Who Is Maria from Survivor 46? 6 Things to Know About Maria Shrime Gonzalez

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Survivor, Maria Shrime Gonzalez

Survivor 46 features over a dozen new competitors for the reality TV staple, including 48-year-old Maria Shrime Gonzalez.

Born on October 13, 1975, Gonzalez comes to the Survivor world from Dallas, Texas, hoping to take her place in the series' long-standing legacy as Season 46's oldest participant.

As this season nears its end, she is one of five people still in play to win the Fiji-based reality series as she hopes to win the grand prize and the title of "Sole Survivor."

6 Things To Know About Survivor 46's Maria Shrime Gonzalez

Maria Shrime Gonzalez in Survivor
Maria Shrime Gonzalez

Maria's Major Career Change

Speaking with Parade before Survivor 46, Maria Shrime Gonzalez gave fans insight into what she does for a living and how she changed her career path.

Originally working as a physical therapist, she took a step back from her job to focus on being a mother, which she thoroughly enjoyed. She then moved on to a new career as a parent coach, wanting something different out of life than what she was getting.

She "sought out this occupational therapist" who was in tune with how to get in touch with emotions on a deep level and how to "build deeper bonds with your kids," wanting to learn how to do that for herself:

"So I actually sought out this occupational therapist who had all kinds of tools and tricks to really get to know who you are, and how to understand your emotions, and how to understand your nervous system, what makes you tick, what sets you off, how to calm yourself when you are set off, and how to build deeper bonds with your kids. Because you're learning that about the kids too, and about your partner and workers and all that stuff. And so the goal was to learn it for myself first, to help me sort of engage and be better connected to the kids and to my husband. But then I just was so in love with it, and she brought me on as one of our coaches."

Teaching English in Costa Rica

Gonzalez also told Parade about her experiences in Costa Rica, where she took on the responsibility of teaching English to the locals. 

She did this between graduating college and going to graduate school, calling it "one of the most transformative years of [her] life:"

"After college and before grad school, I moved to Costa Rica to volunteer with WorldTeach as an English teacher. That year was one of the most transformative years of my life. I learned to thrive in an environment that was vastly different from the comfort I knew at home."

She was not yet ready to go to grad school and needed a 'bridge year' before expressing her desire to learn Spanish, which she learned in four months. 

Describing the "growing pains" she went through as she was "very much in the wilderness and foraging for food and farming," this took her out of her comfort zone and helped her grow:

"That was another time where I was by myself. So, I knew I wanted to go to grad school, but I wasn't ready to go yet. I needed sort of that bridge year, whatever that year is. And so I just wanted to go somewhere tropical, and I wanted to learn Spanish. And so I lived with a family and learned Spanish in four months. I was fluent in four months. Never spoke Spanish beforehand. And it was a lot of growing pains. It was painful and uncomfortable and very much in the wilderness and foraging for food and farming. And it's very different from my comfortable life. And it was one of the biggest growth experiences in my life."

Maria's Favorite Hobbies

Outside of her work and her time on Survivor 46, Gonzalez has her fair share of hobbies she enjoys.

When asked by Parade to name three of her favorite hobbies she specified "travel, running, [and] spending time with friends" as the top activities she enjoys.

Maria's Physical Accomplishments

As detailed on her website, Maria Shrime Gonzalez has no shortage of accomplishments, many of them coming from a physical perspective.

These came while having two separate reconstructive surgeries on her ACL and having three sons.

One of her biggest hurdles was her mental state, describing her experience with "negative self-talk and self-sabotage" while also "prioritizing others over [herself]." She wanted to be a person who could persevere when faced with adversity rather than folding against it, as noted on the front page of her site:

"From negative self-talk and self-sabotage to prioritizing others over myself, from listening to others' opinions about what I could or couldn't do to believing those opinions to be true, I had to work hard to build myself up to a place where mentally I could overcome and persevere in the face of adversity rather than crumble. I had an incredible support system along the way which is crucial to making mental changes in life. Let me be that support system for you. Let me help you!"

She has also run three separate marathons, one of them after having given birth to two of her sons. Those marathons were the 2003 Honolulu Marathon, the 2011 Rio de Janeiro Marathon, and the 2015 Grand Cayman Marathon.

Maria's Biggest Weakness

While Gonzalez is proud of her accomplishments and her strengths, she is open about her weaknesses as well.

She notes how her biggest piece of kryptonite is not being in control of certain situations, which she hopes to put to the test on Survivor since she does not have any control over what happens on the show:

"I would say control, as in lack thereof. Lack thereof is a big problem for me. Which is also part of why I'm applying. Because the times in my life where I haven't had control have been the times where I've grown the most as a person. And so putting myself out there again in a situation where I will not have control, that's another opportunity for me to see what I made of."

Maria's Broadway Career

Through her work, Gonzalez is now a part of the Broadway family, having worked behind the scenes on a production of Disney's The Lion King.

Originally not being a fan of the East Coast, she moved to New York and got a job working as the physical therapist for the cast of The Lion King - something she noted surprised her mother:

"So, I was living in New York City. Well, before that, I was living in Los Angeles, and I hated the East Coast. I'm like, 'Never in my life would I ever live in New York City.' Funnily, I'm like, 'I need to move to New York.' My mom's like, 'What are you doing? I thought you didn't like it.' I'm like, 'I need to be in New York.' So I landed a gig at 'The Lion King' on Broadway, I worked at the physical therapist for the show."

This made demand for her services high, with her boss even wanting to send her on tour for a production of Wicked after finishing her work on the first show. However, she turned it down after feeling there was something different for her to do, which led to her meeting her husband about a month later:

"Yeah, in-demand. So my year contract was up. And my boss at the time said, 'It's time for you to go on to a different show. We want to send you on tour with 'Wicked.'' And I'm like, 'No, there's something for me here. Intuitively, there's something I need to do here that I haven't found yet.' And she said, 'Okay.' And I don't know, maybe a month later, I met my husband. So intuition has always been that if I listen to it, I really listen. It's pretty clear."

How To Follow Maria Shrime Gonzalez Online

Those looking to follow Maria Shrime Gonzalez on social media can do so on her X (formerly Twitter) page under the handle @Dr_M_S_Gonzalez and on Instagram at @drmariasgonzalez.

The Survivor 46 finale will debut on CBS on Wednesday, May 22 at 8 p.m. ET before streaming on Paramount+ the following day.

Read more about Survivor below:

Survivor 46 Spoilers: Who Wins? Rumors & Speculation Explained

Survivor 46 Spoilers: Winner & Finalists Rumors Explained

Survivor Season 46 Cast: Every Contestant In 2024 Episodes (Bios, Tribes & More)

- In This Article: Survivor (Season 45)
Release Date
September 27, 2023
Jeff Probst
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.