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If It Were Up to Mandy Moore, This Is Us Would Only Take Place in This 1 Time Period

Image Source: NBC

Mandy Moore is incredible on This Is Us, and I don’t mean that in a hyperbolic way. Her heartfelt performance as Rebecca Pearson, mom of triplets and wife of a well-intentioned husband who battles with alcoholism, is a sight to behold. In fact, the 33-year-old singer and actress has received a Golden Globe nomination for her work on the show, and it’s one of the reasons This Is Us has become one of the most watched dramas on television. I recently caught up with Mandy to discuss her Thanksgiving traditions and get the scoop on what we can expect for the rest of the season. Keep reading to find out what she revealed about her character and which time period she enjoys playing the most.

POPSUGAR: First off, congrats on your recent engagement to your fiancé, Taylor Goldsmith. This will be the first year celebrating the holidays as a newly engaged couple; how do you two plan to celebrate?
Mandy Moore: The one tradition we’re hoping to continue is the concept of Friendsgiving. Our tradition over the last couple of years has been gathering around 40 people [and] having appetizers and drinks. It’s just really fun and casual — not stressful like formal holiday traditions: having to vacuum the carpet before Grandma, Grandpa, and all of your aunts and uncles come over. And having to eat food that you don’t love, like cranberry sauce and dry turkey!

PS: What’s your favorite holiday?
MM: I love Thanksgiving. I love that point in the evening where someone, who is maybe a glass of wine deep, starts going around the room talking about what they’re grateful for. They’re willing to be vulnerable and speak from the heart. That always gets me.

PS: Speaking of friends and family, This Is Us is centered around the Pearson family. Fans are obsessed with your character, Rebecca, and her husband, Jack. What’s the craziest theory you’ve heard about how Jack dies?
MM: I remember a while ago someone told me that there was some sort of 9/11 theory where he was perhaps one of the victims on the planes or something really insane and upsetting like that. Obviously that’s not the case, as we now know, but I just was confused because the timeline didn’t even match up properly. I was like, “Wait, no — he passes away in 1998 and [9/11] was in 2001.” So that was a very bizarre theory. I’m not sure what gave people that hair-brained idea.

PS: I cry every week watching the show. I even wrote a piece about how emotionally invested I am. Is there a script or scene that made you cry the most?
MM: Last season it was the episode where Justin [Hartley] is talking about a painting and explaining its analogy to life. How we’re all in a painting and we all have a color, and even if people aren’t in our life anymore, they still contributed to our painting. This season it’s Kevin’s solo episode. Again, Justin kills it. The whole episode is heartbreaking. I love that our show is able to focus on one character and devote an entire episode to their story.

Image Source: NBC

PS: What’s your favorite part about playing a someone like Rebecca?
MM: She’s a deeply compassionate person, but I love that she is flawed as well. She’s not June Cleaver. She is not a perfect mother or a perfect woman, but she just tries her best. I also think how devoted she is to her family. They come first before anything and anyone else in her life. She’s a tremendous role model for all woman to see that no one is perfect.

PS: You play many different ages of Rebecca on the show, including her in present day at 66 years old. Which era do you enjoy filming the most?
MM: Milo [Ventimiglia] and I have both decided that we love 1988 through 1990. Maybe because it requires the least amount of hair and makeup. [Laughs] Also, Jack and Rebecca are the happiest in their marriage at that point in time. That’s the era when the kids are 8, 9, and 10. There’s a lot of levity in their life. They really enjoy each others’ company, going on vacations, and doing things together.

PS: You recently mentioned that you are afraid to shoot upcoming episodes because some really heavy stuff is about to go down. What can we expect from Rebecca as the rest of the season unfolds?

“She has no choice but to step up to the plate and be there for her family in a way that she never expected to.”

MM: I love that her role, in a maternal sense, gets more fleshed out. You see different sides to her. She has no choice but to step up to the plate and be there for her family in a way that she never expected to, especially in Kate’s upcoming solo episode. I really love that I finally get to be a mother to her in a way that I don’t think we’ve seen on screen between the two of them yet. They have a complicated dynamic, as a lot of mother-daughters do, and I love that we will finally explore a different side to their relationship.

PS: The show often features flashbacks of the characters in their younger years, and you too have become the queen of sharing throwback photos on your Instagram.
MM: Am I? [Laughs]

PS: Yes, you are! [Laughs] I figured it would be fun to go down memory lane with you in a round of rapid-fire questions.
MM: OK, sure!

PS: What’s your favorite ’90s drama?
MM: Oh gosh, I don’t think I watched anything cool growing up. [Pauses] You know what . . . my man just reminded me about The West Wing. It premiered in the ’90s.

PS: Favorite ’90s sitcom?
MM: I was a TGIF on ABC girl. I was excited to stay home and watch Step by Step, Family Matters, and that entire block of television. That was my jam growing up.

PS: Favorite song off your debut album?
MM: Oh God, I don’t even remember. Maybe “Walk Me Home.”

PS: Favorite teenage celebrity crush?
MM: It was definitely AJ from the Backstreet Boys. That was my crush because he was the bad boy. He had tattoos!

PS: Favorite go-to karaoke song?
MM: I haven’t done karaoke in a long time, but it would probably be something by Beyoncé. I don’t know if I can narrow it down, but definitely all Beyoncé.

PS: Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC?
MM: Even though AJ was my crush, I’m gonna go with *NSYNC. I thought they had a bigger repertoire now that I look back.

PS: TLC or Destiny’s Child?
MM: Destiny’s Child. [Laughs]

PS: The Princess Diaries or A Walk to Remember?
MM: Come on, A Walk to Remember!