On Wednesday, 24-year-old Canadian seminary student Maryanne Oketch was revealed to have won “Survivor 42” in a landslide 7-1-0 vote, beating out co-finalists Mike Turner and Romeo Escobar to become the second black female winner in “Survivor” history.
In light of her nearly historic win, Maryanne has taken to social media to deliver some heartwarming messages to her former castmates, with whom she has appeared to grow increasingly close since her victory nearly a year ago now.
Here’s what you should know:
Maryanne Gives Heartfelt Thank You to ‘My New Family’
In an Instagram post Friday celebrating her win, Maryanne posted a collage of photos of herself alongside various former tribe members (and non-tribe members), accompanied by a thank you message addressed to a select few of them specifically.
“THANK YOU,” she wrote, “to my new family!!! The ones I got to see (legally) in the past 24 hours, and the ones that I have yet to see! … I am so blessed to have met every one of you, pictured or not pictured, and you are NEVER. getting rid of me!!”
To Lydia Meredith, with whom she had a brief and fleeting alliance during the game (even though the two would vote for one another during the one time they attended Tribal together) Maryanne labeled the “Grandma Alliance” (because of their relatively old-timey names, despite both being in their early 20s), she thanked her “for giving me grace even when I didn’t deserve it.”
To Jenny Kim, a castaway who she never even met during the game, Maryanne thanked her “for being a queen and icon, and one of our resident robbed goddesses.”
To 31-year-old Lindsay Dolashewich, her Taku 4 partner with whom she got to the final 5, she thanked her “for being a sister, a role model, and being so strong and powerful, and never wavering in your convictions.”
To Daniel Strunk, another castaway who she never actually met until after filming ended but seems to have developed a bond with since production wrapped, Maryanne thanked him for “being so kind and always checking in on me, and for reading the contract extensively so I don’t have to,” apparently taking advantage of his lawyerly skills.
Maryanne Has Bonded With A Cast Member’s Family
And finally, to 22-year-old Zach Wurtenberger, who Maryanne famously developed a crush on before he was voted out first, she thanked him for “being a kind confidant,” as well as his “sacrifice” for being the first voted out. “I love you so much,” she wrote, “and will always be in your debt for your role in triggering the most improbable cascade of events.”
Since their time on the show together, Maryanne and Zach have developed a strong friendship; although they did not end up dating, another boy who fit Zach’s profile reached out to her during the airing of the season expressing an interest in her. Now, he and Maryanne are the ones in a relationship.
Finally, to her runner-up, Mike Turner, she thanked him for “loving me both on and off the island, unconditionally.” On Thursday, Maryanne also posted a joint Instagram collage with Mike’s daughter, Chelsea, with whom she has befriended since the show finished airing. In addition, Maryanne even attended Mike’s recent wedding, and actually introduced them for the first time as a married couple there. Maryanne later referred to Mike as her “island dad,” and herself as his “island daughter.”
In her Instagram post, Mike’s real daughter, Chelsea, congratulated Maryanne for her win, and added that she has “[won] a place in all the [T]urner’s hearts ❤️.”
Maryanne also made a celebratory post on Friday in which she thanked her fans (who she called “Marystannes”), adding that “there are MANY more” thank you posts to come. Undoubtably, Maryanne’s uplifting personality translated well through the screen, and with this kind of social grace, it is no wonder she was able to achieve such a dominant win.