Ashley Hebert has lived to date another day.

The 26-year-old dentist from Madawaska survived the first episode of the new season of ABC’s hit reality show “The Bachelor” on Monday night.

Hebert did enough to impress bachelor Brad Womack – and didn’t do enough to scare him off – that she made the first cut.

Of the 30 women who began Monday’s episode vying for Womack’s romantic attention, only 20 are still competing. Womack sent the 10 others home.

Unlike other reality shows, there is no prize on “The Bachelor” other than the bachelor himself. A national TV audience watches him court women in locations around the world while searching for a potential wife.

Hebert was one of the first contestants introduced on camera, saying she can promise Womack “fun, romance and healthy gums.”

When Hebert met Womack, she came out of a limousine wearing a shimmering, bright red evening gown and gave Womack a tight hug, saying “I’m a hugger.” Womack lifted her off the ground and called her “beautiful.”

Hebert told Womack that if he wanted to skip answering tons of questions from all the contestants, they could just get back in the limousine and leave. “You just made this a lot easier,” Womack said.

Womack, a 38-year-old businessman from Texas, has been called “the most hated Bachelor” because he shocked the show’s fans in 2007 by choosing neither of the two finalists. Some of the contestants Monday berated Womack for his prior indecision.

Later in the show, with Womack and all the women in one room, Hebert asked him, “What if you don’t find someone you have a connection with?” She told the other women that Womack may have had “some huge thing” happen to him and is now ready to commit to romance.

Earlier in the two-hour show, Hebert was shown working on a patient in a dental office, and said she now lives in Philadelphia. She is studying dentistry and is scheduled to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania in the spring.

Besides working as a dentist, Hebert is a dance instructor. She started dancing as a child in Madawaska – on the Canadian border more than six hours north of Portland. She went on to be captain of her dance team at the University of Maine.

Hebert isn’t talking about her experience on “The Bachelor.” Contestants are prohibited from talking publicly until they are eliminated or the show is over.

So people who want to find out how she does will have to continue watching the show, which will air at 8 p.m. Mondays on ABC.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: [email protected]