Who Is Mai From Squid Game: The Challenge? Job, Age & Where Is She Now

7 December 2023, 09:25 | Updated: 7 December 2023, 12:23

Get to know Squid Game: The Challenge's Mai
Get to know Squid Game: The Challenge's Mai. Picture: Netflix
Capital FM

By Capital FM

Mai Whelan (aka player 287) won Squid Game: The Challenge. But who is she? What is her job and where is she now? Here's everything you need to know about the winner.

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Alongside players Sam Lantz (016) and Phil Cain (451), player 287 Mai Whelan made it to the Squid Game: The Challenge final.

She managed to secure a spot in the top three out of 456 contestants who were competing for the multi-million pound prize - and she went all the way, coming out as the show's winner.

At 55 years old Mai has watched her younger counterparts be eliminated from the show as she and her fellow finalists have reigned triumphant in every game so far. This means she's succeeded in high intensity games such as the glass bridge and 'Red light, Green Light'.

Originally from Vietnam, Mai opened up about her experience of being a refugee in episode nine of the show. She explained that the experience had influenced her "self-preservation" style of gameplay.

Here's everything we know about Squid Game's Mai and where she is now after filming has ended.

Mai has made it to the final of Squid Game: The Challenge
Mai has made it to the final of Squid Game: The Challenge. Picture: Netflix

How old is Mai from Squid Game: The Challenge?

Mai, who is player 287 on the show, is 55 years old and lives in the U.S. state of Virginia.

She was born in Vietnam but left during its fall in 1975 - at just eight years old. In Squid Game: The Challenge she details the trauma she went though when escaping Vietnam.

Mai explained that at the airfield she and her family escaped to, a soldier held them at gunpoint. "And in that split second, my life was almost over," she said.

She went on: "That is a moment where I would never, never forget. And that moment is a driving moment for me to be strong."

Mai Whelan at the LA 'Squid Game: The Challenge' celebration
Mai Whelan at the LA 'Squid Game: The Challenge' celebration. Picture: Getty

What is Squid Game: The Challenge Mai's job?

Mai works as an immigration adjudicator but before this role she spent time in the US Navy.

Outside of work, the player is an avid gardener and traveler, according to her Netflix bio. She hopes to spend the massive show winnings on a retirement home.

In the season finale of the show she opened up about the time she had spent working in the Navy. She said: “Going to the navy, it’s like going to a pack of wolves where I was bullied. I got pregnant at 19 because I was a virgin up until I joined the navy and I didn’t know anything.

“To get pregnant at 19 was very hard because I had to tell my family that I got pregnant. And then my family just cut me off and I had no one. It was very hard. I didn’t know anything about motherhood. I didn’t have anyone.”

Mai has said she'll use the winnings to buy a retirement home
Mai has said she'll use the winnings to buy a retirement home. Picture: Netflix

After hearing her story of falling pregnant at 19 years old, many fans deemed Mai a worthy winner of the show. One fan wrote online: “Mai’s story was so sad. She deserved to win after everything she’s been through. That’s enough money for the rest of her life damn.”

Where is Squid Game: The Challenge finalist Mai now?

Unlike the other two finalists, Mai has a very minimal digital footprint. She has no active social media pages, so we don't know what she's up to since leaving the show.

But as the winner of that $4.56 million prize, we're hoping she's retired and spending her days in a wonderful new home.

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