Actress Susan Kelechi Watson, whose parents are both from Jamaica and whose middle name suggests a connection to Nigeria, plays the character “Beth Pearson” in the popular “This Is Us” television series on NBC. She remembers when she was once an insecure teenager plagued by doubt and anxiety. Watson and her female cast mates provided some advice and encouragement to their younger selves through letters shared with People Magazine.
In her letter, Watson tells her younger self that she will lose her best friend, her aunt, her cousin, her “fairy godmother” and her “second mother.” She described these women as inspirations in her life who helped her through difficult times.
Watson remembers her Auntie Essie, “the greatest godmother of all time,” who never forgot her birthday and taught her that family meant an investment of time and love. She showed Watson that making sure children, even those not your own, feel important and cared for is the best way to show love.
Watson also remembered Auntie Saskea as a “resilient, defiant presence,” a beautiful woman who taught her that beauty comes from the inside out.
Her Cousin Carmen was another woman who inspired her by being “one of the boldest, funniest, brazen, honest, most audacious women” she’d ever known. Cousin Carmen taught her to speak the truth without being afraid and that her opinion was worthwhile.
Fadia, Watson’s sister from another mother and a best friend, gave her the gifts of fun and good friendship and the realization that the body is mortal so everyday should count.
Watson’s great-grandmother was her second mother and caretaker. She was the “greatest entertainer and story teller to have EVER lived.” Watson notes that she dedicated her life to helping raise the younger generations of the family, how to appreciate every year of life, and that no one is ever too old to take on new experiences, like coaching Little League or getting American citizenship.
These are the women Watson wrote to her younger self about, telling her that she would never lose the important lessons they taught her.
Watson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Howard University and a Master of Fine Arts from the Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program. She has an impressive acting resume, including roles on the TV show “Louie” from 2012 through 2014, “NCIS,” “The Following,” and “The Blacklist.”