gathering of Type A personalities.
Jill, a tough-as-nails alpha, and Amber, a felon and recovering addict, built an impenetrable bond from the get-go. For the rest of the game, they pretty much stopped at nothing to win, including destroying their competitors’ raft and stealing their sleeping bags, putting them at risk for hypothermia and ya know, death. And arguably bullying their own teammate, Justin, who shredded their shelter in retaliation before defecting.
Jill was the cult-like leader and Amber her willing disciple, and together they were the number one reason the game turned into a Lord of the Flies-like circus (maybe also the starvation. Surely, that makes people act cuckoo).
At one point, Jill had the opportunity to ditch her protégé and join the team that ultimately won. But she chose her unwavering friendship with Amber over money and basically lost about a quarter of a million bucks. They personified the good versus evil trope but are also a touching tale of redemption.
Whether you hated Jill and Amber, loved them, or loved to hate them, they made Outlast a hoot and are forever etched in the pantheon of reality show villainy.
Outdoors: You guys were, for better or worse, the most fun to watch in the show. And the most controversial.
Jill: That’s what I hear.
Outdoors: Jill, your survival skills out in the wilderness were unbelievable. Where did that come from?
Jill: I never grew up knowing what being comfortable meant. My entire life was about surviving literally, whether it was at the hands of abusive parents or just living at poverty level. I can remember as young as eight years old foraging for foods that were edible and believe it or not, I still have some PTSD about grabbing things that do not taste palatable. I learned the hard way. I’m completely self-taught. When I got older and was able to drive myself to a library, I advanced my knowledge somewhat but yeah that’s basically where the start of those survival skills came from for me. They weren’t a desire. They were a necessity.
Amber: She shot a squirrel from 20 yards away with a bow and arrow.
Outdoors: Amber, your best line the entire show was when you said something along the lines of, “I was a survivor when I came here, I’m now a survivalist because of Jill.”
Amber: In the beginning of the show, I realized how out of my element I was. I was standing on the bank of the river looking around and all these competitors seemed like they had been surviving in the wild and bushcrafting since they were straight out of the womb. Everyone’s in camo and I’m in a bright, pink jacket and bright green boots. And I’m like, Oh, I might be a little ill prepared for this challenge. Having a teammate and being open to learn from Jill was the most amazing part of the experience, truly.
Outdoors: Jill, you have kids. Did you look at Amber like a daughter?
Jill: I referenced Amber as “baby girl” a lot throughout the filming. I have that instinctual mothering. The thing that I always resort to no matter what position I’m put in, I’m a leader, not a follower. I’ve always had that mentality. No one is going to grab me by my hand and lead me in life. When I was a child, they sure as hell didn’t. When I became an adult, I only had myself to pick up my bootstraps. So I try to do that for other people instinctually. It’s not something, especially in a competition game show, that you would think that someone would resort to, but it’s not controllable. I’m gonna win no matter what. I’m gonna slit throats and dig my way all the way from the bottom to the top. But as you can tell, that motherly instinct in me is where my integrity will always top out. I think. I can’t help but to support people.
Not that Amber was lacking the ability. She sure as heck had the gumption to believe that she could get through it. She had the confidence to stand on her own without me. But I was gonna pull her along, whether it meant dragging her body, her head of her hair through, through the middle of the bay. Because she was my girl.
Outdoors: Was your bond immediate?
Jill: We both are women that were trained not to trust. Period. Whether it be from lovers or parental abstinence in our life or just friends that failed us. So to develop a trust in each other, and give that vulnerability, when we both were consistently fighting against that, our personalities did not allow us to adapt to love each other right away. That was something that grew like a plant.
Outdoors: Amber, were you intimidated by Jill at first?
Amber: I’m one of those people where I don’t really get intimidated by people per se. I definitely thought of Jill as a very strong woman. I just knew that I was going to have to learn how to act, I guess. Navigate the waters with her. Jill had a plan and there was really no deviating from that. Out there in the wild she’s a professional, so I’m gonna trust her word and I’m gonna go up to the edge and look over and I’m gonna see if I’m gonna jump. There was really no other choice but to rely on your teammates.
Even that little bit of forced trust and kind of blind state is what started to pave the way. As people started falling off, as the challenges got a little bit more intense, and as the days started getting a little bit more pressurized internally we started relying more on each other. We couldn’t really verify what’s real and what’s not. But I know that right now in this moment she is right.
Outdoors: What was the hardest part of the game? Was it the hunger, the cold, or spooning with your teammate Justin?
Jill: Pain feeds motivation, right? There’s this erroneous mentality when people think that they’ve reached their limit, then they have to tap. You can get mad. You can cry. I do that a lot. You can even scream and cuss, but you can’t quit. So until my body said that I was done, I wasn’t leaving that place. I literally took my flare gun and buried that under our shelter. To this day, it may still be out in the middle of the tundra.
Amber: The cold was incredibly hard on your mental ability to focus. The cognition was gone in like three days, hunger set in within five or six. If you didn’t allow that push of your primal instincts to take over then you were definitely going to pull that flare out and leave.
Jill: Whether it meant spooning with Justin or helping Amber pack tons of moss off the top of the hill down to the bottom to our camp, so that we had comfort, that’s what I was going to do, regardless.
Amber: Coming from Arizona, I didn’t realize there was a place in the world that could rain as much as it did in Alaska. There was a storm that even the locals said had not hit the shore like that in years and of course we were in it. It gets to a point where you feel like you’re going to break but if you can hold past that point then you start to become adjusted.
Outdoors: You’re getting a lot of hate for your cutthroat tactics to win. How do you feel about being labeled as the villains of the show?
Jill: Hopefully everyone will realize that we’re all like the face of the moon. On one side we shine, and we have a glow. But there’s also a dark side we may never see. I’m so freaking transparent. I can’t help but to give my all 110% every day in my life that I show my dark side. Not many people will be as vulnerable as I was to do that and I’m freaking proud of that. I didn’t know how it would be perceived but you can call me a villain if that’s the name placed on my my throne.
But when you think of movies like 101 Dalmatians, for instance, who’s the first character you think of? You don’t think of the good guy. If I have to be the one that takes that Cruella Deville name, at least I was 100 percent me and I will continue to be 100 percent me because whether it’s the glowing side of the moon, or the dark side, I’m gonna give you the whole sphere.
Outdoors: Amber, do you have regrets about the things you did? Or was it just part of the journey?
Amber: Everything is connected, everything is intertwined. The journey is what it was, and it wouldn’t be what it was had it not played out exactly in the way it did. When I went into this show, I really wanted to prove something to myself. I had come from just being beaten down by the external world. My self esteem, my self confidence, was really-low.
We had a conversation where Jill said, “Okay, this is what Justin has done. This is what I have done. What are you willing to do and what rules are you willing to break and when? And will you go there when the time comes?” That was really a turning point for me, because it kind of woke me up to, what is real, what is not and what am I willing to do? And what am I willing to sell my soul for? Is this money and this experience worth it? When you’re in a group of people, things can start to change, you start to adapt to your circumstances and like a chameleon, you start to change colors in order to survive.
Outdoors: Did Jill ever tell you she almost crossed the river without you to join CHARLIE?
Amber: She actually did. I looked at her and I said, “Jill I would not be resentful, I would not hold a resentment, if you cross that river. If you went and you won, I would not hold a resentment whatsoever.” She said, “We’re f****** doing this together.”
Still even to this day, it’s something that I’ve asked her: “Jill, do you wish that you would have crossed that river? Do you wish you would have joined Charlie boys? And every single time she will tell me, “I choose you, a thousand times. I choose you.” And I think that that there’s no amount of money that is worth that kind of friendship. I will have a soul sister for life.
Outdoors: You guys also kind of proved the point of the show, right? That you can’t do it alone. You need a teammate, whether in this game or in life.
Jill: I have to disagree, honestly. If it wasn’t for Amber, I would have won that show. I’m not choosing a different path, I have no regret whatsoever, but if the show had been Survivor, or a competition show where it’s all about you and you can be an arrogant egotistical asshole, oh my gosh, I would have took that show all the way to the extremes. But it wasn’t. You had to be part of a team.
I thought it was gonna be Justin and me to be honest. He was my Kentucky boy, we have similar backgrounds. But I don’t exude mine in a bravado like he does. And he’s a male. As a female, I’m just more emotional. I’m passionate with my life and I just develop my strategies based on that. I don’t see that as a disability and he did. Later on, it became obvious that Justin was not going to be my guy. It became amber without that option of jumping ship. And when it came down to the decision of leaving her or staying with her, that was when I decided that no matter what happens in my life, from this point forward, I can’t go back to my husband and to my kids and be the real me and say that I left this woman for a quarter of a million dollars. That’s not me.
So whether it was trying to be this alpha wolf, or villain, to win this money at all costs, cutting off heads all the way, being true to myself at the end of the day, that’s what I’m most proud of. This show pushed me to find that that piece of me that I didn’t really know. How far will I go for that win to be the best, to prove to myself that I am enough? I know now that I won’t go that far.
Outdoors: Do you still talk to Justin?
Jill: I haven’t.
Jill: I have not had any contact with Justin. I hear that he is apologetic, and he does regret what he did, honorably. But he has not apologized to me, and I don’t believe he’s apologized to Amber either.
Outdoors: Other cast members have said in interviews, “I don’t care if I ever talk to some of these people ever again.” For lack of a better word, they are butthurt.
Amber: If you’re referring to the Justin note, that’s a total perfect word.
Outdoors: Was it heartbreaking seeing the Charlie boys win the game just minutes before you?
Amber: We became so connected to nature because we were so present. We were so in tune that we started picking up the hum of the earth. One time we were walking down the banks and we saw these eagles, and we felt powerful and it was a good sign and we knew that good things were going to happen. The day Justin destroyed our tent, there were crows screaming that morning and I knew that something bad was happening.
So, the day of the last challenge, we’re about to walk around the bank of turn that corner where we can see the island and the finish line, and we see these two fucking big crows fly over our heads and land in a tree. They were dead silent. We looked up at them, and I said, “We lost.” We turned the corner and walked ten yards and saw the guys in the boat. They won. We both dropped to our knees.
Jill: One thing that I can say is I just want people to realize that I was not outlasted. The show was “outlast.” I was not outlasted. I was outrun in a foot race by three men. So just remember, we didn’t quit, and we hung in there all the way to the end. And we did make it to that finish line. We were not outlasted.
Amber: That’s right.
Outdoor: By the end of the show, you sort of redeem yourselves because of your resilience and loyalty. You were definitely the “bad guys,” but I, for one, found myself rooting for your team to win and was pretty devastated when you didn’t. Some people might call your loss karma.
Jill: You almost would think this show was scripted because it was just so damn beautiful. And it wasn’t. Not one bit. Did we plan to fall in love with each other? Not one bit. Did we plan to give the audience this love/hate? It develops throughout each of the episodes to where you hate us. But then you want us to win because you fall in love with who we’ve become as a unit. And then we lose, and it breaks your heart. It’s like a Lifetime movie.
Amber: A little more sentimental [laughs].
Jill: Even to this day, I can’t comprehend what we’ve given to the world. Because when I set out for the show, you hear me many times say, “It’s not about the money.” But then I convert back to, “No, I’m the alpha here, I’m going to win, because I’m the best that’s here.” And I truly believed that in my heart. I didn’t go there to prove that that I am a strong, independent, confident woman to you, or to Amber, or to Netflix, or to the world. I wanted it for me. I just didn’t want to fail. That was it. So to go out there and develop this relationship with her…
Outdoors: What’s your relationship like now since the end of the show?
Jill: I’ve been out to visit her. I’ve slept in her bed at her house. We talk several times a week.
Outdoors: Wait, did you fall in love for real?
Jill: [Laughs] No, no, in her spare room.
Amber: We’re always down for cuddles [laughs]. Last spring, she came out and stayed with me for about a week and I got to show her mountains and take her rock climbing and show her a waterfall in the desert. It was beautiful. She’s my sister forever and I love her so much.
Outdoors: Is life a piece of cake now after surviving in the Alaskan wilderness for a month?
Jill: No, it’s not.
Amber: We’re grinding.
Jill: We’re still on that borderline of middle class and poverty. We’re still struggling working two jobs, trying to make ends meet. So, life is still tough, but we do it with a smile on our face, with a new friend that we know we can always count on for life now.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
9 thoughts on “Exclusive Interview with Outlast’s Supervillains Jill and Amber”
Jill wasn’t outrun. She lost because she couldn’t navigate from point A to point B even with a compass and a contour map and she took them way off course. That she can’t admit that to herself or to the public tells you even more about her personality, if her sadistic cruelty during the game didn’t already tell you everything you need to know about her.
The best team won. Full stop.
By the way, the reason she and Amber are getting sh*t now from the viewing public, and people are not going after Justin isn’t misogyny. It’s that they clearly enjoyed being sadistic.
Kentucky, when one of your own shows you who she is, believe her.
As for choosing Amber over the win? Not so fast. She was arrogant enough to think that she and Amber and Justin could beat team Charlie. They invited her to join them when they were four strong. $200k vs $333k? She bet on the $333k.
Very true. Her staying with Alpha team looked like a very obvious attempt to cast herself in a better light, and as soon as the decision was made, she then set about labelling Justin as ‘the bad one’ in the group.
A show who can be the meanest is definitely not a survival show.thumd down on outlast.and the mean girls.
Pretty gross you’d interview these people. They don’t represent anything to do with outdoors. Wish them the worst but it seems life already gave them that. Disgusting souls from the start.
You rooted for these disgusting human beings tells me all I need to know about you. Karma is coming for these two and it won’t be pretty.
I did not ever root for them. They stole and ruined their competitors’ gear. I don’t care if it was “allowed” or not, it was dishonorable.
Justin Amber and Jill were a band of thieves. Ugly. The outdoors does not bring out the worst of people, they were rotten to start with. Terrible show to condone this kind of behavior to be aired.
The delusion is strong here.
It’s amazing what guff people will tell themselves to try and justify completely underhanded deeds.
The fact that they got all ‘Lord of the Flies’ with the smaller teams, while not riling the 3 man crew that included a wrestling coach and former Marines Sergeant, really tells us all we need to know in terms of character, or lack thereof.
Still at least with her ‘underdogs’ analogy (conveniently forgetting the headstart they were gifted for the final hike), Amber got it half right.
HAHAHAHA! Whoever wrote this article is a simp! Did you watch the same show? Last time I ever use this website again. How could I possible trust any advice or product recommended from a site naive enough to back two sub par humans who obviously couldn’t win a SURVIVAL show by ummm…SURVIVING. Jill and Amber look and act like Meth heads who could only win a competition called OUT STEAL. Lol, OUTDOORS. Your own article makes your website a farce. “Equip” why? So other people can steal your stuff? “Explore”, you mean exploring other peoples campsites to damage, steal or threaten because you can’t win without sabotage? “Empower” hahahaha! You mean revealing that you actually have less power than pond scum because at least pond scum serves a purpose? Seriously. How powerful are you when all you could do was verbally threaten a man who was actually powerful enough to not hit women (loose translation of women here).
Sigh. Silly to assume “Outdoors” would actually believe in a thing called sportsmanship. Well now I know. Shame Bear Grylls to align yourself and your company with this kind of riffraff. Bro, read the forums. Literally the two most hated women online… for a good reason. I definitely won’t shop here, read your articles or recommend anymore and highly recommend others not to as well. It’s time we held businesses accountable for the character and principles they actually promote instead of what they “say” they promote. Equip, Explore, Empower. What a joke.