Meet Chrissy Metz – Fall Television’s Breakout Star
Actress & Singer Chrissy Metz Shines On ‘This Is Us’ & With Her Music Becoming One Of The Breakout Stars Of 2016
Named the 2016 Fall television breakout star by Entertainment Tonight, actress Christine ‘Chrissy’ Metz portrays the role of Kate Pearson, a 36 year-old overweight woman trying to deal with the difficulties of losing weight and accepting her body image, all while living in the shadow of her brother’s fame, on NBC’s new hit provocative ensemble dramedy, This Is Us, which also stars Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley and more. The show is the world’s first major introduction to Chrissy Metz, but it is guaranteed to be just another in a long line of successful moves by this young lady, who last season was featured on American Horror Story as Barbara.
“There’s no lemon so sour that you can’t make something resembling a lemonade.” — #ThisIsUs
We were graced with an phenomenal opportunity to speak with the actress to find out how she broke into the entertainment industry and to find out about her other plans. Turns out Chrissy is also a professional singer with a debut EP on the way as well. We discuss all that and more in our full Chrissy Metz interview. Read it here.
Parlé Mag: Tell me your whole inception into entertainment, when did you first become interested in it? How did it actually begin for Chrissy Metz?
Chrissy Metz: I’ve put on shows and comedy routines since I was around 7, to entertain during family functions. That awkward silence really helped cultivate characters. Eventually that turned into full on production of The Little Mermaid, and having no shame for the sake of comedy.
Parlé Mag: You’re from Florida, but where exactly do you hail from? And growing up there, who did you consider to be your strongest influences?
Chrissy Metz: I was born in Homestead, Florida, a Navy brat raised in Japan for 10 years. We watched a lot of American television and movies. Anything with Julie Andrews, Labyrinth, (The) Goonies and loads of old school Disney… Mary Poppins, the Goblin King and Chunk influenced me. Classic musical numbers.
Parlé Mag: At what point did you opt to pursue entertainment on a professional level?
Chrissy Metz: I sang in chamber choir in high school, but the theatre department was intimidating. Surprisingly enough, I never had the guts to try out. I loved film and television, but being in and on one was a pipe dream… until my sister heard an ad on the radio for an open call. Models and actors were welcome to audition for a local manager who had connections with agents in Los Angeles. I went as a chaperone for my sister, and was convinced to audition. Two weeks later, we were preparing for (a) representation showcase. I secured an agent, and shortly after made the move to L.A. When I made the choice to uproot and take a 3000 mile trek across country to stay, was when I started to take myself seriously.
Parlé Mag: When exactly did you receive your initial “big break” in Hollywood?
Chrissy Metz: A milestone for new actors is joining the union, and I did that fairly quickly by booking a small co-star role on the second season of Entourage. The scene was with James Cameron. That was a big deal.
Parlé Mag: How were you eventually cast in American Horror Story: Freak Show?
Chrissy Metz: My agent pitched me for the role and I auditioned.
Parlé Mag: How did you prepare for the role of Barbara, a.k.a. Ima Wiggles?
Chrissy Metz: I created a backstory fitting for the time period, and really wanted to maintain her innocence. Barbara didn’t have much, if any, positive attention until Elsa accepted her to the Freak show and Jimmy wooed her, even if he was perpetually battling his own demons with alcohol and Elsa was self-serving, underneath it all, Barbara was loveable and it was hard not to be nice to her.
Parlé Mag: Were there any specific similarities or definite differences with the character you portrayed in American Horror Story and your character on This Is Us, Kate Pearson versus that of you, the “real” Chrissy Metz?
Chrissy Metz: As a young plus-size woman, I could identify with the duality of being different, but happy in the skin I’m in. Initially, Barbara was naive enough to believe Jimmy had honest feelings for her and she fell hard for him. I think we can all relate to believing love or a connection is real because we want it so badly. Barbara really enjoyed the attention and fuss everyone made over her to keep her size. I don’t like being fussed over, unless it’s hair and make-up.
Parlé Mag: What was it like being on set with such a great ensemble cast?
Chrissy Metz: It was like being asked to an exclusive celebrity Summer camp. It’s what you dream about all day long and finally your mom says, yes. Elation is the word. I would sit there between takes and ask myself if this was my life. It was incredible.
Parlé Mag: And, was it actually as scary to film as it was to view on TV?
Chrissy Metz: It was pretty intense and, yes, scary at times. I’d remind myself these are actors, this is a prop and it’s make-up. You get into it. You want to be honest in your delivery.
Parlé Mag: Because of both acting and singing being two obvious major loves of yours, is there a preference? Or do both just rank as performance art and go pretty much hand in hand?
Chrissy Metz: Creativity is creativity. I love them both for different reasons. I can’t choose. In acting, there might not be music per se, but there is a melody, a cadence. There is subtext, a backstory. For me, they are so similar.
Parlé Mag: Being a “plus size” woman in Hollywood, especially in your field of entertainment, have you found it to be more difficult to obtain work and/or find yourself being typecast more often in certain situations?
Chrissy Metz: Everyone is put into a box, it’s human nature. I am not justifying the behavior, but we are afraid of what we don’t know. There are incredible people and performers who are overlooked because they don’t fit the mold. Art is subjective. The industry is changing because we are evolving. Art imitates life.
Parlé Mag: Last year saw the release of your single/video entitled, “Ladies Love Cool J”. Tell me about that track? How did it come to fruition?
Chrissy Metz: “I Need Love” and “Around the Way Girl” were always my favorite tracks of LL’s! One of the producers had this great idea of creating a brand new track, while maintaining the brilliance of the originals and paying homage to the G.O.A.T.
Parlé Mag: It was quite a tribute – might I add… so, were you always a fan of not only LL, but also just Hip-Hop in general?
Chrissy Metz: Thank you! I have two older siblings who listened to early Hip-Hop and, of course, LL when we were growing up… MC Lyte, Run-DMC, Slick Rick. I love good music that resonates with me. The genre is irrelevant.
Parlé Mag: What do you feel you bring to the industry that we don’t already have in other performers?
Chrissy Metz: I have made a choice that my weight will not be an example of a lack of self-esteem. I have a spirit in me to inspire women and people who don’t feel confident enough yet to express their own voice, who may or may not not have representation in the spotlight either. I desire a universal empathy and understanding for all. We all want the same thing, which is acceptance and ultimately, love.
Parlé Mag: Have you encountered any problems in getting to this point in your career?
Chrissy Metz: Everything takes hard work. Stereotypes can be frustrating, but, however, music and promotion is expensive. I’ve put off production on my EP due to budget. Acting has been challenging.
Parlé Mag: When can we, the masses, expect some new music from you?
Chrissy Metz: I’m working on my next single, which is very different from “Ladies Love Cool J”; much more bluesy and vocally intriguing. I want to make people feel something.
Parlé Mag: If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Chrissy Metz: Stevie Wonder and Otis Redding. No explanation needed.
Parlé Mag: If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?
Chrissy Metz: The Royal Albert Hall, the venue has been graced by astounding artists and influential people of our time.
Parlé Mag: One track of yours that you think defines you and why?
Chrissy Metz: “Memory,” the track was written as a honest reflection of a really difficult break-up. I will always (be a) hopeless romantic.
Parlé Mag: In terms of longevity, what do you feel it is that will continue to sustain you in this grueling business?
Chrissy Metz: An open mind, humility, love and persistency.
Parlé Mag: Do you have any other outside/additional future aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?
Chrissy Metz: I’ve written a pilot and currently working on a feature. I would love to have my own production company. I am also obsessed with make-up, and just might venture to establish my own line some day.
Parlé Mag: Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
Chrissy Metz: Broadway. I’d also like to host a late night talk show a la Jimmy Fallon.
Parlé Mag: As for the immediate, what’s next for Chrissy Metz?
Chrissy Metz: Recording the remainder of the tracks for the EP, studying and writing.
Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?
This has been great, thank you!
Parlé Mag: Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Chrissy Metz: Follow and Tweet me!
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