Sydney Sweeney, 24, on being a sex symbol and why she ‘won’t stop’ doing nude scenes

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 05: Sydney Sweeney attends the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 5, 2022 in Santa Monica, California.  (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)

Sydney Sweeney, seen here turning heads in June, talks about being considered a sex symbol and her desire to become a mum. (Photo: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)

Sydney Sweeney is enjoying the fruits of her labor.

Just days after she earned two Emmy nominations for the first time for her roles on HBO White Lotus and Euphoriathe rising star, 24, sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to reflect on her meteoric rise to the top, her dreams of becoming a young mother and her feelings about the sex symbol — including the recent chatter surrounding her numerous topless scenes.

While fans of the show praised Sweeney’s performance as high school student Cassie Howard Euphoriathere was also criticism from fellow cast members about how its creator, Sam Levinson, handled the nude scenes in particular.

Although Sweeney has spoken out about the issue herself, explaining in the past that the scenes really helped her “gain a lot of confidence” with her body, she further explained with THR, saying that she completely trusts “the filmmakers I work with and I’m always so excited about what Sam writes.”

She added that whenever she’s working, “it’s like it’s someone else’s life,” which helps her focus on the story at hand rather than being naked in front of the cast and crew.

“People forget I’m playing a character,” she said of the criticism. “They think, ‘Oh, she’s stripping on screen, she’s a sex symbol.’ And I can’t get over it. I have no problem with these scenes and I won’t stop doing them, but I wish there was an easier way to have an open conversation about what we assume about actors in the industry.”

The actress, whose family moved from Washington state to Los Angeles when she was 13 to support her Hollywood dreams, also opened up about the financial insecurity she still feels — and how it relates to her dreams of becoming a mom .

“I want to have a family, I’ve always wanted to be a young mom and I’m concerned about how this industry stigmatizes young women who have children and looks at them in a different light,” she said. “I was worried that if I didn’t work, there would be no money and no support for the children I would have.”

That level of stress eventually led Sweeney to develop a rigid work schedule — including bids and approvals — that nearly burned her out, all to ensure she had enough money to fund her future family.

“If I wanted to take a six-month break, I don’t have the income to cover it,” he explained. “I have no one to support me, no one to turn to, pay my bills or call for help.”

“If I was just acting, I wouldn’t be able to afford my life in Los Angeles, I make deals because I have to,” he noted. “They don’t pay actors like they used to, and with streamers you don’t have leftovers anymore. The established stars still get paid, but I have to give 5 percent to my lawyer, 10 percent to my agents, 3 percent or something to my business manager. I have to pay my publicist every month, and it’s more than my mortgage.”

When she reflects on her early years, she can’t help but point to the level of rejection she experienced — and how it gave her a thicker skin.

“The rejection you get while trying to learn to be yourself is crazy. It’s crazy how adults look at you,” she said. “I had no idea going into this industry how many people have connections. I started from scratch and I know how hard it is. Now I see how someone can just walk in a door, and I’m like, “I worked my fucking ass off for 10 years for this.”

However, despite her success, Sweeney still considers herself a Hollywood outsider and has no doubts about what she really thinks about the Hollywood elite.

“It’s built to try to get you to stab people,” he said of the industry. “It ‘s crazy. My agent is my best teammate and I will have her forever.” But, he adds, “I see how people are like, ‘We support each other’ — and I’m like, ‘No.’ You not.””

It’s no secret that Sweeney has had to defend her nude and sex scenes, making it clear that she’s building a healthier relationship with her body.

“I’ve become weirdly very confident about my body through Cassie,” she said Variety in June. “It’s a very safe environment,” he added Euphoria series. “I’m very fortunate to be in a time where there’s so much thought put into this process, and now we have intimacy coordinators.”

When explaining the logistics of how these scenes are directed, the actor explained that, during filming, “he’s kind of like a stunt coordinator for a sex scene.”

“They bring tools and choreograph a whole thing,” he explained. “Sometimes there are yoga mats that you can put together or there are like yoga pads or blocks. There are some strange things. They come into your trailer and talk to you one-on-one and even if you’ve agreed to something, they ask you on the spot on the day, “Have you changed your mind? Because you can.’ And then, instead of having to, if you’re uncomfortable talking to the director, he’ll be your voice for you. It’s a really cool dynamic, and they’re on set with you and they make sure you have some peppermints and bubblegum.”

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