A single, struggling mother, doing her best to raise her daughter in the face of poverty. A confused child tossed into an abusive situation by caring people who believe they are saving her.
“I was so appreciative of this character because it’s not uncommon to have a young single mother who’s trying to do the best she can for her daughter,” said Joy Brunson, who plays Shauna. “But it is uncommon to see it displayed so beautifully in this type of platform. So, I was really appreciative that we got to see Shauna’s life as well, and how Déjà became who she is.”
“This Is Us” gave an all too realistic look at foster care, and how and why a child is removed from their family.
“It was so funny, listening to the feedback from people. It was kind of like they were so ready to be anti-Shauna,” said writer Kay Oyegun. “In that moment they were like ‘Oh, there’s no right or wrong.’ You know what I mean? There’s a humanity there.”
“It’s something about the idea of people doing the best that they can with what they’ve got. It is always people trying. When you have a character like Shauna, played beautifully by Joy, that comes in, and you can’t just stereotypically say, ‘Here’s the teen momma doing what she’s supposed to do, just give the baby to Randall and Beth. You have to now sit with her and see what her journey was, see who she was influenced by.”
Déjà’s backstory was difficult to watch at times, especially when you realize how many children are living that life, and so much worse. I just can’t get enough of this show.
Watch all of the cast and crew’s commentary in the video above.