Chrissy Metz’s career is skyrocketing this year. She plays one of the three protagonists, Kate Pearson, on NBC’s breakout family drama This is Us, and she has become an inspiration to many fans, speaking out about her depression, weight gain and loss, and sense of self in interviews.
She’s also making an impact simply in the act of playing an overweight woman on-screen who is given a role beyond weight loss or beyond being the subject of tasteless fat jokes à la Monica in Friends.
In PEOPLE‘s World’s Most Beautiful issue, Metz, Mandy Moore, and Susan Kelechi Watson all shared heartfelt letters to their teenage selves — and Metz’s is especially raw, open, and stunning.
“You are just as important and beautiful as Amy, the most gorgeous cheerleader in your entire school,” she begins on an empowering note, and goes on to tell herself to stop comparing herself to others.
“Never close your heart,” she advises herself, regardless of what happens in life.
Read the full letter here; it’s everything you’ll wish you knew earlier. Find a box of Kleenex first, though.