The full story from People:
“I’d be getting maybe two auditions a year, and I’d always see the same small group of girls,” says Metz, who was a size 12 when she was first scouted but dropped 50 lbs. at the recommendation of her then-manager before moving to L.A.
With work slow, she took a job as a junior commercial casting agent but says having to backburner her own dreams “was like watching your boyfriend take another woman out every day.”
Depressed and “eating my feelings,” Metz gained more than 100 lbs. before a panic attack on her 30th birthday sent her to the hospital and snapped her back into reality.
She set about overhauling herself physically and emotionally, including following doctor’s orders to lose weight. “I was so gung ho, I lost 100 lbs. in less than five months,” she says. “All I did was eat a 2,000-calorie diet and walk 20 minutes a day.”
As the numbers on the scale fell, Metz regained confidence. Then she landed the recurring part on American Horror Story: Freak Show that would kick-start her career.
Playing a “fat lady” meant stepping into a fat suit. “It was sobering,” she says. “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.’ ”
The role also lead her to This Is Us. Baring her body and stepping on a scale within the first few minutes of the show’s pilot this past September, Metz — through her character — Kate instantly instantly became a fan-favorite.
“You don’t realize that somebody who’s average or even very fit could relate to someone who’s overweight,” she says of the feedback she’s gotten, “but it’s not about our size — it’s how we look at ourselves and how we feel about ourselves.”
As for what’s next, while Metz says she’s taking steps to lose weight, she does make it clear that the stops along her weight loss journey are “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.”