Abbie Fleener has had quite the journey since graduating from UCF. Originally from Grand Rapids Michigan, she came to UCF after starting her college volleyball career at DePaul, and became a standout for two years for the Knights. She helped UCF to the 2014 AAC Championship and the NCAA Tournament, and was named Second Team All-AAC in her senior season.
That was only the start of it. Since then, Fleener has settled in Nashville and embarked on a career in modeling.
Right now, Abbie is a contenstant to be Maxim Magazine's Cover Girl for 2018. It's a bracket-style online voting competition, and she's currently in second place in Southeast Group Six with two weeks left in this round of voting.
Abbie is also a talented musician, as she showed off in her UCF days, and still sings with her sister Ashley.
I caught up with Abbie to see how things are working out in her post-UCF career.
Eric Lopez: So what have you been up to since your career ended at UCF?
Here are Abbie and her sister Ashley covering "Million Reasons" by Lady Gaga:
E-Lo: What got you interested in playing volleyball?
Fleener: My older sisters started playing volleyball, so after going to a few of the games I realized I wanted to give it a shot. I used to play basketball and it was just way too much running, so I thought, why not, let’s try volleyball! And I’ve been I love with it ever since.
E-Lo: Have you had a chance to reflect on your UCF career?
Fleener: When I think of my career and time at UCF only the happiest thoughts come to mind. Some days it still feels surreal not waking up and making sure I didn’t sleep through my alarm for practice. I miss the sport and UCF so much.
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E-Lo: What made you decide to transfer to UCF?
Fleener: The second I set foot on UCF’s campus I knew I wanted to go there. I fell in love with the people on that campus and the location. The facilities are so gorgeous and I am so grateful for the decision I made.
E-Lo: Describe what it was like playing for Coach Dagenais.
Fleener: Interesting at times (haha!). I feel like we both knew how to push each other's buttons at times, but in the end it made me work harder.
E-Lo: What it was like to be part of the team that won the AAC and got the program back to the NCAAs in 2014?
Fleener: It was amazing! It’s the whole reason I transferred. I wanted to be a part of a championship team and be a key player on the court. We had such an awesome group of girls that season, and getting to accomplish a conference championship with them was amazing.
E-Lo: What made you decide to go to modeling?
Fleener: I got into modeling because when I was growing up I never could remember seeing a model with my body, an athletic healthy body. In fashion and media, it was all girls that were a size 0. Then when I got into college and my muscle mass increased, I really struggled with feeling like I didn’t meet society’s expectations of beauty. So when I saw that the industry was slowly changing I wanted to be a part of the change and help the industry grow.
Again, don't forget to vote for Abbie in Maxim's Cover Girl contest here.
You can also follow Abbie on Instagram at instagram.com/abbiefleener. You can also follow her on Twitter at @fleenagedream.