Chrissy Metz doesn't try to hide who she is—and let's be honest, if she did, she wouldn't be able to.
That's because every magazine would likely put her on the cover with words like "brave," "plus-size" and probably, "diet."
When you are not standard Hollywood size but still living the Hollywood dream, you tend to be pigeonholed as some kind of novelty unicorn actor who defied her own "limitations" to become the one person every other not-Hollywood-proportioned woman can live up to.
For every amazing woman like Metz who makes it, there are so, so many more who never get a break. Because while there are fewer jobs for women in Hollywood, there are basically no roles for women with rolls.
We know this, us "imperfect" women. We internalize it, we let it fester in our hearts—and we let it bother us, even when we say we don't care.
When we mention to our friends that we want to lose weight, they frown and say "you're beautiful," because they think that it's helpful.
We know there's so much more to feeling beautiful than whether your friends think you are or not.
That's one reason why I can't stop reading everything that Chrissy Metz ever says about anything. She is beautiful and talented, confident and wonderful.
But she's human and complex and doubts herself—and she admits it.
She's honest about being fat in ways that I don't think I've seen in Hollywood before.
In a recent interview with Marie Claire, Metz talked about how she ended up as an actor:
One day when Metz was in her early 20s, she tagged along with her younger sister Morgana, then 14, to an open-call audition. ("We have different dads; she's tall and thin.") Metz was filling out paperwork for her sister when a former teacher from Metz's school saw her in the waiting room and suggested that Metz audition, too. "You're here for a reason," Metz recalls the woman saying. "In my heart, I was like, 'Yes I would love to,' but I was too afraid of my own shadow," Metz says. Her mother, Denise Hodge, explains that Metz was surprisingly shy: "With family and friends she was the cut-up, but other people had to get to know her first."
I've never read a better description of the battle many people face to feel good enough outside the reassuring circles of love and support they have built for themselves.
It's not that you don't want to be the team leader or the star, or ask that guy out, it's that you fundamentally feel like you can't. Because you don't look like that person.
It's a powerful feeling, it's deeply internalized for many people, and it is the extinguishing factor in too many people's dreams.
Metz is tenacious and she backed herself. That's not easy, and she doesn't try and pretend it is. At some points, Metz tells Marie Claire, she almost gave up.
She considered moving back home for good. "My mom said, 'You could be miserable in Florida, not pursuing your dreams, or you could be miserable in LA, pursuing what you want to do.'"
We know she decided to stay and that the decision paid off with her role as Kate Pearson in This is Us. I for one, am so damn glad it did.
Because Metz is now getting the chance to speak and what she has to say—about self worth and the way fat is treated both by Hollywood and the rest of the world—could almost bring me to tears—of happiness.
"I'm glad that people are like, 'Yo, I'm into Kate.' For so many projects, the fat girl is the secret girlfriend. She's not attractive; nobody wants to date her."
She also points out that men (or women) don't have to be overweight themselves or have a fetish to find an overweight person attractive.
"I know that men—or women, whomever you're attracted to—are attracted to women with something-something. But because we're taught that [thin] is beautiful, it's more accepted to like skinny girls. It's weird if men like big girls—like, Oh, do you have a fetish?"
The greatest struggle of my life every day is convincing myself that actual human men might like me, for me. Because like everyone else who isn't small, I've internalized a whole lot of hate.
Having women in the world who are succeeding at life and being honest about the obstacles, like Metz and Lindy West, is a boost to the confidence of women like me every day.
Size doesn't equate to beauty. I don't understand why that's a thing. Well, I do, because the media has told us thin is beautiful. But is it? Because I think people are miserable not eating and smoking cigarettes.
I've had roommates who were thin girls and constantly working out and trying to stay under a certain size. Even the average girl looks 10 pounds heavier on the screen.
It's hard to articulate how much it matters to hear someone talk so frankly about the ugliness of beauty standards in this world. Someone with skin in the game. Because those role models are few and far between, and while Ashley Graham is a breath of fresh air, her beauty is still pretty damn unattainable.
Metz knows women can be attractive, confident, smart and talented, and yet still feel terrible about themselves every day.
She knows we can feel like we're screaming on the inside while radiating an ocean of calm and collected.
She gets it. She's successful. She's beautiful. She's big. In every way.
And I cannot get enough.
instant happy in your
mailbox every day.