Skip to main content

Survivor 41 Winner's Strategy Was Apparently Years In The Making, Old Video Shows

survivor 41 erika
(Image credit: CBS)

In an effort to make up for its lengthy hiatus last year, Survivor pulled out all the stops for Season 41. New twists, new advantages, and new rules all made for a very complicated rollercoaster ride to the finish, with Xander Hastings, Deshawn Radden and Erika Casupanan as the final three. To everyone’s surprise, Casupanan ultimately took home the million-dollar prize after a nearly unanimous vote of 7-1-0. But, even more surprising, an old video of Casupanan making the rounds has shown that her winning Survivor 41 strategy was apparently years in the making.

The Sole Survivor of 2021 remarked on Twitter that she would never post her actual audition tape online – but video that predates her official submission? Fair game, it would seem. In the clip that was “filmed years ago,” Erika Casupanan utters only one sentence which is now very familiar to Survivor fans. One could say, as a matter of fact, that it brings her win totally full circle. Listen to the interesting comment here:

See more

Erika Casupanan says, “I'm a lion, dressed as a lamb...” As viewers well know, her entire game was predicated on this exact sentiment in Survivor 41. She often remarked how she was the sweet lamb that everyone was going to underestimate – and they did. She scrambled to the top three and made a better case for herself than her competitors. Specifically, Casupanan dropped a “truth bomb” of her own at the final tribal, tying in the fact that her corporate background (where she would also often be underestimated) played a central role in her Survivor strategy to outwit the other contestants.

Given that this video is years prior to her season, it just goes to show that Erika Casupanan’s game was indeed very intentional. The attribute was evidently a deciding factor for the jury, with one member stating that it set the Canadian native apart from both Xander Hastings and Deshawn Radden. Hastings, the odds-on Survivor 41 favorite to win, even speculated of late that Casupanan would have likely gotten his vote, too, in the end.

However, in the wake of Erika Casupanan’s triumphant win, CBS viewers have been debating if it was truly deserving. (An old chestnut, to be sure.) One fan is so convinced in Xander Hastings' right to the title that they even started a GoFundMe campaign as a result. It's no real matter to the Survivor 41 winner, though, who has remarked that she and the other finalists all benefited equally from the game’s new twists and turns.

As Season 41’s players and strategy continue to be diced apart in the background, the focus now turns to the upcoming Survivor 42 season. It premieres on CBS on March 9. But be on the lookout: there might just be another lion in lamb’s clothing, waiting for years to emerge in our midst.

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.