After a fierce competition that lasted nine episodes, the reality show finally crowned its champion out of a total of 456 participants.
Whelan, who currently resides in Virginia, emerged as the winner in the final episode that aired on Wednesday.
The reality series, based on the popular 2021 South Korean drama “Squid Game,” challenged contestants with tasks reminiscent of the original, including the iconic Red Light, Green Light and the nerve-wracking glass bridge.
In addition, the show added twists to the challenges by eliminating contestants or offering advantages for each episode through unique games and rules.
Outshining 453 other competitors, the three finalists — Whelan No. 287, Phill Cain No. 451, and Sam Lantz No. 016 — battled it out in the concluding episode, engaging in two final games of chance to determine the lucky winner.
In the end, Mai emerged as the fortunate one, consistently triumphing in different rounds and securing the key to open the coveted prize vault, which contained a record-breaking $4.56 million.
|A scene from Season 1 of the Netflix reality competition show ‘Squid Game: The Challenge.’ Photo: Netflix
“It was a relief to return to normal life and not worry about being eliminated,” Whelan told Netflix’s official companion site Tudum.
“After two and a half weeks of intense go, go, go, and emotional ups and downs, I needed that.
“But the person who entered [the competition] is still me.
“I’m still Mai, and she hasn’t changed — except that I came out stronger.”
Although winning is great, even life-changing, Mai is primarily concerned with how the $4.56 million can make a difference beyond her own life.
Once she finishes renovating her home, which ideally includes building a small dock for a boat, she plans to use her winnings for causes close to her heart, such as helping people, animals, and combating climate change, as she revealed to Tudum.
After the conclusion of the first season, Studio Lambert, the show’s producer, has begun casting for the next season, scheduled to air in 2024.