Chrissy Metz has a lot of empathy for her "This Is Us" character, Kate. And her season four story arc seems to be a case of life imitating art so far.
In a new interview with People, the actress reveals she's been pulling from personal experience to portray Kate's overeating struggle on the new season of the hit series.
“That’s a real big challenge, and of course, I get that and I understand that personally. Of course, I bring that [into playing Kate]. I think every actor brings something personal to a role,” Metz told said.
Earlier this season, Metz's character Kate learned that her newborn son, Jack, is blind. Since then, she's used food as a coping mechanism, and has started overeating, a habit she's struggled with in previous seasons.
As fans of "This Is Us" know, Kate has always found it difficult to love her curvy figure, and when her dad Jack passed away in her childhood, she turned to food to help her deal with the pain.
“Of course, [overeating] was her first way of coping with her father’s death and with all the pain. Feeling like the outcast and even issues from her first love and her childhood, all of that,” Metz said. “[Overeating] is suddenly something that she goes back to because it’s easy and food is something you have to do three times a day at least, you know?”
The actress can relate to Kate's complicated relationship with food, and believes it's an issue many viewers can understand as well.
“It’s one of those things that of course I can relate to because I have those voids with validation from other people or with food or whatever I think is going to make me feel better,” Metz told the magazine. “Everybody, to some degree, fills a void with something, whether it’s social media, alcohol, drugs, overspending, overeating. We’re either chasing a feeling or trying to get rid of a feeling.”
At the same time, she realizes a quick fix like overeating doesn't solve the problem at hand: “But in the long run it never does. It’s just a Bandaid on a really big wound that you have to get to the bottom of, because we don’t like to be uncomfortable as humans. It feels awful, and that’s sort of what she’s doing with her overeating.”
Last night's episode, "Unhinged," follows Kate as she realizes she's gained 10 pounds since giving birth, and decides it's time for a change. After an emotional moment, Kate begins going on a daily walk around the block with her neighbor, Gregory (guest star Timothy Omundson).
“Overall she’s learning to come to terms with her past and that it’s still in the back of her mind and it’s going to haunt her. It’s really a daily challenge to not hold on to the pain or the guilt or resentment, but just about, keep walking through the hard stuff and keep showing up, because I think that’s the hardest part,” she said.
In real life, Metz has been open about body image and self confidence, and even published a memoir titled "This is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today." And she always seems happy to spread self love with her social media followers.
Case in point? Last night a fan wrote the following message to the actress on Twitter: "Chrissy I wish I had your courage. I live the booth nightmare. There are days I have wished myself get hit by a bus rather than deal w the embarrassment horrible people have done to me over it."
The sweet star replied to her fan, posting the following message on Twitter: "Your weight does not define you! People’s perceptions are theirs. You are worthy and purposeful no matter what. ❤️
Thanks for always keeping it real, Chrissy!