Mai Whelan Has Been Living a Quiet Life Since Winning 'Squid Game: The Challenge'

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Dec. 7 2023, Published 10:29 a.m. ET

Mai Whelan (Player 287) won Season 1 of 'Squid Game: The Challenge'
Source: Netflix

The Gist:

  • A whopping 456 players entered Squid Game: The Challenge, but only one will claim victory.
  • Mai Whelan (Player 287) took home the crown and the life-changing $4.56 million prize.
  • Since winning, Mai has enjoyed laying low and relaxing at home with her family.
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Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Squid Game: The Challenge.

After a thrilling 10 episodes spanning three weeks, Netflix finally unveiled the inaugural winner of Squid Game: The Challenge. The finale sees Sam Lantz (Player 016), Mai Whelan (Player 287), and Phill Cain (Player 451) compete in the final challenges for the life-changing grand prize.

Ultimately, following a series of gripping "Rock, Paper, Scissors" rounds, Mai emerges victorious, securing the record-breaking $4.56 million prize and etching her name into the history books. Months have passed since Mai last sported her green tracksuit, so where is she now? Keep reading to discover her current whereabouts!

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Mai Whelan (Player 287) after winning Season 1 of 'Squid Game: The Challenge.'
Source: Netflix

What is 'Squid Game: The Challenge' winner Mai Whelan up to now?

Despite bagging an impressive $4.56 million, Tudum noted that "little else has changed" in Mai's quiet post-victory life. She returned home to Virginia, opting for a low-key life with her husband and their two dogs. Additionally, Mai has been enjoying spending quality time with her 12-year-old granddaughter.

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"It was a relief to go back to normal life and not worry about getting eliminated. I needed that after two and a half weeks of intense go, go, go, and emotional ups and downs," Mai told the outlet. "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."

How is Mai putting her 'Squid Game: The Challenge' winnings to use?

Now, you might be curious: What is Mai doing with her winnings?! Well, as the proud recipient of $4.56 million, Mai treated herself to an intricately beaded, black velvet Ralph Lauren gown, which she flaunted at the Squid Game: The Challenge finale watch party on Dec. 6, 2023, in New York City.

"It's a beautiful dress. I couldn't help it," she said of the purchase. "But that's about as frivolous as I want to go."

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Mai Whelan (Player 287) at the 'Squid Game: The Challenge' finale watch party on Dec. 6, 2023 in NYC.
Source: Netflix

Mai Whelan (Player 287) at the 'Squid Game: The Challenge' finale watch party on Dec. 6, 2023 in NYC.

For now, Mai is using the money to renovate her home, with plans to build a small dock for a boat. However, once her home improvements are complete, Mai's focus will shift toward making a positive impact on the lives of others.

"My heart is with people, animals, and climate change," Mai shared regarding how she plans to spend her winnings. "If we continue what we're doing, there won't be a future for all the little kids growing up right now."

Squid Game: The Challenge is now streaming on Netflix.

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