"It hasn’t sunk in yet," This Is Us star Chrissy Metz tells PEOPLE of her first Emmy nomination

By Lanford Beard
July 13, 2017 12:57 PM

This Is Us breakout star Chrissy Metz scored her first Emmy nomination on Thursday, and — no surprise — the 36-year-old actress was still on cloud nine when she spoke with PEOPLE just minutes after learning she’d be going to TV’s biggest night.

Below, Metz shares her first response, the competition for who’ll escort her down the red carpet come September and teases an “incredible” season 2 of NBC’s megahit family drama.

Congratulations on getting nominated! Could you have even imagined this 18 or 24 months ago?
No! no way. Its amazing

What was the first thing you thought when you heard the news?
I literally said, “Are we sure? Are we sure that’s correct because you can’t always believe what you read — especially on the Internet.” My publicist was here, and I was like, “Wait, can we make sure? Can we just make sure?” And then the rest of my team called and I was like, “Okay, I guess it’s real. I guess I can accept it now.” It hasn’t sunk in yet.

I’m sure you’ve been deluged with texts. Who was the first person that contacted you?
You know, my family has been texted me since like since probably 6 this morning. I did message Sterling [K. Brown] and Milo [Ventimiglia] and haven’t got to Ron [Cephas Jones]? And I’m like, “Aahh! I’m so excited for everyone else!” And then I’m like, “Oh wait! I’m included too!”

You’ve had a few chances of what you might say in a speech over the last year, but what does getting this kind of praise mean to you?
It’s overwhelming. Its so much more than acting, its like why were put here on the planet — to relate to each other, to learn from each other. It’s so cool to do it in a way that I can be proud of what I’m apart of and just enlighten. Its written so well, from Dan [Fogelman] to the writers to our executives, there’s so much love put into it that I really could see so much love from it and that’s what we’re there to do? The show is opening peoples hearts and minds and discussions about what people are really going through. It’s really about getting to the core of the issues and how we can learn and grow from them.

We saw your This Is Us character choose to pursue her dreams — just like you did — in the season 1 finale. Is there a Grammy nomination for Kate in her future?
[Laughs] That would be a long time coming, I’m sure. But still, that would be really cute.

WATCH: Check Out the 2017 Emmy Nominations!

Is it safe to say you have a date in your boyfriend Josh Stancil? How are things going with you two?
Oh yeah, things are awesome. We’re just living day to day. I can’t in life, in my career, I can’t really live for the future. I have to live for the present moment. I don’t even think about that kind of stuff.

And he might be facing some stiff competition from your family.
I promised my mom if I got nominated, she could be my date so probably. She’s been picking a dress out secretly I’m sure. We will see ….

Well congratulations again; we can’t wait to see you on Emmy night and when This Is Us returns this fall. Two months is too long!
I didn’t think that it could get any better, but it is and this season is going to be just incredible. I’m excited!

The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will air live on CBS from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, and This Is Us returns Sept. 26 on NBC.