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Rising Star Rebecca Metz: “I think our greatest asset as actors is the power of empathy; I could inspire anyone to do anything, it would be to bring more empathy to every aspect of their lives and see how things begin to shift”

I think our greatest asset as actors is the power of empathy. We have to be able to relate to people whose circumstances are different than our own in order to do our jobs — and I see so much need for and absence of empathy in the world around us all right now. Climate change, civil […]

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I think our greatest asset as actors is the power of empathy. We have to be able to relate to people whose circumstances are different than our own in order to do our jobs — and I see so much need for and absence of empathy in the world around us all right now. Climate change, civil rights for so many populations, voting rights, reproductive justice, criminal justice reform, gun policy, and on and on — just about every important issue boils down to our willingness and ability to care about and see the world from the perspectives of people whose circumstances are in some way different than ours. So if I could inspire anyone to do anything, it would be to bring more empathy to every aspect of their lives and see how things begin to shift.


I had the pleasure to interview Rebecca Metz. Rebecca has a major recurring guest starring role on FX’s critically acclaimed Better Things and she is a series regular on the hit Disney Channel comedy series Coop & Cami Ask The World.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Rebecca! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in suburban New Jersey. I’m an only child and my parents are both classically trained singers, so I was a very creative kid. I did lots of school and local theater and went to arts camps and magnet programs, though I never thought about acting or singing professionally as a kid. Around junior high school, I started realizing this was what I wanted to do forever. I started taking classes and researching college programs and making it clear to everyone around me that I was serious about this acting stuff.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was attracted to theater and to acting because of The Muppet Show — and it probably helped that I spend a lot of time hanging out in old theaters when my parents had performances. I just fell in love with everything about theater and performance.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I once went to Morocco to visit a boyfriend who was working on a movie with Omar Sharif, and one night he invited us to join him for dinner. That dinner lasted four hours and probably four bottles of wine while Omar regaled us with stories from his life and career and quizzed us on state capitals (he liked me because I mostly got them right.) It was one of those moments you just sit back and ask yourself, “How did I get here?”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

After being in LA for a few years, I got an audition for The West Wing, which was one of my favorite shows. It went fine. Then I got called in again the next day. It wasn’t a callback, just a bunch of different actors and me. I went into the room and the director said, “Rebecca, what are you doing back here?” I realized later that I was there because the casting director thought I was the right person for the role and wanted to give me another shot at proving it, but I didn’t get that at the time, so I said, “I dunno, it’s not gonna be any different than it was yesterday!” Suffice it to say I didn’t get the part, and I guess I learned I need to do a better job at not shooting myself in the foot!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Right now I’m working on two projects; Better Things on F/X which is about to get started on season four, and Coop and Cami Ask the World on Disney Channel, the second season of which starts airing October 5. They’re VERY different shows — though I play single working moms on both. Better Things is completely unique. It centers women in ways we haven’t seen much on tv — both on and off-camera. It’s funny sometimes, emotional and dark sometimes, the characters and relationships are messy and beautiful and it feels you’ve been friends with them all forever. Coop and Cami is a much more traditional family sit-com and is so much fun to do. It’s a kids’ show, so we get wacky and messy but it also has a lot of heart and always comes back to to the Wrather family being there for each other.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity, inclusion, and representation are so important, I’m glad you asked about it. It really makes a difference for people to not only see people like them on television but see them portrayed in ways that feel truthful. That means not only having diverse characters and actors on camera but having an inclusive, diverse team behind the scenes — writers, directors, producers, executives, and crew. There’s research showing, for example, that showing female characters working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) has a direct impact on girls in the audience feeling empowered to explore those fields. Television is starting to appreciate and embrace all of that, so I’ve had the joy of working with lots of women, people of color, LGBTQ people, etc. (and of course people who are some combination of those) in various capacities and it’s refreshing and inspiring and just HEALTHY. Read the news and you can see what happens when we’re unable or unwilling to see things from the perspective of people whose circumstances and experiences are different from our own. If we want to counteract that, we have to each be proactive about challenging ourselves and the people around us to expand our perspectives, and inclusive casting and staffing are part of that.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

This is more a list of five things people probably DID tell me but I couldn’t really understand when I first started:

– Your reputation is everything. Be great to work with and you’ll keep working, be a pain and sooner or later things will dry up. It’s really not hard. Show up on time, know your lines, be grateful and kind, and offer solutions rather than causing problems.

– Don’t worry about what you’re “right” for, focus on what you love. Actors spend so much time and energy trying to figure out their “type” and figuring out which projects are a good fit. I did that too — and then I booked a big role on Nip/Tuck, a show about plastic surgeons in Miami which I never would have thought I was right for in a million years. After that, I stopped worrying about it and just focused on people who do the kind of work I love — with much better results.

– Have a life outside of acting. Whatever that is for you. For me, it’s cats and cooking and travel and wine and friends and family who have nothing to do with entertainment. As much as you love acting, you can’t focus on it all the time. To stay healthy, you need to take a break every once in a while.

– Get a good therapist. Seriously, everyone on earth should do that, but especially people in a career as unstable and competitive as acting. I use the things I’ve learned in therapy all the time!

– When you start feeling insecure, remember… Everyone is way more worried about themselves than they are about you. You’re doing great. Relax.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Everyone recharges in different ways. Personally, I need regular doses of alone time. Acting is all about connecting with people, whether it’s the cast and crew or fans, all of which I love doing — but I also need to hibernate once in a while to refill my tank. Also, it’s important for me to have creative hobbies that have nothing to do with my career. I love cooking and baking and spending a few days having fun in the kitchen is a great way for me to fight burn-out.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think our greatest asset as actors is the power of empathy. We have to be able to relate to people whose circumstances are different than our own in order to do our jobs — and I see so much need for and absence of empathy in the world around us all right now. Climate change, civil rights for so many populations, voting rights, reproductive justice, criminal justice reform, gun policy, and on and on — just about every important issue boils down to our willingness and ability to care about and see the world from the perspectives of people whose circumstances are in some way different than ours. So if I could inspire anyone to do anything, it would be to bring more empathy to every aspect of their lives and see how things begin to shift.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Definitely my parents. Only now that I’m making a good living as an actor and have been at it for 20 years am I starting to realize what a crazy thing it is to do with your life. They must have been at least a little terrified when I decided to go to an acting conservatory in college and move to LA to be an actor with no “Plan B.” But they never wavered in their support and I’m not sure what my path would have looked like without that.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My grandfather always said, “This too shall pass.” It’s simple but so powerful. It helps get me through life’s lows and helps me stay grounded during the highs. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve heard versions of it echoed through philosophies like Taoism and Buddhism — nothing is permanent, the only constant in life is change. When we embrace that, we suffer a lot less.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

There are so many inspiring women I’d love to spend a few hours talking with. Meryl Streep, Michelle Obama, Frances McDormand, Elizabeth Warren, Maggie Smith, and Emma Thompson come to mind.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I’m at @therebeccametz on Twitter and Instagram.

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