Why Kate from This Is Us looks so familiar

As of this writing, the NBC hit drama, This Is Us, has already aired its Season 2 finale, and actress Chrissy Metz has become one of the show's breakout stars. She plays Kate Pearson, an overweight woman who struggles with her diet, her family dynamic, and her developing relationship with Toby. Her performance has gotten rave reviews and even earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. But This Is Us is only one of Metz's acting credits, and while it's certainly the one that has thrust her into mainstream stardom, she has done some recognizable work in the past. Here are some of those memorable roles.

Ima 'Barbara' Wiggles on 'American Horror Story: Freakshow'

Landing a gig on the wildly popular series American Horror Story: Freakshow marked the beginning of a turning point for Chrissy Metz's career. In an interview with People, Metz said that she'd resorted to working in casting while she fruitlessly auditioned for roles in Hollywood, which she equated to "watching your boyfriend take another woman out every day." But in a somewhat ironic twist, it was only after she lost 100 pounds that she snagged the role that would kickstart her stardom.

In an interview with Extra, Metz said she actually wore a fat suit for the role of Ima 'Barbara' Wiggles. It measured 109 inches and they nicknamed it "the couch." It was so large they had to create a special area for her to put it on, a lesson learned after she got stuck inside her trailer with it on. But wearing the fat suit was an eye-opener for her. "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.'"

Herself in her 'Ladies Love Cool J' music video

Back in 2015, Metz had already landed her first recognizable TV role as Ima Wiggles on American Horror Story: Freak Show, but she hadn't yet achieved the breakout fame she found on This Is Us — which meant she had more time to focus on her band, Chrissy and the Vapers. While her music career by no means exploded, she did release a pretty quirky music video that made a little noise online — you may have come across it back then, especially if you had a thing for LL Cool J.

Metz spoke to Chubstr in October 2015 about her band's song "Ladies Love Cool J," which is a creative reinterpretation of LL Cool J's "Round the Way Girl" and "I Need Love." She explained, "To this day I love me some LL! … I wanted to pay a little homage, while reliving a bit of my childhood and musical influences." 

This obsession with LL goes way back. She explained to Steve Harvey in November 2017 that when she was a kid, her older brother and sister listened to early hip hop, and even though she "was like, 9 [years old]" when she first heard his music, she says: "He was singing to me. … He's just so cute!" You just need to see her face when Harvey surprised her with a message from Cool J himself. Swoon.

Counter Girl on Entourage

If you blinked, you would have missed Metz's extremely small part on Entourage. And it's not because she played a random bikini girl whose top accidentally falls off when she dives into the pool, which was the typical stereotype for female characters on HBO's unapologetic bro-fest. Instead, they went the complete opposite direction with Metz, casting her as an irritating Titanic superfan who bothers James Cameron at a movie theater. The role is Metz's first screen credit; and while her casting seems pretty clearly part of a questionable practice of characterizing less-than-conventionally-beautiful people as "annoying," she was still super excited for the opportunity.

"I remember going to the bathroom and calling my manager and crying. I'm like, 'I can't get the line right, I can't act, I don't know what I'm doing!' And she's like, 'Put your big-girl panties on and get out there!'" Metz told People. She also said that James Cameron was "lovely" and that the experience was "traumatizing but really wonderful at the same time."

Heavy Girl in The Onion Movie

Did you know The Onion — the hilarious and incredibly popular satirical site — made a movie? It's true. In 2008, The Onion made the jump from the computer screen to the TV screen with the direct-to-video film aptly called The Onion Movie. According to Rotten Tomatoes' synopsis of the movie, the comedy "explores what happens when journalistic integrity is compromised by corporate sensibility" and features satirical commentary on everything from action films to prisoners to peace talks.

Interestingly, this film almost didn't happen. According to GQ, talks of The Onion Movie date as far back as 2004 when funnyman David Zucker and a couple of writers from The Onion wrote a script and shot the movie. Fox Searchlight planned the release for November 2004. Nevertheless, November came and went without The Onion Movie. Tabling the project, the directors of the film walked away. 

Sean Mills, president of The Onion, explained to GQ that the film simply wasn't funny. GQ wrote back in 2007, "To [The Onion's] credit, it didn't just throw the thing on DVD." However, in 2008, that's exactly what happened. Fortunately, or unfortunately as the case may be, Metz has a very small role in the film. IMDb simply lists Metz's role as "Heavy Girl." Eek. 

Chunk on My Name Is Earl

As "Chunk" on My Name is Earl, Metz once again found herself in a role that was specifically written for a heavier person. She played an overweight cheerleader on a squad of misfits. But again, while it seems like Metz was a victim of a cruel Hollywood casting system, she felt she was actually taking roles that went above and beyond "random gross person." In an interview with Clubstr, Metz was asked about her roles in both My Name Is Earl and American Horror Story: Freakshow, and whether she saw any "pluses to being a curvier woman in Hollywood."

"Maybe a smaller talent pool is the advantage. I think it's challenging for anyone in this business, in front of or behind the camera. For the record, I've lost weight, have been told I was too heavy for roles, and too pretty to play the big girl," Metz answered. She also said that what she liked about "Ima" on AHS: Freakshow was that she was "accepted into the freak family, but she accepted herself, first," which is a sentiment Metz echoes in her own life.

Maggie Harmon in the made-for-TV movie Solving Charlie

In 2009, Metz starred in another watch-from-home movie called Solving Charlie. According to Savannah Now, a Georgia-based newspaper and website, the film was originally set to become a television show for ABC, with the pilot filmed in downtown Savannah, Georgia. 

Jay Self, the director of Tourism and Film Services in Savannah explained that, despite the 80-person film crew embarking on the town, there was no guarantee that ABC would pick up the pilot or that it would ever air at all. As it turns out, the drama wasn't green-lit as a show, but it got the okay to proceed as a TV movie. Although the actors were relatively unknown, the director, Gregory Hoblit, had already won nine Emmys and directed NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, and L.A. Law, so many were optimistic. 

Sadly, Solving Charlie wasn't the big break for any of the actors in the pilot-turned-film, including Metz who, according to IMDb, played the role of Maggie Harmon.

Shoshanna in one episode of Huge

Do you remember Huge? Set at a weight-loss camp, the 2010 ABC Family teen drama focused on two overweight teenagers, Will (Nikki Blonskey), and Amber (Hayley Hasselhoff). Of course, being a teen drama, the show also included some teen-centric romance. The show generated a lot of buzz prior to premiering because, as Blonskey explained to Entertainment Weekly, the cast of Huge was the first plus-size cast "ever, in Hollywood history." In spite of the hype and the "certified fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Huge was cancelled after its one and only season. Thankfully, it lasted long enough for Metz to snag a role, albeit a very brief one.

In the fourth episode of the season, "Talent Show," four members of the teenage cast are sitting on a couch at camp and immersed in an episode of a Bachelor-esque type show for plus-sized women called Love Handles. The voiceover introduces viewers to "15 large and luscious lady" and — BAM. That's when you see Metz. Sure, you only see her for a second or two and, yes, she's on a TV show within a TV show but, still. The brevity of her role is made up for when Ashley Holladay's character says, "Oh my god, I will die if Shoshana gets eliminated." Guess who plays Shoshana? Ding, ding, ding. Metz, of course! It must have been fun to get dolled up and play a "luscious lady."

A belligerent audience member in Jimmy Kimmel Live

Long before Metz was invited to sit on the couch on Jimmy Kimmel Live, she secured a seat in the audience. Metz told Kimmel the story of attending his show back when she first moved to Los Angeles. Metz thinks the guest that night was Cheryl Heinz, but one thing she knows for sure is that, whoever it was, was a Florida State Seminoles fan. That is seared into her memory because that team just so happens to be a rival of the Florida Gators, Metz's beloved team.

"Football is religion in the south," she told Kimmel. Metz continued to explain how she yelled out "Go Gators!" during a commercial break of Kimmel's show when a security guard warned her to stop. "Of course, I'm belligerent because, my ego, right?," Metz said. She proceeded to exclaim her love for her team one more time before security threatened to escort her out of the audience. Somehow, Metz talked her way out of being kicked out. Imagine being a member of the audience that night, and now realizing that obnoxious Gators fan was actually Chrissy Metz — amazing!

Bonnie in 'Loveless in Los Angeles'

In another role that at first glance seems unfortunately built on stereotypes, Metz played Brittany Daniels' roommate, Bonnie, in the little known film Loveless in Los Angeles. The film's intention was to be a romantic comedy that also pokes fun at the cliches of the genre, so Metz's gross roommate character was written way over-the-top. At one point, she shoves a pus-filled blister in Daniel's love interest's face; in another, she jams her foot into his lap and encourages him to file her heels. She also talks about having a yeast infection, and those are the just the scenes that she chose to put on her resume reel. So, you'd have to think Metz was in on the concept that this was a parody; otherwise if those were the best moments from the role, it would seem like a definite career lowpoint.

Ruby in All of Us

Back in 2005, Metz starred in a show with a similarly catchy name to This Is Us: All of Us. According to TV Guide, the show is about an entertainment reporter struggling to raise his son while dealing with his ex-wife and new girlfriend. The show may only sound vaguely familiar to you now, but it did last for four seasons. It was also the creation of the dynamic husband and wife duo Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. All of Us was also nominated for multiple BET comedy awards.

Metz had a small role in just one episode, Episode 2 of Season 3, but she was credited for her work as Ruby, according to IMDb. Although Metz has never said whether she got to meet either Mr. or Mrs. Smith on the set, she now hangs in the same circles. Over the holidays in 2017, both Jada Pinkett Smith and Metz were photographed attending Jingle Ball102.7 KIIS FM's annual holiday concert. Go 'head, girl.

Where you might see her next

Reviews for Chrissy Metz's This Is Us performance have been glowing, to say the least. The AV Club suggested that while she consistently delivers, we're only just scratching the surface of her acting abilities. The Hollywood Reporter called her "convincing and compassionate" despite her character's sometimes stereotypical plot, and others have even advocated for an Emmy nomination.

Metz told reporters during the Television Critics Association summer press tour (via The Daily Mail) that playing Kate Pearson allows her to scratch off a bucket list item — a series leads written for a plus-sized woman. She hopes her performance will open the door for other similar opportunities. "We need to write more of those stories. We need to not always be the butt of the joke," she said. Metz recalled an standout fan interaction to Harper's Bazaar: "This woman told me she never understood her daughter and her weight issues 'til she saw the show," Metz recalled. "She got teary-eyed, I started getting teary-eyed … it was beautiful."

As for the rest of that bucket list, Metz wants to start a production company, make an autobiographical movie, and record an EP — because, did we mention she also sings with her band, Chrissy and the Vapors? As of this writing, Metz has just one upcoming film credit outside of This Is Us in Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, but it's clear that this is only just the beginning for Chrissy Metz.