Warning: This post contains spoilers from Wednesday’s season finale survivor 42
Who would have thought that such a loveable, goofy girl would turn up the heat when it came time to grab the cash? That’s exactly what new graduate Maryanne Oketch did to earn her victory, the title of Sole Survivor, and the $1 million check.
Despite angering some of her early Taku tribemates, Maryanne masked her strategic side until absolutely necessary, finding multiple idols and massaging their relationships to secure a spot in Finale 3 (the orchestration of Omar’s Blindside) and outwitting, outplaying and outlasted their competition: second-place finisher Mike Turner and third-place finisher Romeo Escobar. (Read a full synopsis of the finale here.)
Below, TVLine talks to Maryanne about her life after survivorher biggest moves in the game, her heart on her sleeve and the very special term she coined for her fans.
TVLINE | First of all, congratulations!
MARYAN OKETCH | Thanks very much!
TVLINE | So, Maryanne, tell me: how does it feel to be one? survivor Legend?
Oh my god, don’t even say that! That’s… that’s a lot. I’m still trying to walk and sit in the fact that I am one survivor Winner. If you add a legend, I haven’t even processed that. It’s so surreal.
TVLINE | How did it feel coming home from Fiji and having to keep this big secret that you just won Millions of damn dollars?
Gosh, it was such a hard secret to keep. But the thing is, I knew my families are big survivor Fans, and the people around me are big fans. I knew it would be a lot sweeter for them to watch me win than just knowing how I did.
TVLINE | You’re one of the youngest players and winners we’ve seen on the show. How has your life changed since you came home?
I went back home, lived with my parents and finished my studies. Honestly, it was officially like, huh, 24 hours? Less than that? So my life hasn’t really changed. I’m not trying to improve my standard of living. I’m trying to live my broken student life.
TVLINE | You mentioned on the show that a member of your family was estranged. It was my turn survivor help bring everyone back together?
Family things obviously aren’t going to be just a quick fix, but my whole family was with me survivor To see the final and it really meant a lot to me.
TVLINE | You had such great emotions on the show. Do you always wear your heart on your sleeve, or was it just the emotional whiplash of survivor did that touch you so much?
I always wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m always someone that people know how I feel about my emotions. The problem is that sometimes I feel feelings but I don’t know how to express them. So that’s what I’ve been working on. I worked on it before the show and worked on it after, but everyone knows they can read me like a book when it comes to my emotions.
TVLINE | Before the last tribal, how confident were you that you could win? And has that changed or shifted at all over the time of the Tribal Council?
It was a bit of a roller coaster ride. When I went into the last tribal, I kind of felt like, ‘Oh my god, I think I’m going to win.’ But people kept asking Mike questions and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I miscalculated. i will not win That sucks.” But then, when people started talking to me and allowing me to be more articulate about my gameplay, I thought, “Okay, I think I have a chance.”
TVLINE | This season had some powerhouse players. Do you think you could have beaten Hai, Omar, Drea or Lindsay?
I don’t think I could win against them. Lindsay is the one who has a very, very big hit because she and I had very different games. But I really didn’t think I could beat them in the finals, so I targeted them in the last eight, seven and six. It’s not about being the best player. It’s about being the best player in the end.
TVLINE | They were instrumental in getting Omar out of the game. How important was this move for your endgame?
If that move flopped my game had to work because I would have burned down every single bridge if I didn’t actually get Omar out. Because then Lindsay wouldn’t be working with me, and Romeo would have known I would have been fine with his name being thrown out just in case Omer didn’t go home. And I probably would have voted Jonathan out, so Mike would have been mad at me. It would have been very, very bad for me if that didn’t work, so I’m very glad it did.
TVLINE | In the beginning you were this lively young superfan. How much of it was drama for your fellow tribesmen, and at what moment in the game did you decide you really needed to crank it up?
I wouldn’t say I lied about any part of my personality, but I might have shown up and denied at some points. I knew I had a very strategic, very smart mind, so I really wanted to accentuate that bubbly part of me like, ‘Oh my god, I’m just so lucky to be here! That’s great. I’m living my best life,” so people would underestimate me and I could sneak through instead of being this strategic threat where it says, “She’s personable, she’s strategic, we gotta get her out.”
TVLINE | Tell me a little bit about your decision not to save Lindsay in Final 5.
On an emotional level, I wanted to save Lindsay. i loved omar Omar has been my #1 since day 2 and that really hurt my psyche. And then it was so hard to vote out someone who was so close to me [like] Lindsay too, especially after Tori left. So I wanted to save her on that emotional level. But then, when I started thinking about it, I realized on a strategic level that it wouldn’t have been wise to save Lindsay, because then she could have gone to the end and said, “I didn’t even know Maryanne had an idol, but because of my social skills I managed to get them to use it for me.” I didn’t have to do that and it would have been bad for my game.
TVLINE | Also, Lindsay had one a lot of good luck out there The Do or Die and the Tori vote survive…
It would have been lucky. She would have had that social ability. She was good to everyone. Then she was also much more physical than me. She was the most versatile player and that would have been very scary to reach the end.
TVLINE | What happened out there that we didn’t see on TV?
This is so much fun. I think on the second day of the fake meld we were chasing crabs and I saw an octopus. I had never used a Hawaiian sling before. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, there’s an octopus and someone has to kill it!’ And I was just so excited, ‘We have to kill it! We have to kill it!” So I’m like, “Who has the Hawaiian noose?” So it turns out I got Hai, the vegan, to kill the squid for the tribe, so retrospectively I felt kind of bad. But I thought, “I don’t have to be the hero to save the octopus. I need to get food for the tribe. And if that means I’m not the one killing it, that’s fine!”
TVLINE | Alright, sidebar. You know that term floating around on Twitter: “Marystan.”
Do you want to know a secret?
TVLINE | Always!
I actually shaped that. I coined the “Marystan” and then I made important contacts and used it earlier in the season. Then, when it spread, people would know each other as Marystans. This is no joke. I have the screenshots to prove it and all. The one I find so funny and didn’t coin was “Millionaire-ianne”. A little wordy, but it has a nice ring to it.
TVLINE | … and now it’s true!
TVLINE | You survived and won. would you do it again
I wouldn’t play now, but I love the game. I feel like I can give anything survivor In my stage of life – where it’s like, I’m young, I’m a student still figuring things out – I’ve pretty much done that. The only thing I could bring into the game is maybe gain an immunity, but I don’t feel like I could bring anything new to the table. Until I feel like I can bring something new from another stage in my life, I’m very happy with the way I played.
TVLINE | What’s next for you?
I just finished my masters a few weeks ago, so I think I’ll take a year off and work. Then maybe I’ll go back to school because I just love studying and now I can foot the bill.
TVLINE | Finally some advice for survivor Hope out there?
My best advice for the future survivor Hopefuls is here to make sure you know who you are. Make sure you know what triggers you. Make sure you know your ups and downs, things you need to work on, things you are very strong at, because knowing who you are will ensure that you are not affected in the game, who other people think you are. And then you’ll also know how other people’s perceptions of you align with your own narrative, and even with things that might just be their narrative, you’ll know how to defend yourself against them.
https://tvline.com/2022/05/26/survivor-season-42-winner-maryanne-oketch-interview/ ‘Survivor’ Winner Talks Final Tribal, Emotions, Omar Vote — Interview