iSci grad Maryanne Oketch wins Survivor
Story originally posted as a daily news article
MAY 26, 2022
McMaster iSci grad Maryanne Oketch’s win on CBS Survivor 42 might have surprised some viewers, but people who knew her at Mac saw it coming.
“We’re not even slightly surprised. Maryanne was always going to accomplish amazing things,” says Integrated Science Professor Carolyn Eyles, who remembers taking note of Oketch’s sense of curiosity and strong personality right from her very first week in the program.
“She has a real sense of community and she isn’t afraid to question anything.”
Over the course of Season 42 of the reality show, Oketch took on the elements on a Fijian island, as well as a series of mental, physical and interpersonal challenges.
She also stayed true to her word about wearing her heart on her sleeve and not being afraid to speak up, initiating a frank conversation about unconscious biases after watching Black contestants get voted off one after the other.
“It’s so surreal,” Oketch told CBS after her win.
After the intense experience, the return to her regular life and family was a bit rough, Oketch says.
But in addition to the $1-million prize, there are some benefits to being on the show: She’s dating someone who decided to shoot his shot after she professed her weakness for “skinny white guys” on the show.
So would she appear on Survivor again? Yes, but only after she’s had a few years to have other experiences and adventures.