2016 was a big year for Chrissy Metz. The NBC show she stars in, This Is Us, premiered and was met with instant success. Although this wasn’t her first acting role, with previous work including a role on American Horror Story, This Is Us was the project to bring Metz the praise she deserves. Playing Kate, a woman who works for her brother and is struggling through her personal weight loss goals, Metz’s character is vulnerable — and viewers are given a close look into her day-to-day life.
While the show has been in the spotlight, Metz has opened up about her own struggle with weight loss in her personal life. In each and every interview, she seems so down to earth and grateful for what life has brought her. She keeps it real, which feels like a breath of fresh air in an industry that does not always do the same. Let’s take a look at Metz’s own weight loss journey, along with the positivity and gratitude she brings to every day of life.
She’s struggled with her weight since childhood
Metz’s weight is something she has dealt with her entire life. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, she said, “I was born chubby, and as I got older, at different times in my life I was thinner or more active or playing sports, but I was definitely always a chubbier kid. My friends could eat whatever they wanted to, but I knew that as a kid if I ate certain things I would totally gain weight. I had to be really cognizant of what I ate.”
Metz has called being on a show with flashbacks to her character’s childhood “heartbreaking.” Metz opened up more with THR, discussing how she understands Kate’s struggles and her relationship with her mom, Rebecca (played by Mandy Moore). “I remember going to Weight Watchers when I was like 11. I was the youngest person in the damned room and it was awkward. My mom was trying to figure it out, but it’s a process. Kate wants her mom to be happy with her… [and] Rebecca just wants her daughter to be happy, and, of course, not be made fun of and just live a normal life. No matter what, somebody is going to pick on you for something. It’s a complicated dynamic and it is heartbreaking.”
Acting came up unexpectedly
In her early 20s, Metz was a preschool teacher. Then one day, everything changed. As described by Marie Claire, Metz took her sister to an audition, and ran into an old teacher who encouraged her to audition as well. Metz had doubts. She described this feeling during the interview, saying, “In my heart, I was like, ‘Yes I would love to,’ but I was too afraid of my own shadow.” But she took the chance, and it paid off. She received a call the next day, and less than a year later she found herself headed to Los Angeles to audition for pilot season. Her mom later reminisced on the moment with Marie Claire, saying about her daughter, “She said, ‘Mom, I’m going to live my dream.” Good for Metz for following those dreams.
She had to sit on the sidelines first
When she first came to Los Angeles, Metz was able to see acting from a different viewpoint — that of a talent agent. As described by Marie Claire, she became her agent’s assistant after auditioning for roles for a few years. Although a job, it wasn’t Metz’s reason for coming to LA. As she said during the interview, “I was like, ‘This isn’t fair, I didn’t come here for that.” She continued to act, but working at the talent agency became Metz’s full-time job. She eventually became an agent, but still wanted to see acting through.
As she discussed with Harper’s Bazaar during an interview, “Scheduling auditions for the talent was like watching your boyfriend take out another woman every single day.” Luckily Metz did not give up. She continued to audition, and, as everyone knows, it worked out.
It took panic to make a change
A few years before This Is Us premiered, she took her weight-loss-goal to an extreme. She shared with People that before moving to Los Angeles, she lost 50 pounds on the recommendation of her then-manager. She then gained back 100 pounds due to depression and “eating my feelings.” It took a trip to the hospital on her 30th birthday due to a panic attack to make her rethink her strategy. She told the magazine, “I was so gung-ho, I lost 100 lbs. in less than five months … All I did was eat a 2,000-calorie diet and walk 20 minutes a day.”
After getting to a better place, she snatched up her role in American Horror Story. She played a character who required her to wear a fat suit. This was also a big moment for Metz. “It was sobering… I thought, ‘What if I become that heavy and can’t walk around or get stuck in the doorframe?’ I was like, ‘I don’t want this for me.'”
This awareness has led Metz to become a voice for those who may be uncomfortable talking about body image issues. From her time on This Is Us, she’s learned just what kind of effect she is having on the show’s fans. “You don’t realize that somebody who’s average or even very fit could relate to someone who’s overweight … but it’s not about our size — it’s how we look at ourselves and how we feel about ourselves,” she said.
Even her bank account was suffering
After Metz’s big break on American Horror Story, the role ended and she was back where she started. She’s the first to admit that she needed help along the way. She told Glamour, “I kept auditioning, with no savings and no money, credit card debt gaining interest… I went on unemployment. I bought ramen noodles at dollar stores. I never had to — God forbid — live on the streets; I moved in with a roommate who told me, ‘Stay with me until you can afford rent. Don’t give up.’ People who supported me were like, ‘If you don’t have money for food, I’ll cook you dinner. You don’t have money for acting class? Let’s get together and read lines.'” It was this support system that helped Metz through the tough times.
When she booked This Is Us, the actress had 81 cents in her bank account. And then life changed quickly. But what makes Metz so fabulous is that even though her fortune changed, her attitude has not. She told the magazine, “You may think, ‘Ooh, you’re on TV, you’re a millionaire!’ No. It’s definitely a lot more than I was making, but I still live with my roommate — though I pay my proper share of the rent now. Meeting my car payment on time? That’s new. I paid my friends and my stepdad back. And three months ago I finally paid my credit cards off! Funny, but I still get buyer’s remorse — I just got my first pair of Alexander McQueen shoes; I’m so convinced I shouldn’t have bought them, I still haven’t busted them out of the box.”
She believes everything happens for a reason
Although Metz has had to go through some tough times and struggles to get to where she is today, she has no regrets. She firmly believes everything happens for a reason. She told THR, “The trajectory is that Kate will be losing weight just as I will in real life to reflect the character in her arc and her journey. That’s exciting for me, especially because losing weight is something I’ve struggled with and contemplated. I have lost weight and I’ve gained weight back. I wouldn’t have this amazing role if I’d already lost all the weight. So I have to believe that everything happens for a reason, and I do feel that way in life.”
With such a positive and open attitude, the actress is ready to tackle the tougher issues on the show. As Metz explained to THR, “I have friends and I know that when you do lose weight, you’re happy and it’s exciting but there are other things going on. There are other things that make us want to eat or overspend or fill a void with something. And so as she [Kate] loses the weight and puts the food down a lot of other things start to come up, which happens in real life. It’s going to be really fascinating to watch that unfold on a lot of different levels.”
She and her TV character share a passion for singing
Viewers first got a look at Metz’s serious singing talent during an episode in season one of This Is Us. And now, according to TV Guide, it looks like singing will be a big part of her character’s future in season two. Metz spoke about this revelation and her character’s goals of being a singer. She said, “I think [Kate’s] got a little soul in her. She likes some throwback, Motown stuff…. I know for me, I love every genre of music. I’m excited to see where they’re going to go with it.”
And as Metz shared at Variety’s TV Summit (via Fox News) in June 2017, this is more than a plot-line, but a dream for the actress. “Yeah I mean… like Kate, I never really was encouraged to sing but always wanted to so. It’s like my dreams are really coming true and to potentially sing with my [TV] mom Mandy Moore would be incredible…. That would be incredible and I think music is such a beautiful art form and it’s so healing.”