Exclusive - The Circle's Manrika says she wouldn't change a thing, despite "difficult" backlash
The Circle 2021 contestant talks to RadioTimes.com *WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS*
Despite many, including Natalya (who played Felix), thinking the 24-year-old recruitment consultant would win the third series, it all came down to the final vote, which saw Felix placed first more.
If it hadn't been for Manrika's own rating of the fictional paratrooper in 1st place, sadly, she could have walked away with the £100k cash prize.
"I figured it out when I got to the final dinner that I hadn't won," she told RadioTimes.com.
"I'm not really kicking myself because it's done now. Although that money would have been life changing, I know I can make it. That's the plan!"
Manrika was consistently one of the most popular players on the Channel 4 show, becoming influencer on numerous occasions.
However, she got mixed reactions from fans after her low rating of Tally led to her blocking, and she fell out with Andy and later badmouthed him to newbies Pippa and Joey (Femi.)
So, does she have any regrets about her choices?
"Obviously like the viewers and the way they saw my game plan, it didn't go down well because I had to deal with a lot over the last couple of weeks, but it might come as a surprise to people, but no, because I wouldn't have got to where I got to without rating tactically!" she explained.
"At the end of the day, it was a game. You wouldn't go on The Chase and start hounding someone for beating the chaser. I think people are confusing The Circle with shows like Love Island. It's completely different. It's a popularity contest."
While she maintains that she was "playing a game", Manrika does feel remorseful about her dispute with Andy and Tally's departure from the show, although she has managed to maintain friendships with both.
She continued: "I mean the only thing that I might have changed is, I was going to say the thing with Andy but that's how I felt at the time. My relationship with Andy is I wanted to kill him, but I loved him so much. It's so difficult to explain because when you're a viewer watching you just see me going in at Andy, but you don't see every conversation. With Tally, obviously I regretted it because you want your girl in there, but I have an amazing relationship with her; we literally speak every day!"
Depsite patching things up with her Circle friends, Manrika says she still receives online criticism, which she admits she hasn't taken "very well."
"When the show ended on a Friday, it always ended on a cliffhanger and every Friday it was always me being a villain, so I have to deal with the hate from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday," she said.
As a result, Manrika has started a new campaign on Instagram which she hopes will help with how people are treated by others when using social media apps.
Some contestants did manage to see beyond Manrika's "tactical" game plan during her time on the show, including Hashu and Scott (Nana Dot).
"People didn't understand why Hahsu was so stan for me because he knew my story and why people were rooting for me. It's because they all heard my story but it hadn't been shown," she said.
Viewers will also know that Hashu had a little bit of crush on Manrika, which he made very clear to the camera during his chats with her.
"I had no idea," she laughed. "I got to the final and Emma dropped a few hints, but I didn't know until I watched it."
So, will they keep their friendship going outside of The Circle?
"Me and Hashu speak every day. He's actually signed to the same management as me. None of us have seen each other properly because of COVID, so when we're all able to meet up properly we'll just have to wait to see. That's all I can say!" she said.