‘The more I give away, the more people want to take’

A version of this story about Sydney Sweeney first appeared in the Down to the Wire: Drama issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine.

Sydney Sweeney wants to be put through the wringer. She grew up admiring actors like Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, hoping one day she’d step into roles like theirs.

“I’ve always loved how strong they were,” she said, adding that she was drawn to “everything I saw that was just very, very different from my life.”

At the age of 24, she is now a double Emmy nominated for two roles that arguably fit that bill, entering the HBO stratosphere as emotional high school student Cassie Howard on “Euphoria,” which went on to land her the role of privileged socialite Olivia. Mossbacher on “The White Lotus.”

Of the nine actors nominated for multiple Emmys this year, only Sweeney and Julia Garner received their nominations for lead or supporting roles in two different programs.

Also read:
Sydney Sweeney’s ‘White Lotus’ and ‘Euphoria’ Roles Couldn’t Be More Different – And That’s How She Likes It (Video)

Separating herself from her characters is something Sweeney has talked about at length, yet it is viewed critically — especially when it comes to nude scenes (a double standard she claimed doesn’t exist for men in Hollywood).

“I can easily separate myself from a character, and I understand that might not be so easy for an audience,” she said. “But I hope that as I give an audience more and more characters, they slowly begin to realize that I am living and breathing the truth of someone else’s life. It’s not Sydney Sweeney.”

Sydney Sweeney, Brittany O’Grady and Alexandria Daddario in “The White Lotus” (HBO)

Her performance in Season 2 of “Euphoria” earned her professional accolades and more fame thanks to scenes that have gone viral. She is now living under a microscope as she tries to navigate this moment in her career. While she doesn’t have all the answers, Sweeney plans to keep going, doing her job the best she can and protecting her privacy.

“I’ve always been raised to speak honestly with people, and I think it’s hard because in this industry, our reality is definitely going to be different than most,” she said. “And so it’s hard to talk about topics that might not be easily digestible. I learn that the more I give away, the more people want to take. It’s like this balance between trying to maintain a healthy personal life, but also wanting to share the most authentic version of myself with my audience.”

Also read:
Exactly How ‘Euphoria’ Untied Maude Apatow and Austin Abrams’ Homoerotic Dance Number

She will attend the 74th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on her 25th birthday. She admits that thinking about how she got to this point in her career is “a wild thought.”

“I probably taped myself for 50 to 100 auditions and never even got a call,” she said. “That was the work, and I learned to fall in love with it. I would get all creative. When I had to record auditions, like it was in the car, I’d go to the car and eat a hamburger – everything the characters do. I started filming like I was doing a scene because I fell in love with auditioning.”

How does she feel about those auditions she never got a call back for?

“It’s hard. I’m still figuring out how to deal with that,” she admits. “Nobody wants to be rejected. But I have to trust the process and know that things will happen when they should.”

Read more from the Down to the Wire: Drama issue here.

Also read:
Eric Dane on how his ‘euphoria’ role as a toxic father ‘terrified him’ – in a good way

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