The 36-year-old actress tells the March issue of Glamour magazine that she almost gave up acting entirely before she got the call about playing the character of Kate on the hit NBC drama.
“In 2014 American Horror Story came up. I’d wanted the role of Ima [Barbara] Wiggles desperately, and after I got it, I thought, 'OK, awesome, this is a jumping board for my career!' But when it wrapped, there was…nothing," she recalls. "I almost moved back to Florida, but my mom said, ‘You can either be miserable here and not pursue your dreams, or you can be miserable in L.A. and at least pursue what you want.’ So I stayed."
Metz says she "kept auditioning, with no savings and no money, [and] credit card debt gaining interest."
"I went on unemployment. I bought ramen noodles at dollar stores. I never had to -- God forbid -- live on the streets; I moved in with a roommate who told me, ‘Stay with me until you can afford rent. Don’t give up,’" she shares. "People who supported me were like, ‘If you don’t have money for food, I’ll cook you dinner. You don’t have money for acting class? Let’s get together and read lines.’ I am so grateful that I had such an amazing support system."
Metz confides, "When I booked This Is Us, I had 81 cents in my bank account. I could cry right now just thinking about it.”
Her tough road to the top is one reason she's so thankful for her fans. “I’ve had women -- average women, older women, teenagers -- who say to me, ‘Your role and this show has changed my life,'" she says. "That makes all the struggle, all the ramen noodles, all the times when I couldn’t pay my bills, all the times where I was like, ‘I can’t do this,’ worth it."
"Sometimes I cry on the way to the set still," she continues. "There is something that happens when you are grateful: You continue to keep receiving blessings. So I will always be grateful.”
In addition to landing the role of a lifetime, Metz also found love on the This Is us set. The TV star and boyfriend Josh Stancil -- who is reportedly a cameraman on the show -- made their first red carpet appearance as a couple at a Screen Actors Guild Awards party on Sunday.