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The winner of 'Squid Game: The Challenge' says they haven't received their $4.56 million prize even though the finale was 10 months ago

Phill Cain, Mai Whelan and Sam Lantz on green stairs wearing tuxedos and a bow tie
Contestants Phill Cain, Mai Whelan and Sam Lantz in "Squid Game: The Challenge."Pete Dadds / Netflix
  • Warning: This article contains spoilers for the finale of "Squid Game: The Challenge."

  • Mai Whelan said she hasn't received her winnings yet, even though the finale was filmed in February.

  • Despite this, she told The Times that she has splashed out on a few designer items already.

The winner of the "Squid Game: The Challenge" said they are yet to receive their $4.56 million prize, even though the finale was filmed in February.

Mai Whelan, or player 287, triumphed over 455 contestants and became the first winner of Netflix's 10-episode reality series inspired by the streamer's hit Korean-language drama, "Squid Game."

However, in an interview with The Times conducted after the nail-biting finale dropped on Wednesday, Whelan revealed that she is still waiting to receive her winnings.

The 55-year-old from Virginia told the UK-based newspaper: "I feel like Tom Cruise in 'Jerry Maguire.' Show me the money!"

According to a source close to the production, who spoke to People, contestants were informed that the money would not be paid until after the show's season one finale had aired.

Mai Whelan won a historic $4.56 million on "Squid Game: The Challenge."
Mai Whelan won a historic $4.56 million on "Squid Game: The Challenge," but hasn't seen her winnings yet.Peter Dadds/Netflix

That means Whelan should soon have her hands on the jackpot, which she told The Times she plans to spend on a retirement home. She said that she also wants to make donations to the underprivileged, wildlife, and climate change charities.

She said that despite not receiving her huge payday just yet, she has splashed out on a few things already.

For the "Squid Game: The Challenge" finale watch party, she gave herself a new look with a short haircut, a Ralph Lauren dress, and a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.

"I still have buyer's remorse from that, but I think it's well-deserved," she said of her designer purchases.

Mai Whelan attends the Squid Games The Challenge Finale Watch Party on December 06, 2023 in New York City
Mai Whelan preemptively splashed out on a designer dress and Jimmy Choo shoes for the finale watch party in New York.Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Netflix

Whelan also said she can't give away any of her winnings to fellow contestants as they all signed contracts forbidding that.

Whelan's victory came after several grueling social tests and "Squid Game"-inspired challenges. In the last game, she and competitor Phill Cain were pitted against each other for several rounds of rock, paper, scissors. The winner of each round was allowed to select a key from an assorted box — with one of the keys unlocking a safe that would give them the grand prize.

Cain — who uses he/she/they pronouns — told Business Insider that he had a hunch the key Whelan picked was the winning key several rounds before. "That's living rent-free in my brain every single day," he said.

"Squid Game: The Challenge" is based on Hwang Dong-hyuk's Korean-language Netflix drama "Squid Game" and premiered on Netflix in November.

Despite thinking that choosing rock, paper, scissors for the final game was "the silliest thing I've ever seen in my life," Cain said that he felt it was fitting as "it's mostly chance."

"We played like 33 or something rounds of rock, paper, scissors, and we went through most of the keys," Cain said. "There were like 40 keys. And she whooped my butt for most of that time. The edit was very kind to me and made it look like I won a few, but she won most of them, easy."

Read the original article on Business Insider