After the drama of Squid Game: The Challenge, here’s what Mai is up to now

‘I’m still Mai – except I came out stronger’

Now Squid Game: The Challenge has wrapped up, you’re probably wondering what winner Mai Whelan is up to, given her new life includes being a multimillionaire.

In the gripping final episode we watched her go up against Phill in an all-or-nothing game of rock, paper, scissors after which she won the key to the $4.56million prize fund.

It’s now been months since the show was filmed, all the way back in January 2023, and Mai’s life has changed forever – so let’s see what she’s been up to since winning Squid Game: The Challenge.

After Squid Game: The Challenge, Mai is now relaxing at home with her family

Mai winner of Squid Game: The Challenge now

Mai Whelan at the Squid Game: The Challenge finale watch party, via Derek French/Shutterstock

Mai is 55 and retired, and her family home is in Virginia. She told Netflix since the show she’s been laying low, and has tried to go back to as much of a normal life as possible. She has been relaxing at home with her husband and their two dogs, and spending time with her 12-year-old granddaughter. Mai also has two daughters, aged 36 and 34.

“It was a relief to go back to normal life and not worry about getting eliminated,” she said. “I needed that after two and a half weeks of intense go, go, go, and emotional ups and downs. But the person that came into [the competition] is me. I’m still Mai, and she hasn’t changed — except that I came out stronger.”

‘People think it couldn’t possibly be me’

via Netflix

Speaking of her victory, Mai said she was definitely an underdog, and she thought people wouldn’t expect her to win, as she’s older, smaller, and a woman. Plus, as an Asian woman, she said she contended with additional assumptions about her.

“People will think it couldn’t possibly be me,” Mai told Netflix of her victory. “I am so glad that I’m a woman, I’m a minority, and able overcome everything at my age. So I’m putting it out there, don’t be afraid. Be who you are and just plough through.”

“I want to let all of the players know that without their support, I wouldn’t be here today,” she added, giving a special shoutout to TJ (player 182) and Chad (player 286). “I’m very grateful to them for having my back.”

What has she spent the Squid Game: The Challenge prize fund on?

via Netflix

You might be surprised to know, that even though the show was filmed some months ago, Mai hasn’t actually received a single dollar of her multimillion prize fund. However, she’s already started spending knowing she’ll soon be reimbursed, and has made some plans for the rest of the cash.

She wants to spend the majority of the cash renovating her Virginia home, and building a dock for a boat there. She has also said she is on the look out for a retirement property in the future. In terms of quick splurges with the cash, Mai said she has bought a black velvet Ralph Lauren gown, which she plans to wear to her upcoming press tour as winner of the competition. She also got some Jimmy Choo shoes, and paid to get a full new hair-do. Iconic.

Read what she spent the cash on in full here.

Squid Game: The Challenge is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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