“When I booked ‘This Is Us’, I had 81 cents in my bank account” – Crissy Metz
Chrissy Metz is one of the breakout stars from the critically acclaimed drama This Is Us, but it took her nearly two decades to find that breakout role. In a very candid interview with Glamour, Metz spoke about the long, challenging career path that took her to her brief stint on American Horror Story and her starring role on This Is Us.
Metz recalls that she pursued a career in acting without much direction, but with measureless determination. She explains, “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.”
Though she moved out to Los Angeles, she didn’t get very far at first. She remembers, “Some young women and I caravanned all the way from Florida, then lived in a two-bedroom apartment, three of us to each room, in Burbank. We were all on a budget—we spent nights playing Uno in our living room—but most of the other kids’ parents were footing their bills. My stepdad helped me with my car insurance, but I couldn’t ask him for anything more; they didn’t have anything extra. So I paid my own way by nannying or finding odd jobs. I had two auditions that pilot season, maybe. I cried a lot.”
And even when success did come with American Horror Story, it didn’t continue at first. Metz continues, “And then 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.'”
Metz credits her support circle for helping her get through that tough time, adding, “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.“