Chrissy Metz has been taking Hollywood by storm ever since This Is Us premiered in September 2016. The actress, who plays Kate — or one-third of "The Big Three" on the hit show — was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her standout performance. She's also been hitting red carpets with her adorable boyfriend, chatting with Ellen DeGeneres, and just generally looking gorgeous. But while her name is recognizable now, things weren't always so easy. In the March issue of Glamour, Chrissy reveals that she started out like every other struggling actor trying to make it in Hollywood. From having less than a dollar to her name to thinking her role on American Horror Story would change her life (it didn't), see her best quotes from the magazine below.
- On growing up with a single mom: "I was born in Homestead, Florida. My parents divorced when I was eight; I never really knew my dad, and my mom raised my older sister and brother and me alone. It was challenging. There were times I'd be nervous walking home from elementary school, thinking, 'If that red tag from the power company saying our lights are turned off is on the door handle, I don't know what I'll do.' And 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.'"
- On how she got into acting: "After high school I really wanted to act, but I didn't even know how to begin. I didn't know anybody with connections, I didn't come from money, I didn't go to Juilliard. But I never was afraid of the odds, even though they were seriously stacked against me. Then my sister — who is skinny and tall and beautiful — heard about this open-call model and talent search at a tiny little Holiday Inn in Gainesville, Florida, and she was like, 'Will you take me?' So we went, and the woman asked me, 'Do you sing or act? Just step in here for a second.' I sang Christina Aguilera's 'Beautiful' — Lord knows why I chose that big ol' thing. The following day she called my sister for a modeling contract and told me she'd introduce me to managers and agents in Los Angeles."
- On being cast in American Horror Story: "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 LA and at least pursue what you want.' 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."
- On This Is Us: "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, 'Oh, 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."
- On why she'll always be humble: "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. Sometimes I cry on the way to the set still. There is something that happens when you are grateful: You continue to keep receiving blessings. So I will always be grateful."