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It may not appear so, but Chrissy Metz, who play’s Kate Pearson on the hit show This is Us, and I have a lot in common: we’re our parents’ third child, we had abusive stepfathers, we grew up poor, we grew up with body image issues, we’re actresses, we’re authors, and we’ve both worked on the same set as Sterling Brown who plays Randall on This is Us. Granted, Chrissy’s success as an actress far exceeds mine and unlike me, she’s a New York Times bestseller and the time spent on set with Sterling Brown was as his sister unlike me who spent time with him on the set of Insecure when I was an extra and he was a guest star. Albeit, I’ve opted to focus on the similarities. And it’s these similarities that drew me to her new memoir This is Me.
In her memoir, Chrissy gives the reader a birds-eye view of her life starting with a lunch invite she received from none other than the iconic Oprah Winfrey. She had me glued to the pages and laughing out loud as she talked about receiving a call from Oprah’s assistant—a call she just knew was a prank. But when Lady O reached out to her personally, Chrissy quickly accepted the invite. Her writing is so descriptive that she made me feel as if I were there at Oprah’s breathtaking estate in Montecito, California, taking part in their conversation. She goes on from there back to her childhood in Gainesville, Florida where she lived with her mother, father, and two older siblings.
Chrissy talks about feeling like an outsider in her own home because of the age difference between her and her siblings coupled with her father’s indifference to her. Her father, who she called Mark, was a philanderer and her parents eventually divorced. Chrissy, her mother, and siblings moved back to Florida where her mother struggled financially. Soon thereafter her mother met a man named Trigger—the man that would become Chrissy’s tormentor. Chrissy took comfort in food and school. She eventually got into the choir and flourished in music and from there made a foray into entertainment as a young aspiring actress and then an agent. She eventually got a break and got a recurring role in American Horror Story that eventually led to her landing her role on This is Us.
Throughout the book Chrissy gives pointers on how she’s navigated through her amazing life that’s been filled with pain, anguish, joy, judgement, doubt, surprises, miracles, and hope. She’s learned some hard lessons when it comes to romance, and she’s learned to stand up for herself and to say no when it counts. I found her story to be inspirational and encouraging. If an abused girl who grew up dirt poor living in a trailer park in Gainesville can realize her dreams, anyone can. I should know. I was an abused girl who grew up dirt poor in the projects in San Francisco and I too am living my dream.