Squid Game: The Challenge debuted last week on Netflix.
It's a reality show based on the hit Netflix series but with international competitors playing for $4.56 million dollars; the largest single cash prize for a television show.
And someone from the Foothills qualified.
Lindsey Ranks, aka #350, who lives on an acreage near Millarville, said while the money was the initial dream it turned out to be much more than that.
"Oh, I call them my squiblings, my little squid squad in there, and I had this realization that I might never see these people ever again so, when you see my elimination, I am very sad, but it's not about the money. I just want to drive that home, it's about my friends."
Ranks was eliminated in the third episode during the Battleship challenge.
The 30-year-old loved the entire experience including the long process to qualify and it was her mom encouraging her to give it a shot.
"I had just finished work; I had no makeup on, my hair was gross, and I took a one-minute video of me just saying 'Hey, I'm a cowgirl from Canada, I think I'd be great for this show, please, please, please take me' and it was this long process of interviews and getting vetted by a psychologist to make sure I wasn't going to snap on the show and if I was physically fit. So, it was a couple months but once I found out I was on I was like 'Oh, my gosh, it's happening.'"
Ranks wasn't lying about being a real cowgirl. She lives on a 25-acre ranch with her parents, complete with horses, dogs, cats and the usual. She was a Calgary Stampede Showrider at one point in her life too. She had to convince other international contestants that cowboys and cowgirls still exist in the modern world. She also had to explain what a toque is.
The three challenges she faced were 'Red Light, Green Light' which she says took way longer than how it was portrayed on TV. She says it took about eight hours for the final qualifiers to make it across the finish line. And at times they had to freeze from 20 minutes to upwards of 45 minutes. So, if you're wondering why the contestants had their hands in their pockets or were sitting down, that's why. And bathroom breaks were not allowed.
In the dalgona cookie challenge she was able to make the circle, grateful she didn't have to cut free the umbrella cookie.
And she was eliminated in the third challenge: Battleship. Her battleship might've been sunk but it didn't sink her friendships as she continues to talk to her 'squiblings' and they're planning on coming to Canada next year to experience the rural Canadian lifestyle.
She shares her final thoughts on the entire experience.
"Overall, for me I went into this experience obviously I wanted to win, I think everybody had that mentality and I'm going to be a millionaire by the time it's over, but realistically I wanted to really make friends and meet people that were like-minded around the world so I could go visit them." she said with a chuckle.
"But it was also to see if I could do it. I feel a lot of people watched the original Squid Games show, as horrifying as it was, and thought, 'well these are just kid's games, like how hard could it really be?' So, I just had to try it."
The show was filmed in early January of this year in London, England. It started out with 456 contestants and will be whittled down to one winner. Five episodes were released on November 22 with episodes 6-9 coming out this Wednesday, November 29 with episode 10, the finale, airing on December 6.
The food they were served was 'basic nutrition' similar to food served in hospitals or on airplanes, but worse, Ranks shared.
"I had unflavoured porridge every morning, and some mornings it was really thick, sometimes it was water, and we would have boiled chicken with really dry rice and mushy vegetables. There was this one meal that was actually kind of flavourful, it was these meatball things on rice and the meatballs themselves had a little bit of salt in it because everything we had eaten at that point was unsalted, no sugar... just very plain, basic food."
She says she was in the London studio for either seven or eight days. It was hard to tell when it was day or night because there were no windows, and you had no idea what time it was. No cellphones or anything along those lines were allowed either.
Ranks says not having her cellphone helped with really bonding with her 'squiblings' because they were able to have "rich, generous conversations and nobody was distracted... it was really refreshing."
The show is currently the number one show on Netflix and it's also #1 in 75 other countries.
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