The Moment ‘This Is Us’ Star Sterling K. Brown Knew He ‘Made It’

While the popularity of This Is Us served as a breakthrough role for some of its star actors (perhaps most notably Chrissy Metz), that wasn’t the case for Sterling K. Brown. Brown was a well-established actor with a long line of achievements before he stepped into the part of Randall Pearson, and the incredibly moving role endeared him to a new set of fans and placed him on an even more impressive career path. 

'This is Us' actor Sterling K. Brown as Randall
Sterling K. Brown as Randall | Ron Batzdorff/NBC/Getty Images

Recently, Brown opened up about just when he knew he had “made it” and how that knowledge has (and hasn’t) changed his life.

Sterling K. Brown has a career spanning two decades

A look at Sterling K. Brown’s IMDb filmography shows us his impressive rise from unnamed roles to starring ones. His first parts were way back in 2002. The early 2000s included one-off appearances on TV shows like ER and NYPD Blue and a few small roles in TV movies. He had a small recurring role in the TV series Third Watch as Officer Dade, a role that spanned nine episodes over a few years. 

Recurring TV roles would become Brown’s bread and butter. In 2006, he landed a recurring part on Supernatural. Then, in 2007, he got a big break and became a regular cast member in the drama Army Wives. His college-sweetheart-turned-wife also got to join him on the set a few times! He remained on the show until its cancellation in 2013.

Another notable part for Brown was portraying real-life lawyer Christopher Darden who became famous as one of the prosecutors on the O.J. Simpson trial. Brown stepped into this part for American Crime Story in 2016. 

A travel moment let Sterling K. Brown know he had “made it”

In September 2022, Kaitlin Menza interviewed Sterling K. Brown for Conde Nast Traveler. The interview focused on Brown’s time in the spotlight as well as his penchant for traveling. Along the way, Brown shared a series of charming anecdotes about his rise in fame marked by his elevation in travel luxuries, including his first experience with flying first class.

“You don’t know what you’re missing until you get exposure to it. You can’t un-know it. Once it’s happened, the veil has been pulled,” Brown explained. It was one of these moments of luxury that had Brown pause to reflect on just how far he had come.

Several years ago — long before his precipitous rise to fame — he and his wife stayed at an affordable spot in Kauai. The couple had splurged then for a single meal at the high-end Bacara. When they made a return more recently, they were able to afford some considerable upgrades in accommodations. 

“For our 15-year anniversary, we stayed at Bacara for four days. Oceanfront view! I was like, I made it.” It also gave Brown some travel goals for the future: “If I can go back and do that for the St. Regis Kauai, that will feel really good.” 

What’s next for Sterling K. Brown?

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Brown can certainly afford whatever travel arrangements he wants these days — if he can find the time in his busy schedule to use them! According to Celebrity Net Worth, the actor is worth approximately $10 million. 

On top of that, he has numerous projects in the works. He picked up a lot of voice work over recent years and will bring those talents forward as the narrator of the upcoming The Psalm of Howard Thurman. He’ll appear alongside Jennifer Lopez in the upcoming action-thriller Atlas.

Further down the line, he’s slated to star as Scipio Africanus Jones in the forthcoming biopic The Defender. The former lawyer and Arkansas politician rose to fame as one of America’s leading African-American figures in the early 20th century. The film will focus on his work defending 87 men wrongly accused of murder.