Eris Baker Originally Thought She “Wasn’t Good Enough” for the Role of Tess Pearson on “This Is Us”

And look where she is now.

Jessica Castro Photography

Since This Is Us premiered on NBC last fall, the show has seen record-breaking numbers each week and has been nominated and won dozens of awards, including 11 Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination, a Critics’ Choice TV nomination, and an AFI Awards nomination. Fans all around the world have also come out and shared that the show has helped them through their personal struggles and is their favorite show on television right now.

With a show that’s that popular, you often wonder if there’s any pressure going in for the cast and crew when they make each episode. When we spoke to Eris Baker recently, she told us about her audition process and how she thought she wasn’t “good enough” for the role of Tess Pearson.

“When I auditioned for TIU, I left the audition crying. I thought it was one of my worse auditions and in my mind I had bombed it. It was weird because I typically don’t cry after auditions, I do my best to give them my best shot, and I walk away knowing that I did my best. But this time, for some reason, I cried. I gave it my best shot and I didn’t think it was good enough. Fast forward… my mom received a call that lead to a call back and then we later learned that I had booked the role of Tess Pearson.”

Check out the full Q&A with Eris below and make sure to catch new episodes of This Is Us on Tuesdays @ 9PM on NBC.

Photo by: Maarten de Boer/NBC

CS: What has your experience been like getting to know your “This Is Us” cast family?

EB: “It has been one of the most exciting experiences ever! “This Is Us” is my first show I’ve ever worked on, so its special in so many ways. But the most special thing about it are the people I get to work with. The cast is incredible! The people behind the scenes are all so talented and everybody (on and off camera) works together to create magic. It’s really like one big happy family! There are so many nicknames and inside jokes- just like family.”

CS: Have you picked up any advice or tips from working with your co-stars?

EB: “My co-stars are all so inspiring. They teach me to stay focused on my dreams and to work hard. Lots of things they teach me are through the things that they do! They are great examples of staying humble, working hard, and never giving up.”

CS: Have you ever found anything cool in the wardrobe/props department on set?

EB: “Hahaha!! What a great question!! Faithe (Annie) and I always find cool things. We are in the “current day” scenes so we get all the cool and cute outfits and shoes and accessories.. The ladies in wardrobe are so amazing and they know our style and what we like. So every time we go to get fitted we are super excited. But the retro scenes. . ..  hahahaha. . I just can’t believe they used to dress like that back in the day!!”

CS: What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten from a family member?

EB: “The best advice from a family member has to be from my parents. Everyday when I go to school or work my parents always remind me to “let your light shine.” It’s to the point where I say it for them before they can even get it out. But that constant reminder is what helps me to continue to stay unique and to be me and to do good work! It reminds me to shine my light of humility, kindness, love and compassion. It reminds me to sparkle and shine wherever I go!”  

Photo by: Maarten de Boer/NBC

CS: Do you remember the first red carpet event you ever went to, and what it was like getting ready, picking your outfit, etc?

EB: “I do! The first red carpet event I went to was actually a charity event for Children’s Miracle Network. It had a red carpet but honestly the purpose behind the event was so much bigger than the red carpet piece. It was during the holidays so It was kind of chilly (LA weather) and I had a sparkly long skirt and a halo braid that my mom had done for me. But the event was so much fun and so inspiring. I met kids who were real life heroes! Kids who deal with sickness and disadvantages but were truly some of the coolest people I had ever met. And they were soooooo talented!! They were singing and dancing and having a great time and to see the kids who suffer so much and deal with their situations with such strength- it set the bar for red carpet events. I love going to events like that!! Events where I am the one most inspired and I leave with a reminder to never give up.”

CS: We also love your fierce fashion sense! Can you tell us who inspires your style, and what you love most about fashion?

EB: “Thank you!! I am inspired by so much when it comes to fashion. My mom was my first inspiration- growing up watching her get herself and all my sisters dressed (and even my dad although he would never admit it). I think fashion is art! It’s a way to express myself and have a voice without saying anything. I see people like Solange and Tracee Ellis Ross and Zendaya and I get so inspired. Fashion is also my way of breaking rules! Hahahah. My mom pushes me to push the limits- mix prints and colors. . . who says you have to match?. . . .dress to your mood. .. . break all the rules!!”

CS: What has been your favorite photo shoot or red carpet outfit you’ve worn so far?

EB: “Oh Wow! That’s a tough one!! It’s hard to say because each one shows a different side of me. Some are fun and colorful, some are tough and edgy, some are sophisticated! The last red carpet event was a little different for me- I channeled the iconic Michael Jackson with a sequins blazer and leather-ish pants. I was 4 when Michael passed away so I never got a chance to see him in concert but I love his music. If you check me out on my Instagram stories you know that I love good old school music (thanks dad!)”

CS: Who are a few of your acting inspirations?

EB: “How much time do you have? I could go on and on. Of course the cast of This Is Us- they’re all incredible. . .but I must tell you young Hollywood is holding it down right now! I’m always inspired by young talent! Trinitee Stokes, Storm Reid, Yara Shahidi, Marsai Martin, Quvenzhane Wallis, Elle & Dakota Fanning, Zendaya, Zoe Kravitz. .. . .I have a ton of them! We would be here all night!”

Jessica Castro Photography

CS: Who is an actor or actress that you would love the opportunity to work with one day?

EB: “I’d love to work with Oprah Winfrey! I just want to hear her words of wisdom and have some of her awesome sauce drizzle on me!! She’s incredible. But honestly I’m grateful and thankful to work with all talent. My only goal is to let my light shine.. When more than one light shines together. . . it shines bright!! There’s so many talented people and even honestly so many talented people that we haven’t seen on our screens yet! I’d love to work with them all.”

CS: You recently appeared on one of our fave Disney shows, “KC Undercover.” What was it like meeting that cast and working with stars like Zendaya and Trinitee Stokes?

EB: “One of the highlights of my career, honestly!! Trinitee Stokes and I met at KC and we instantly hit it off! She’s so much fun and we just get each other. . .love her!! Zendaya is absolutely fabulous! I admire her- she’s strong and focused. Her focus is on a whole ‘nutha level! Working with those ladies was truly an honor. They’re amazing!”

CS: If you could be on any other TV show right now, which would you pick, and what role would you like to play?

EB: “Honestly. . . since we are talking secrets. . . I would love to be on one of those design/ home remodel shows. Who doesn’t like to see houses get flipped!! Its secretly one of my favorite things to watch and I’m learning so much about design and cool stuff about homes. Hahahaha probably not the answer you were hoping for but if I could be featured on a “tween-age edition with Eris Baker” that would be sooooooo cool!!”

CS: Since we’re Celeb Secrets, would you be able to share a fun secret fans maybe wouldn’t know about the “This Is Us” cast or set?

EB: “When I auditioned for TIU. . .I left the audition crying. I thought it was one of my worse auditions and in my mind I had bombed it. It was weird because I typically don’t cry after auditions. . . I do my best to give them my best shot . . . and I walk away knowing that I did my best. But this time, for some reason, I cried. I gave it my best shot and I didn’t think it was good enough. Fast forward… my mom received a call that lead to a call back and then we later learned that I had booked the role of Tess Pearson. Since then, I learned to never count myself out. Hopefully this inspires someone else- don’t count yourself out. . .do your best. . . give it your all. . . .and what’s for you, is indeed for you!”

Written by Juliet Schroder

Juliet Schroder

Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and exploring the latest fashion trends.

Juliet holds a B.S. in marketing from St. John's University.

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