'Survivor' winner Maryanne Oketch reveals "the clincher" that sealed her landslide victory
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/27/2022
Survivor winner Maryanne Oketch has revealed what she feels clinched her landslide victory against runner-up Mike Turner and third-place finisher Romeo Escobar.
Maryanne, a 24-year-old seminary student from Ajax, Ontario, won Survivor's 42nd season on Night 26 of the game through a 7-1-0 vote at the Final Tribal Council. Mike received only one jury vote from Jonathan Young.
During the final jury questioning, Maryanne shocked the cast by whipping out a hidden Immunity Idol, the only secret idol in the game. Maryanne had told no one about her idol, and she didn't even need to use it to get to the Final 3.
It appeared in that moment the jury realized Maryanne was a very strategic player -- not just a giddy, silly goofball as she had come across at camp.
"I feel as if the clincher was when I whipped out that hidden immunity idol and then people were like, 'Oh my gosh! All the pieces are coming together. This makes sense. She's been thinking this whole time.' And I had tangible evidence that I was," Maryanne toldEntertainment Weekly following Survivor's finale broadcast on Wednesday night.
Maryanne also blindsided Omar Zaheer, which set her up with different combinations that would ultimately secure her a seat at the Final Tribal Council.
"Going into the final Tribal Council, I felt as if I probably was gonna win. I felt like since it was Mike at the end and not Jonathan that would be harder competition, but I really felt as if I would be able to go and speak and articulate the way that I won," Maryanne explained.
"I then wavered a little bit at Tribal because people kept on just talking to Mike, and I was just basically dead in the water. But then when they started talking to me, I started giving answers and was able to articulate my game."
Maryanne said the jury seemed to be "vibing" with her story and then she really started feeling like she had won the game.
"I really could feel the momentum swinging," Maryanne confirmed.
The jury seemed upset Mike, who had preached about playing a loyal and honest game with integrity, wouldn't admit to being a "snake" in the game. Some of the jurors, namely Omar, wanted to hear Mike take accountability for his betrayals and own being cunning and strategic.
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But as Mike dropped the ball, Maryanne gained momentum -- and she even won over Rocksroy Bailey.
"I was actually surprised I got Rocksroy's vote. I am not a physical person. I was actually kind of embarrassed knowing that my parents were just seeing me fail at every single Immunity Challenge," Maryanne admitted.
"So getting Rocksroy's, who's like the king of physicality, I was very shocked and very happy because I might not be physical in the challenges, but I really feel as if I put in the work at camp life."
Going back to the Final 5, Maryanne revealed if she would've played her idol for herself had Mike -- who won the prior Individual Immunity Challenge -- would've used his idol to save Jonathan or Lindsay Dolashewich.
"I think I would've in the moment, but my thought going into Tribal was that I would basically be like, 'Mike isn't a man of his word. He's a liar. He promised me this, but it's fine because I always have a plan B and I'm always prepared.' I would've done like a huge big thing," Maryanne shared.
One of Maryanne's best decisions turned out to be voting Lindsay out instead of saving her.
"So my fear was that me playing the idol [for Lindsay], 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," Maryanne explained.
Maryanne apparently didn't want the jury to think that Lindsay "convinced" her to use the idol -- that no one knew about -- on Lindsay.
"So that was my fear about why I actually didn't play the idol on her," she noted.
If Maryanne made it to the Final 3 with Lindsay, Maryanne admitted the jury vote probably would've been a close call and she may not have pulled out the win.
"I feel it'd be rougher for me to win, because Lindsay... I feel out of everyone that played the game, she had the most all-around game," Maryanne said, adding how Lindsay was good strategically, socially and physically.
"So I really think it would be a toss-up. It could have been her. It could have been me. I try not to think about the what ifs. I've spiraled before because of the what ifs. I'm trying not to spiral again."