Zombie House Flipping“You don’t really learn that much on it, I’d say.”

As heard on The Ryan Tubridy Show

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Although Zombie House Flipping presenter Ashlee Casserly lives and works in the US, Ryan Tubridy dug deep to get to where in Ireland she’s from and Ashlee crumbled under the pressure, first telling him she was from Mullingar, then admitting she’d actually been born in Dublin, before finally clarifying where exactly in Westmeath she grew up: Coolnahay, on the road out of Mullingar, towards Ballynacargy. Ashlee studied Archaeology and Greek and Roman Civilisation in NUI Galway, where she spent a Summer in San Francisco on a J1, before making her way back there permanently after she graduated. The thing about doing Archaeology, Ryan suggests, is that you either want to be an archaeologist or you don’t. To which Ashlee replied: 

Yeah and I think that I was kind of in the don’t-want-to-be-an-archaeologist camp.” 

Let’s back up a little here. Zombie House Flipping? What on earth does that even mean? Does Ashlee present a TV programme where the walking dead toss bungalows at each other? No, she does not (although I would definitely watch such a show – someone make it please). Ashlee is a real estate broker (as they call estate agents in the US) and the show features her and her team buying properties that have been foreclosed on and left derelict, doing them up and selling them for a profit. That’s the house, the zombie and the flipping parts explained. But how does such a show come about? Out of the blue, as it happens. Ashlee explains: 

“This guy called kind of randomly and was like, ‘Hey, we’re going to do a show. We’re trying to find the right people. It’s going to be called Zombie House Flipping.’ And I was like, ‘Uh, this guy is obviously a scammer, like I’ve no idea what he’s on about.’ And it sounded so bizarre, you know, so I was kind of like, ‘Yeah, yeah, whatever,’ and hung up.”  

But the guy Ashlee thought was a scammer turned out to be a person who makes TV programmes and Ashlee and her friend Justin found themselves making a show that was indeed called Zombie House Flippers. The show has been going since 2014 on the A+E network in the US and has just been picked up for a fourth season. And it sounds like fun: 

“There’s a lot of shenanigans and it’s more entertaining than it is – you know, you don’t really learn that much on it, I’d say. It’s more funny Florida-style living, along with alligators, that kind of thing.” 

One episode did, in fact, feature an alligator that decided to take a dip in the swimming pool and the people on the show had to try to convince the reptile to go swimming somewhere else: 

“We had an alligator come into the pool – the house was right across the street from the lake, which is super common here – and the alligator crawled across the road, got into the pool and then we had to try to get him out and Justin, one of the guys on the show, was throwing him fried chicken and all of that kind of stuff.” 

So it’s got zombies and alligators – it sounds like a must-watch. You can hear Ryan and Ashlee’s full conversation, including how her Irish twang made being a bartender more difficult, by going here

Niall Ó Sioradáin 

© The Listener 2021

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