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.