In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Player 301, Trey Plutnicki, said it's "100 percent real" that some of the participants made use of the unusual chapstick substitute. "Do you think I did that? Do I seem like a person that did that? No, hell no. That's so stupid," he said.
When participants made it to the dorm room they shared after passing the Red Light, Green Light challenge, they each received a bag containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, and hand sanitizer. Trey noted that lip balm was not included in the bags, which meant that some players were suffering as a result. Condoms were provided on set by the production team, which some of the players tried to use to soothe their chapped lips.
"There was lotion, there was conditioner, and those were the first two tries," Trey said. "And after I tried those and they weren't working, I was like, 'Well, that's all of our options, because obviously we're not going to use the condoms.' And within a day, maybe a day and a half, all the condoms were gone. It was absurd. And it still didn't work! When people tried it and they kept trying it and it didn't work, and I was like, 'Obviously!' So yeah, that's 100 percent true."
Eventually, participants were given tins of lip balm, which had their respective numbers on them. "I gave my chapstick to someone last minute because I accidentally kept it in my pocket during Glass Bridge," Trey added. "And I was like, 'Can you please give this back to me? It has my number on it.' And they were like, 'I will not see you again if you don't make it over that bridge.' I was like, 'Great. Killer. Awesome encouragement.'" Ultimately, he wasn't able to take home the chapstick as a souvenir of sorts.
Squid Game: The Challenge debuted on Netflix last month, with the season finale coming on December 6, but the show was met with criticism from some fans of the show upon its arrival. The show its based on was inspired by Hwang Dong-hyuk's financial struggles and the extreme class disparity prevalent in South Korea. The gameshow version of the show comes across as self-parody to some, even if the life-or-death stakes have been removed for The Challenge, obviously.
Production for Season 2 of Squid Game kicked off in July, shortly after Netflix announced new and returning cast members.