Tuesday , February 27 2024

Vietnamese-born woman wins $4.56M in Netflix-produced “Squid Game: The Challenge”


Beating over 455 other contestants, the Vietnamese-born Mai Whelan triumphed in Netflix’s reality show “Squid Game: The Challenge” and pocketed $4.56 million.

Mai Whelan has become the ultimate winner of Netflix’s reality show Squid Game: The Challenge. Photo by Netflix

Mai Whelan has become the ultimate winner of Netflix’s reality show “Squid Game: The Challenge.” Photo by Netflix

The series, inspired by the 2021 South Korean drama “Squid Game,” concluded its first season as the finale episode started streaming on Netflix on Wednesday, reported The Independent.

In the highly anticipated conclusion of the show, three last contestants – Phill, Sam, and Mai – took part in two games of chance. Sam then became the first to bow out after a button-pressing game.

Phill and Mai subsequently competed against each other in a rock, paper, scissors game, with the ultimate winner being given a key that unlocks the show’s coveted piggy bank prize. Mai eventually won against Phill thanks to tracking his choices throughout the rounds and taking advantage of the insights to predict what he would do.

“What I’m most proud of is that I didn’t compromise my integrity to win the money,” the 55-year-old Vietnamese-born told Entertainment Weekly following her triumph, adding that she was proud of being able to prove that she could still do anything at her age as long as she put her mind into it.

The audience approved of her thoughts, hailing Mai as one of the show’s most strategic players who “deserved” to win the whole show.

According to Esquire, Mai’s Netflix profile listed that she relocated to the U.S. at the age of eight. She then joined the U.S. Navy Force aged 18 but got pregnant shortly after and was rejected by her family. She has been a single mom, lately a grandparent, ever since.

Starting filming in the United Kingdom in Jan. 2023, “Squid Game: The Challenge” claims to be the reality TV show with the highest number of contestants. It also offers the second highest award in reality TV history, second only to “The X Factor US” which rewards its winner with a contract worth $5 million.

Nonetheless, it has generated its share of controversy, with some contestants reporting health issues as consequences of the filming process and viewers questioning the show’s ethics, accusing the show of omitting its original series’ critique of class disparity and capitalism.

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