‘Survivor 42’: Why Maryanne Oketch Was an ‘Emotional Wreck’ After Her Victory

Maryanne Oketch

CBS Maryanne Oketch in "Survivor 42."

The season finale of “Survivor 42” brought us our 40th winner of the franchise: 23-year-old Maryanne Oketch. Like Erika Casupanan last year, Maryanne also played a relatively under-the-radar game, so it stands to reason that there is much that went on during the game that viewers weren’t privy to.

Luckily for fans, Maryanne has spoken out about her win since the big reveal last night, and it’s no surprise that there are a number of things which fans should know.

Maryanne Reveals Who Was Her Secret ‘Rock’ In the Game

In her exit interview with EW, Maryanne said that perhaps the biggest thing about her game which the edit did not show was her relationship with Tori Meehan, whom she described as “my rock.” This relationship sprouted around the “fake merge” in episode 6, largely because the two were among the four who were not included in the majority “eight” alliance (which promptly fell apart later that episode). As a result, they mostly ostracized from the rest of the tribe, and naturally bonded with each other.

“No one would talk to us,” she said. “No one would speak with us. And being mentally and socially ostracized from the group was so bad. But having Tori, we would laugh all day.” Maryanne added that the two were “always” together, and that she considers her her “island bestie.”

Survivor 42 Taku 4

CBSThe “Survivor 42” “Taku 4” – Jonathan Young, Omar Zaheer, Maryanne Oketch, and Lindsay Dolashewich.

Of course, viewers of the season will know how close Maryanne was to her Taku 4 alliance, which is precisely why getting rid of her allies Omar Zaheer and Lindsay Dolashewich at the final 6 and 5, respectively, were such game-changing moves for her. In an interview with Parade, she described these decisions as “hard for me emotionally,” adding that “voting someone else out who I love for and care for was very hard on my psyche.”

At the final 5, Maryanne made a pivotal move in deciding not to play her secret hidden immunity idol for Lindsay, sending her ally home in a unanimous vote. Per EW, Maryanne revealed that, while she was considering playing the idol, she had a “huge big speech” prepared before doing it. “We’re talking like Natalie Anderson: ‘Did you vote for who I told you to vote for’?” Maryanne said. “Just to really solidify, because I’m a big fan of dramatic moments.”

However, for Maryanne, the turning point in deciding not to play the idol came when she realized that saving Lindsay would look more like a testament to Lindsay’s game than it would be for Maryanne’s. As she explained:

My fear was that me playing the idol, it wouldn’t be me showing that I have autonomy. It would be that Lindsay keeps on getting lucky and it would go and be credited to her social game that she managed to convince someone she didn’t even know had an idol to play it for her.

Of course, Maryanne also spoke about this in her laudable Final Tribal Council performance, where she revealed to the jury that she had been in possession of a hidden immunity idol all along. And in the end, Lindsay and Omar both ended up voting for her to win.

After ‘Survivor,’ Maryanne Was ‘Crying Every Day’

Per EW, Maryanne revealed that coming back home after winning “Survivor” was also very difficult for her, as not only was winning “Survivor” emotionally overwhelming, but it was hard for her to imagine how to move on in life from there. She explained:

I was an emotional wreck, crying every day, just sleeping on the floor, just a mess having that time to reintegrate into regular life, and then also to see what’s next? Like, I finished this dream. This dream’s now done. What do I figure out in my life?

Maryanne also explained how it was precisely because of those reasons that she was grateful for having to wait nearly a year before talking with her loved ones about her win, since had she done that immediately upon returning home, she likely would not be in the same mental state. “Figuring out that there’s more in life than just ‘Survivor’ was very helpful,” she said. “And I’m so happy that I had that 11 months to think about it because I don’t think I’d be in the same mental state that I am now if I had only, like, five months.”

On Wednesday, however, Maryanne was able to celebrate her win with her family, she explained, “and that was something which was super great, because my whole family was going and celebrating.”

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