The ousted player also reveals what happened when she spilled the beans to Zach about Maryanne's big crush.
SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Marya Sherron didn't go all the way to Fiji to win Survivor. Sure, that would have been nice, and nobody would thumb their nose at a million dollars. But Mayra was there for a bigger purpose: to find closure in her life after her brother Kious Kelly became the first nurse in New York City to die of COVID-19 on March 24, 2020.

Marya wore a necklace with her brother's image on it during the game to pay tribute to her sibling, and told her tribe of her personal mission beyond the game. And then they voted her out anyway. Such is the harsh reality of Survivor, and such was Marya's fate just five days into Survivor 42.

Why was Marya not able to make bonds with her tribemates that might have carried her further in the game? Did her tribe let me know before Tribal Council that she was the one to go? And did she get a chance to bury her necklace as she hoped? We caught up with Mayra the morning after her televised demise to get the full scoop on what went down on the island, and whether she found the closure she was looking for.

Mayra Sherron on 'Survivor 42'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So what happened? Why are you here talking to me right now instead of much later in the season?

MARYA SHERRON: I don't think I started playing until day four and day five. I think I was trying to feel it out and it is so much faster. Now I know watching the extra scenes that they had made alliances from day one. So I was still trying to build relationships and [have] it just be an organic thing. That's not very wise.

Do you feel like you were making some social bonds, but you weren't making strategic bonds? Was that the problem?

I think that in my mind they were one and the same — that to make that social bond was to make that strategic bond. My number one alliance went home, so that kind of threw it. Jackson and I were the closest. We were like a year apart in age, so we understood each other's language and songs and everything. We connected really well. And then he left at the start of day three. And my other social alliance, we just never consummated anything. So the relationship was there, it was just too late.

Survivor really amplifies your emotions because you are cut off from friends and family, you're not eating or sleeping, maybe getting rained on. So how did you do out there in terms of everything with your brother?

The 14-day quarantine before, I felt like I dealt with what I needed to deal with there. I felt like I was starting the game kind of ready, but you have to get your feet in the sand. There's something for you here. And my senses are heightened to everything, a bird, a sound, you know, something in the ground that I was looking for pertaining to my brother, as opposed to looking for other things that pertain to the game.

So my emotions were heightened. I just wasn't looking at a game and the things that I needed to be looking at. That was interesting. And also a little unbalanced, you know? To me, it's harder than looking for an idol. It was emotional, but a good emotional. It wasn't too much is what I would say.

What about once the camera shut off and you go to Ponderosa? Because now there are also the other emotions in terms of being cut from your tribe early. How was everything after you left the game?

There are a couple of things that were jarring about myself that I learned. And one of those is that I don't allow myself to be emotional. Case in point: When Maryanne was crying as Jackson was being taken away, that was much more than what we saw. And I was angry with her at just the dynamic of "This isn't about you and you're making it about you." But I also realized I was jealous. Like I'm watching this 23-year-old girl, she's half my age. And there was literally a moment where I looked at Jeff and I'm thinking to myself, "Is this allowed? Are we allowed to do that?"

And that sort of opened up a really important personal lesson [for me] — do you really think you're not allowed to do that? You haven't cried about your brother yet. It was going on a year. You need to allow yourself to unleash like that and be okay. Maybe that's what I needed. So, in Ponderosa, I hadn't quite hit that yet. I was still like, "I'm voted out. I'm okay. Everything is fine." And I immediately shifted my care to the next person, and then the next person. I acted like nothing was wrong, so that wouldn't come until I came home, you know, much later.

So it sounds like the mom instinct kicked in out there a little bit.

Yeah, mom, teacher, and it was so wonderful to see because I saw it very quickly. I would actually walk last when we would walk as a tribe. And I'm like, "Why am I always in the back?" Because I, I feel like as the mother, that's what I do. I'm there to make sure everyone else is okay. And there's beauty in that, but not to the degree that I've been living like that for a long time. It can be detrimental. So that is a huge, huge personal growth thing. Like, wow, you need to address that. Self-care is okay. It's okay to cry. You're human.

You mentioned wanting to bury the necklace with your brother's face on it out there before you left, but I see it still hanging around your neck, so why did you decide not to bury it?

Two things. Immediately, I was devastated. It was like, "Oh my gosh, this is what I was supposed to do." Then, I'm at Ponderosa and I was getting a massage and I had to take it off. And I set it aside and I just felt this, like, "Don't leave me here." It wasn't a voice. It was just this is not the time or the place. And I cried then. That made me cry. But I knew that it was okay. That it was a great idea, but it just wasn't the time or the place. And I think I'll know when and where and how. And so he's just here with me. And I'm okay with that. I think that's good. Something to look forward to.

Survivor season 42 cast
The cast of 'Survivor 42'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

And I like that he's still close to your heart — literally. So, you played your Shot in the Dark and you seemed to know it was you. Did the tribe tip you off or could you just tell by the way they were acting?

There are a couple of key choices that I made that were horrible, but I could see it. Two tangible things happened: Lindsay winked at me as we were getting ready and I'm like, that's just not her personality. That is someone trying too hard. And that was as we were packing up to go, and at that moment, I'm like, "Yeah, this is not what you think it is."

And Jonathan said something. I was laying on our shelter and he came in, laid next to me and he said, "I'm really gonna miss Maryanne." And I just thought about it again. It was like, you're trying too hard. It's too much. So I promised my 11-year-old son that I would leave nothing on the island. I'm like, I don't know, this is my gut. This is my feel. So we are playing this because I'm not going home with anything. We're gonna give everything we have and then I'll be fine with whatever happens.

Let's say your Shot in the Dark had worked. Who goes home on the revote?

I think Maryanne would've gone home. Watching last night, I really didn't think there was that much of a back and forth. I thought it was just me. But watching it, Jonathan and Lindsay were [super tight] at that point. And Omar, I didn't even consider putting his name out there and later I'm like, "Why was he off limits?" He never even came up because you like him so much.

You said at one point you weren't sure you could live with Maryanne for 26 days. What was that high-energy experience like?

I'm gonna start by saying it's me, it's not you. It's me. That was another thing I learned about myself. I'm around younger people all the time, their lingo, their whatever. But I realized in a controlled environment, because I was the professor, I'm always in charge. So you can do whatever during break or before class, but now you need to be quiet and do whatever I'm asking you to do. I was ultra not trying to be mom, so you just kind of have to sit back, but I overstimulate. There is just a part of me that's like, I actually need quiet time. Like, I can't hear you anymore and it's not you, but it's you.

It just was nonstop. I mean, it was nonstop cackling and laughing at some of the conversations, and I just couldn't anymore. I just wanted to be like "CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY!" And Lindsay's a talker too. So if there was a brief moment where Maryanne was quiet, then Lindsay was going. There was no belief in let's just look at the stars or the water. It was nonstop. So I learned that about myself. I really thought I could handle any type of personality and I learned quickly, no, It's harder than I thought.

Nice Calgon pull. So when you got to Ponderosa did you tell Zach that Maryanne had a big crush on him?

I did. I spilled the beans. [Laughs] I was like, "She wants to marry you, you're every kinda white boy she ever wanted…"

What was his reaction?

Oh, he loved it. He was like, "This is great for me. I'm living in the game, even though I'm out of the game through Maryanne." And she became his number one. Like, "I want her to go as far as possible, 'cause as long as she's in the game, I'm in the game." So it's cute. Zach is amazing.

There's so much that doesn't make it onto the TV show because they only have so much time. What's something that happened out there that you wish we had gotten a chance to see?

Two things come to mind immediately. One is in the first challenge, and that challenge was a beast, an absolute beast. They skipped a portion, which was my portion, but there was a big circle and we had to dig this bag out of the sand. My husband asked when we were watching, "Why are [you] all sandy?" And so selfishly I wanted that in the show so I could seem strong for my boys.

The other is, and I remember my mouth being dropped and just saying, "Wow," was Jonathan. In general, for Jonathan, he is superhuman. We didn't have ripe coconuts. We had a really hard time finding ripe coconuts. And he literally straddles these two different coconut trees and climbs up and then knocks them down. And it's like beyond Ozzy. It was just unreal watching him. I was like, wow. I mean, that's how I looked most of the time when he was doing stuff. So my nickname for him was Aquaman. Physically, he's what you want in a tribemate. [Laughs]

Finally, you said you were heading out there to find closure. Did you ultimately find the closure you were looking for?

I did not find closure, but I found enough that I am good [with] where I am right now. There's more, and more continues to unfold and reveal itself. So I wouldn't want it now, now that I see there's a time and purpose to this. It's not just the one-shot deal. You're not gonna drop a necklace in the sand and have closure. It is kind of silly that I even thought that, so no. And that's why I said I'm looking forward to it, but the journey has been beautiful. I don't wanna rush it at this point. I don't even know that I want closure. He's just with me, and since he can't be physically here, I like where we are.

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