LOS ANGELES -- When Sterling K. Brown was in the Twin Cities for Super Bowl festivities last year, he took time to share advice with students in the Guthrie training track. It was a hush-hush appearance.

"How do you know about that?" he said Thursday on the set of his series, "This Is Us." "Come on, man."

After graduating from the program in 2000, Brown would go on to perform in several Guthrie productions and eventually win two Emmys, including one for his on-going role as Randall Pearson.

His interaction with local students last February clearly meant a lot to him. He takes every opportunity he can to inspire the next generation in the same way fellow St. Louis native Robert Guillaume ("Benson") did for him.

"Every once in a while, it hits me that there are people who look at me the way I looked at him. That's kind of crazy," said Brown who also appeared this past summer in the Oscar-nominated film, "Black Panther." "I want to be able to make people smile and make people think, I want to inspire people to make the world a better place and be a better version of themselves. I’ve been fairly consistent throughout my career about that. Now that I have a more heightened platform and people are anxious to hear what I have to say, I hope I’m able to inspire future generations to have a similar creed in regards to this profession.

'"I think some people get into it for different reasons, whether it's for fame or fortune or whatever," he continued. "But when you have a true love for it and a desire to affect people, it will sustain you indefinitely. I hope that message is passed on clearly to anyone else who is trying to do what I do."

Brown said he's been amused by how fans have been reacting to marital woes between Randall and Susan Kelechi Watson's Beth, who takes center stage in Tuesday's episode.

"My wife says, 'Look, if Cookie and Lucious can make it, so can that couple,' " he said, referencing the characters on "Empire." "Randall and Beth mean so much to so many people, in a similar way the Huxtables did. It makes me happy to get to rep for black love. I  hope people aren't disappointed with how it all goes down."