Chrissy Metz of ‘This is Us’ was so broke she was eating ramen, staying with friends

2017 NBC Universal Winter TCA - Day 2
I keep reading the headlines that Chrissy Metz, 36, had $0.81 in her bank account before landing This is Us and I thought it was just something she said in an interview about how she was really struggling up until now. It turns out that she has an entire first person essay in Glamour telling her story. It’s well worth reading in its entirety and I found myself wanting to read more of her life in detail. It’s really a tale of perseverance and friendship as her friends and family helped her out at a time when she truly needed it and could barely afford to live. Fate or luck, whichever you believe, intervened and she got the job on This is Us and was able to dig herself out of debt. Chrissy still lives with a roommate and is counting her blessings. Here are the highlights but definitely read her whole essay if you’d like to be inspired:

She grew up poor with a single mom
There were nights my mom wouldn’t eat dinner. She’d be like, “Oh, I’m not hungry.” I knew she was giving up food to make sure we could eat, but when you’re 9 or 10 years old, you can’t help. It was devastating. In retrospect I think that’s why food equals love in my family. It’s the way we showed love—my grandmother would make me a grilled cheese sandwich every time she’d pick me up from school. I really valued that attention. As I got older, that turned into, “Oh, I’m happy—let’s celebrate and eat. I’m sad? Let me eat my feelings.”

She worked odd jobs in LA until landing American Horror Story, but was soon searching again
In 2014 American Horror Story came up. I’d wanted the role of Ima [Barbara] Wiggles desperately, and after I got it, I thought, OK, awesome, this is a jumping board for my career! But when it wrapped, there was…nothing. I almost moved back to Florida, but my mom said, “You can either be miserable here and not pursue your dreams, or you can be miserable in L.A. and at least pursue what you want.”

Her friends were an incredible support system
So I stayed. 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.” I am so grateful that I had such an amazing support system, but when I booked This Is Us, I had 81 cents in my bank account. I could cry right now just thinking about it.

How her life has changed since getting this role
Getting the role of Kate has changed everything. It’s crazy to go from not having enough money to buy food to getting free dinners. Why is it that when you really need something, you don’t have it? And when you can afford it, you have a surplus of it? 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.

Women come up to her and thank her
I’ve had women—average women, older women, teenagers—who say to me, “Your role and this show has changed my life.” That makes all the struggle, all the ramen noodles, all the times when I couldn’t pay my bills, all the times where I was like, “I can’t do this,” worth it.

[From Glamour]

After that she said that she still sometimes cries on the way to work but that she’s so grateful and happy that she’s had so much opportunity, which is an amazing way to look at it. I really like what she said about how she’s an inspiration to other women just by being on television, and how that means so much to her. I haven’t watched This is Us yet, I’m an emotional person and I just know I will be bawling, but everyone has been raving about it so I’ll definitely give it a chance.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to a rally at a local college in support of our Muslim and international community. The stories I heard from the students about their experiences in America, and the gratitude they had to their families for giving up so much to send them to college here, were powerful, uplifting and spoke to the promise of America and what it truly means to be an immigrant. Let’s tell our stories with honesty and humility and listen to each other’s stories. We share the same struggles and dreams.

2017 NBC Universal Winter TCA - Day 2

2017 Annual Artios Awards - Arrivals

photos credit: WENN and Getty

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16 Responses to “Chrissy Metz of ‘This is Us’ was so broke she was eating ramen, staying with friends”

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  1. Locke Lamora says:

    This really is a feel good story, she seems like such a lovely person. But I wonder if she’ll keep acting after This Is Us ends. Hollywood rarely gives opportunities to people who are overweight, especially women. I hope everything turns out well for her.

    • Ramona says:

      Even if she was skinny, at 36 shes crossed into the maternal bracket. I can see her continuing to work after the show but in supportive typecast roles like cuddly bff, unexplored co-worker, mum.

    • Chinoiserie says:

      She is a name now so she should get some work. Not lead does but before she was not getting anything. There is theatre as a possibility as well which is not as looks focused. But she would get a bit more work probably if she lost weight even if she was not thin since now she has to spefically get parts written for a large person I imagine.

  2. Lindy says:

    Wow, that’s perseverance! She sounds like a really cool, down to earth person.

  3. sarri says:

    I hate it when I read negative comments about her – so many insult her because of her weight.

  4. Lucy says:

    I hope she has a long, great and fulfilling career.

    • Margaret says:

      I agree, let her have this moment & it could lead to more work! Why do some of these people fill the need to put others down because of her weight, we all know what size we are, plus she might have a health issue, we don’t’ know!

  5. HeidiM says:

    She is the standout of the show for me. They are lucky to have her as she is lucky to be working for them.

  6. my3cents says:

    It was very moving reading her comments.
    I wish Hollywood would start showing a variety of women. We exist, we are out there.
    So yes this is a small/big step in better representation for all of us.
    I hope she has a long and fulfilling career, she’s lovely and talented.

  7. smcollins says:

    I just recently started watching the show (love it!) and she is fantastic! The entire cast is, really, but her portrayal of Kate is funny, feisty and also heartbreaking. I’m rooting for Kate & Toby to go the distance.

  8. jen says:

    I think she’s gorgeous.

  9. Tanakasan says:

    How is she like 400 lbs if she didn’t have enough money to buy food???

    • LolaBones says:

      Isnt that normal when you only eat cheap junk food all the time? Plus she may or may not have a medical condition that may make it difficult for her to keep weight off.

    • Veronica says:

      Because when you’re poor, you buy the cheapest food possible, which is usually highly processed and riddled with fats and carbs. You also don’t generally have time for regular exercise and experience constant stress – which ups your cortisol levels, generating more of an appetite. There’s a reason why the obesity epidemic is particularly severe in the lower economic classes.

  10. megs283 says:

    It’s funny. I don’t particularly like her character on the show…Kate seems hard to get along with…so I was surprised to hear how warm she is in the interview! Logically I know she’s acting, but I guess emotionally it didn’t sink in. :-) I’m so glad she’s found success!

  11. Arielle says:

    Ok, why is this a story? Tons of actors are “broke” before they make it big. Is it because of her weight?