Fresno native Ashonti Ford must deal with ex BFF to win on new reality TV show

Melanie Eke and Fresno’s Ashonti Ford are teammates on “The Battle of the Ex Besties.”
Melanie Eke and Fresno’s Ashonti Ford are teammates on “The Battle of the Ex Besties.” Oxygen

The initial excitement Fresno native Ashonti Ford was feeling about the chance to win $100,000 on a new cable competition show vanished quickly when she saw her teammate. She would have to play the game with former best friend Melanie Eke on Oxygen’s “The Battle of the Ex-Besties.”

“I don’t know how they found us,” Ford, who currently works at a TV station in Wichita, Kansas, says. “Everyone says it must be social media. I was on radio in L.A. and Melanie is on radio, so they may have heard us.”

Hosted by Sibley Scoles (“E! News”), the series follows 14 former BFFs who are forced to confront past differences in order to win the grand prize. The uncomfortable meeting of partners starts with the series opener Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Ford, who attend Buchanan High School, met Eke when they were both attending San Francisco State. Not only were they best friends for five years, but they worked together in a modeling business that Ford started. There were several circumstances that resulted in the two parting ways, which is the focus on the reality competition series.

“The Battle of the Besties” was filmed a year ago in Los Angeles. The first time Ford met any of the other competitors was in a ride to the initial filming location of Pershing Square. She didn’t know they were, like her, only half of the BFF teams in the show.

“I was the first one to walk out and I was next to this large barrier. When I was told that I was to meet my teammate, I was upset because I would only be able to win $50,000,” Ford said.

That was a minor concern once she came face-to-face with Eke. Ford was so livid that during the commercial break the staff had to try to calm her down. The anger had to be put aside so she could work with Eke to solve the challenges thrown at all the teams.

Ford can’t say how many challenges they completed. Losing teams will be eliminated each week. At least one of the challenges has the teams dumpster diving.

She can say that she’s just taken a new job at the Kansas TV station where she’s working as a general assignment reporter.

Ford calls the show, overall, “a great experience.”

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1

The Battle of the Ex Besties

  • 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14