Erika Casupanan was revealed as the 41st winner of “Survivor” when the season 41 finale aired last month. This surprised many fans, given her fairly low-key edit, though she also garnered much praise given her humor, personality, effective under-the-radar gameplay, and exquisite Final Tribal Council performance. Erika is also notably the first Filipino winner, first winner from Canada, first female winner in seven seasons, and ninth winner of color overall.
Recently, Erika spoke out about what it was like living in a post-“Survivor” world, how this life-changing experience will affect her life moving forward, and even teased some potential big plans for the next few chapters of her life.
Here’s what you need to know:
‘Survivor’ Has Helped Erika View Herself Differently
In an interview Sunday with Sarah Prince, a Toronto-based blogger and digital marketer who also attended college with Erika at the University of Western Ontario, Erika spoke about how she believed her life in the business world would change as a result of her “Survivor” experience. Erika, a communications manager who worked at a number of companies including Kijiji Canada before her appearance on the reality show, revealed that “Survivor” gave her a whole new sense of confidence that she will take with her both in real life, and in the career world. She explained:
“Survivor” gave me the confidence…to say okay, go walk through this door and you can let go of whatever you thought you had to do before this, now you get a fresh start. And I think that after having played the game and really bringing in the life experience that I had before the game and even though [I was] underestimated, bringing all of that into the game and figuring out how something that was such a disadvantage…I could use that to my advantage.
Erika went on to say that along with this confidence boost, she even began to realize that she was not an abnormal person, despite how she thought she used to be. She explained that before “Survivor,” “everything that I was feeling…made me think I was crazy, and that the world just wasn’t built for me.” However, after competing on the show, her worldview and sense of self became validated. “I was right,” she said. “I wasn’t crazy, and now I can use that newfound sense of self and that bigger confidence to help me as I move forward.”
Erika Teased Something Special in Her ‘Next Chapter’ of Life
During her interview, Erika also spoke about what her future may look like now that her “Survivor” experience is over, at least for now, and even teased that there might be something big in the works which she can’t yet reveal too much about.
Apart from continuing to stay at home and “[hoping] that things will be able to open up,” Erika said that “Survivor” has opened a lot of doors for her, so she is still trying to figure out which door is best for her. “I feel like I can’t say a lot right now, but I’m really excited for the next chapter and the chapters after that,” Erika said. She added that she wants to use her platform responsibly, given how many fans – especially younger ones – do look up to her. She explained:
I really want to ensure that this platform that I’ve been given is something that I can use effectively, and I know that a lot of people felt very inspired and I think they felt really capable after seeing that I had won since I look so different from a lot of the recent winners and I bring in a different life experience. So, I’m really hoping that I can continue to use the platform I have now to continue to help people to feel like…they’re also capable at achieving whatever their dream is.
When Prince said, “it kind of sounds like you do have future plans, but it’s just a little too early to talk about it,” Erika replied, “one could say that.” Only time will tell how, exactly, Erika’s “Survivor” win will affect her life moving forward, but as of now, fans should be happy to know she has seen herself improve as a person as a result.
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Be sure to catch season 42 when it premieres March 9, 2022.