Despite starring on NBC’s hit series This Is Us for six seasons, actor Sterling K. Brown insists he only needed one memento from the set.
Speaking to PEOPLE for this week’s “One Last Thing” page, Brown reveals he took one family portrait of his character Randall Pearson, including his costars Susan Kelechi Watson, who played Randall’s wife Beth, and actresses Eris Baker, Faithe Herman and Lyric Ross, who played the couple’s daughters.
“It’s of when they were younger because it reminds me of the privilege of watching those young girls become young women,” says Brown. “I have it on my desk, and I see it every day.”
he actor, who is starring in the new comedy Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul., has also partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb for a series called Survivorship Today: What It’s Like to Live with Cancer. In each episode, Brown interviews a cancer survivor about life after his or her diagnosis, exploring the physical, emotional and social effects.
“It’s an opportunity to find community,” says the actor, whose uncle died of cancer in 2004 just six months after being diagnosed. “And because it can be such an isolating experience. You’re going through a life threatening disease and you’re probably the only one in your immediate sphere that’s dealing with it, to know that other people have gone through it too, have made it through to the other side and can share their testimonials of what it was like, what it took for them in order to persevere, I think is of the utmost of importance.”
Sterling K Brown has found inspiration for his character on This Is Us in the survivors’ stories.
“There’s a certain sort of can-do attitude and ‘this too shall pass’ that most everybody I speak to is in possession of,” he says. “That lets me know what the power of positive thinking is, the power of believing that your time has not come to an end.”
“I get sort of floored each and every time I get a chance to talk to the survivors,” he adds. “And I know for folks who are struggling, who are going through it, they will be an inspiration to them. Even the caregivers, they’re all sort of getting used to a new normal. Just because you’re in remission, doesn’t mean that your body functions exactly the same way, or your mind, or your spirit. You’re constantly recalibrating. And we need to allow them that space to recalibrate and accept them for where they are. Because then, they can pass through it with that much more ease and grace.”
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