Enter the other Pearson girls, who try to help their big sister on This Is Us – Middle child Tess (Eris Baker), an outspoken queer teen, runs interference by asking her mom a suspiciously curious work question, and precocious baby girl Annie (Faithe Herman) does her part by telling a too cute knock-knock joke. It doesn’t work — Déjà reveals that she plans to get her GED so she can move in with Malik, Randall flips out, and MVP Beth goes into damage-control mode — but the effort Tess and Annie make to shield their sister is still admirable and adorable.
For the television sisters, the scripted united front came easily and from a real place. “I think our own screen connection is beautiful, especially because we have a relationship off screen,” Baker says. Herman agrees: “I’m very grateful for that.”
Herman, Baker, and Ross were 8, 10, and 13 respectively when they started on This Is Us. Now, as fans mentally prepare themselves for the series finale on May 24, the trio reflects on what it was like coming of age on one of TV’s most-watched shows.
Growing up Pearson
FAITHE HERMAN: I’m the youngest, so everything in regards to the industry was new to me. In the beginning, I was so nervous about making mistakes, but I feel like I’ve gotten used to everything. I remember me, my sister. and my mom were at a Halloween store in San Diego. And there was this girl and she looked at me and was like, “You look like the girl from This Is Us.” “Yeah, I am.” [Laughs] I’ve had some really nice notices, even at the mall. I feel like I’m much more comfortable now.
ERIS BAKER: I don’t think I fully understood that I was on an NBC show. I didn’t understand how big that was. I was just happy that I finally got a part. I honestly don’t think 10-year-old me really understood the level of love that this show would mean for me.
LYRIC ROSS: With me being 18 now, there were a lot of things that I kind of had to figure out myself. I’m this kid that’s basically growing up on a No. 1 hit show. It was like, “Oh my God! And I’m already in a state where I’m thinking about what other people are thinking about when they see me.” I think what helped me out was the people I was surrounded with: Susan, Sterling, Eris, and Faithe… they have to be some of the most humble, down-to-earth, grounded people that I’ve met in this industry. Throughout all of the recognition and the fame that has surrounded the show, they haven’t changed.
Their favorite This Is Us moment
HERMAN: I’ve had the most fun during our breakfast scenes. And our car scenes and family gatherings…. Those are always really fun.
BAKER: Of course, Faithe would say that. [Laughs]. I love our breakfast scenes. [But] the moment I will definitely take with me is when Tess came out. Speaking for myself, I was very terrified. I had never cried or been vulnerable on camera before. When I actually stepped into Tess’ shoes, I started to understand the fear that she was going through at that moment. I’m going to remember that scene forever.
ROSS: The scene where Déjà tells Randall that he’s her day 1. I remember that setup and just the atmosphere being so pure and genuine. It was just raw… it was real and honest.
The biggest difference between themselves and their characters
HERMAN: Annie is more of the quiet one than I am in my family. I’m definitely the one who loves to joke around. But I will also say that Annie has a lot of fun dressing in her patterns and mixing them up more than I would.
BAKER: I think Tess is very comfortable with being open and being vulnerable. She’s a great communicator. I’m not that comfortable with being that vulnerable. In so many ways Tess has taught me about communication.
ROSS: I try to listen more than Déjà. [Laughs] Especially when it comes to people who are truly wise. She’s got a big heart, but sometimes I look at Déjà like, “Girl, you are doing too much.”
The best advice they’ve gotten
HERMAN: Mr. Sterling taught me that it was okay to mess up during scenes. I was always super nervous, so it’s always a learning process when I’m on set. I felt like I’ve learned my craft from being around all the adults.
BAKER: Just being around Susan and Sterling I’ve learned that acting is a lot like tennis. You hit the ball back and forth.
ROSS: “Just go for it… just do it.” Sterling gave me that advice. I mean, Sterling… he’s all the way up here. [Laughs] He’s huge! But his personality — he’s so true to his weirdness. And there’s so much freedom to that.
Life after This Is Us
HERMAN: I’m definitely finishing up school. I want to spend more time with my family and I hope to do more of Shazam!, which is [scheduled] for 2023. That’s going to be pretty exciting.
BAKER: Acting is always going to be my first love, but I definitely want to branch out and work within different categories in this industry. I want to go behind the camera 100 percent. I want to break out to film. As an actor, I have so much to learn. I’m only 16. I’m still finishing up high school.
ROSS: Eventually I will be going to college. I do have some projects that I will be working on that I cannot say what they are. But yes, you will be seeing more of me.
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