There are so many reasons why fans are falling in love with the NBC show This Is Us. But perhaps the most inspiring of them all is that the show includes a relatable portrayal of a plus-size woman, played by actress Chrissy Metz, on a journey toward self-acceptance and self-love.
Although it might seem like Metz is on the top of the world right now (she got a Golden Globe nomination this year, after all), her journey hasn't always included body positivity and self-acceptance. That part took nearly a decade for her to achieve.
Prior to landing her starring role on This Is Us, Metz didn't have many acting jobs coming her way, she told People. So she listened to her then-manager's advice to drop 50 pounds, and then put her acting dreams "on the back burner" to take a job at a talent agency to pay the bills.
All that unhappiness sent her down a spiral of depression and self-doubt, during which she was "eating her feelings" and gained more than 100 pounds. After a panic attack on her 30th birthday, she was ready to start "overhauling herself physically and emotionally."
Noticing a difference in her body, Metz slowly started to regain her confidence. Soon after, she booked a recurring role on FX's American Horror Story: Freak Show. For Metz, playing a "fat lady" character included wearing a fat suit.
"It was sobering," she said. "I thought, 'What if I become that heavy and can't walk around or get stuck in the doorframe? I was like, 'I don't want this for me.'"
Then, she joined the cast of NBC pilot This Is Us. Her character, Kate, became a fan favorite shortly after her first scene, where she stood naked on a scale, vulnerable, waiting to see the number it read.
Fans instantly related to Kate's vulnerability and her struggle with losing weight, even revealing to the star how her portrayal has given them more body confidence.
"You don't realize that somebody who's average or even very fit could relate to someone who's overweight, but it's not about our size - it's how we look at ourselves and how we feel about ourselves," Metz said.
On the show, Kate has long struggled with her weight, and the first season of This Is Us charts her weight-loss journey. Metz told People that her own weight-loss journey is similar to Kate's, which was a key part of why her part on This Is Us "is the role of a lifetime" for the plus-size actress.
"You have to use what you have, and I wouldn't have this role if I had already lost weight," she said. "Now it's about telling a story of a woman struggling with her weight, just as I have and still am."
Although Kate's weight-loss journey is publicly chronicled on the NBC show, Metz reveals that hers is "not for anybody but myself. I want to have a fit, healthy body and not have to be put in a box. I don't want to be limited by anything," she told People.
So now, after years of living with depression as she tried numerous diets and weight-loss plans, Metz has finally found happiness in doing what she loves and loving herself as she is.
"Like I always say, if you don't love yourself for who you are now, then you'll never become the person you're meant to be," Metz said.