Last month, it was revealed in a rather surprising turn of events that Erika Casupanan, a communications manager from Toronto, was the winner of “Survivor 41.” Although she was fairly under-edited onscreen, especially for a winner, Erika is a student of the game, and has proven her expertise on the game of “Survivor” time and time again.
Recently, Erika posted a years-old video on her Twitter account addressed to CBS, where she gleefully remarked that she will be the first Canadian to win “Survivor.” Here’s what you need to know:
Erika Described Herself As a ‘Lion Dressed as a Lamb’
In a tweet posted Thursday, Erika revealed that she found a “Survivor”-related clip of herself from years ago, adding that she would likely never post her actual “Survivor” audition video online because, “even though it’s life changing I still think it’s so awkward lol.” Of the video she posted, she said, “Thought you’d get a kick out of it.”
In the video, she says: “Hey CBS, I’m a lion, dressed as a lamb, and I’m going to be the next– no, I’m going to be the first Canadian winner of ‘Survivor’.” Erika also wore a “Survivor” buff around her torso during the clip, a buff which she clarified in a comment reply was a 10 year anniversary buff.
“Survivor” began casting Canadians in 2018; season 39, “Island of the Idols” was the first season where exclusively Canadian contestants were eligible to compete. Given how season 40 was an all-stars season, “Survivor 41” was the second season Erika was eligible to go on. Since Erika has said she applied for “Survivor” as soon as it was announced she could, it is possible this was a clip from an audition video for season 39.
This is not the first time Erika has highlighted a past statement reflecting her love for “Survivor.” Back in 2010, when she was 20, Erika posted a tweet on the date of the “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” premiere, which read, “Btw I still watch survivor.” She responded to it shortly after the “Survivor 41” finale, stating, “Omg I won”. The old tweet, which has since gone somewhat viral among the “Survivor” community, has amassed over 2.7 thousand likes. The reply has garnered nearly 19 thousand.
Erika’s Self-Description Was Evident in the Show
It’s noteworthy that Erika chose to clip not only her prediction of becoming the first Canadian winner, but also her description of herself as a “lion dressed as a lamb.” Since the season finale, Erika has been praised by many fans – let alone jury members – for playing a masterful under-the-radar game.
In her pre-season CBS bio, Erika said she would play the game like “Brenda on the outside, Todd underneath,” referring to Brenda Lowe, who was known for her friendliness and kind demeanor in season 26, “Caramoan,” and Todd Herzog, winner of “Survivor: China,” who played a fairly duplicitous game. In her bio, Erika said of her manipulative ability, “the great thing is no one would expect it because of my youthful face and small stature.”
In her Final Tribal Council performance, which has similarly been praised by viewers and contestants of the show alike, Erika explained that her strategy coming into the game was to “be a sweet lamb” in the pre-merge portion of the game, where she would stick with a majority alliance and quietly make her way up. However, she was never given that chance since her tribe, Luvu, never had to go to Tribal Council.
In a quote which has become somewhat iconic among fans, Erika said later during Final Tribal that “I’ve spent almost 10 years going into board rooms. People treat me like the intern, but I’m really the one who’s running the meeting.” She then said that she always knew that if she got to the finals, “I’d be a dark horse.” This proved to be the case both within the game itself, as well as for viewers of the show. In any case, her “lamb dressed as a lion” strategy proved to be highly effective.
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Season 42 will premiere on March 9.