The Untold Truth Of Sarah Snook

For many TV lovers, Sarah Snook is a recognizable face. Since 2018, the Australian actress has been playing the stone-cold billionairess Siobhan "Shiv" Roy on the smash-hit HBO show "Succession." As Shiv, Snook delivers a perfect American accent as she embodies the only daughter of mogul Logan Roy. While Shiv might be your first introduction to Snook, she's actually appeared in numerous other TV shows and films throughout her career.

After graduating from NIDA, Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Snook appeared in the series "Spirited" and films like "Predestination," "Jessabelle," "Steve Jobs," and "The Dressmaker" (via IMDb). Despite having an incredibly successful career in Australia, the U.S., and the U.K., Snook didn't become a household name until she landed her role in "Succession." She even picked up an Emmy nomination for the part. And by the sounds of things, it's high time Snook's talent was appreciated. As her "Succession" co-star Brian Cox told the New Zealand Herald, "She's truly gifted, Sarah. I can't think of anybody better, she's just incredible. I adore her, she's lovely." Want to learn more about the woman behind Shiv Roy? Here is the untold truth of Sarah Snook.

Sarah Snook looked up to these Austrailian actors as a kid

Sarah Snook grew up in Australia, dreaming of making it onto the stage or the big screen. As a child, she did have a few idols that she looked to for inspiration, including Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts, and Nicole Kidman. "All the people who've really followed what they wanted to do and pursued it with tenacity," Snook said of her idols in an interview with the Spotlight Report. She even got to meet Blanchett during her final year at drama school, and was impressed by how down-to-earth the star was.

As Snook got a bit older, she met more Australian people in the industry who also gave her inspiration, such as Ryan Corr, Claudia Karvan, and Joel Edgerton. As she put it, her biggest idols are "the people that you see on screen and stage and go, 'They're amazing; they're teaching us something about people. I want to be able to do that as well.'" It sounds like Snook has plenty of Australian actors to look up to.

She wasn't always confident about playing Shiv in Succession

It's safe to say that Shiv Roy on "Succession" has been Sarah Snook's biggest role to date. In fact, the hit show has made Snook a household name and an Emmy nominee. It's hard to imagine a world in which Snook didn't play Shiv. But, it turns out, she wasn't always that keen on the role.

As the actress told Harper's Bazaar UK, when she first saw the script, she didn't think she could do it. "I was ... like "I don't know why I'm going in for Shiv, I'm not Shiv, I can't play this character,'" Snook recalled. "She's very different from me, so I think I was intimidated," Snook went on. Luckily, Snook decided to give it her best shot in the audition. "I said, 'I'll give you what I can do,'" she explained to Harper's Bazaar. Thank goodness Snook took a leap of faith with the character — we can't imagine anyone else filling her shoes!

The actress wants to be known for being a 'good person'

Sarah Snook may be famous for her work on the screen, but when it comes to what she wants to be known for, Snook doesn't just want to be thought of as a good actor. As she told StageMilk, she wants people to associate her with having "good choices, good taste" and being a "good person... just nice."

She went on to explain that she has thought more about the things that she doesn't want to be known for, which helps her narrow down her choices in her career and in her life. "It's, 'Well, I know I don't want to do that, so what is it that I do want?'" she explained.

One thing that Snook does want is a full life that doesn't just revolve around acting. "How can you pretend to be other humans if you're not being one yourself?" she said. Sounds like Snook is a much better person than her character on "Succession" at any rate!

Sarah Snook's first big career break came with the movie Not Suitable for Children

Sarah Snook's career began with several roles in TV shows in Australia. It wasn't until 2012 that she landed her first major role in a film. As the actress explained to the Spotlight Report, playing Stevie in "Not Suitable For Children" was a huge stepping stone in her career progression.

"This definitely is a huge highlight. It's like — It's my first feature film. So, I feel very honoured and blessed to have been allowed to participate in it," she said. She explained that the producers had to fight for her to be cast in the movie — "which I'm very grateful for," she said. Shortly after that role, Snook landed her first American movie with "Jessabelle." It sounds like getting cast in "Not Suitable For Children" was a key moment in her career that helped her transition to the U.S. film industry — we can only say, thank goodness those producers gave her a chance to really shine!

She almost took on the lead role in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Back in 2011, the remake of the hit film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was released, starring Rooney Mara alongside Daniel Craig. For Mara, the role was a huge stepping stone. However, it turns out, the career-defining role almost went to Sarah Snook instead. According to Entertainment Weekly, she was short-listed for the part along with Emily Browning, Sophie Lowe, Lea Seydoux, and Mara, who ultimately got the role.

As Snook later told The Film Pie, she did come very close to getting the part in what she called "one of those random twists of fate." Apparently, a woman in the industry who eventually became her manager got her an audition for the part. "I kept getting further and further along in that process," Snook recalled. According to Snook, it was a lucky turn of events, because the film's director had been looking for "someone completely unknown." As Snook put it, that helped her "get a foot in the door." Even though Snook wasn't cast in the movie in the end, she clearly proved that she was up to the task!

Sarah Snook has a complicated relationship with her character on Succession

As anyone who has seen HBO's "Succession" probably already knows, not many of the main characters are all that likeable — in fact, most of them are objectively bad people. For Sarah Snook, who plays Shiv on the show, this presented a bit of a problem.

As she explained to Harper's Bazaar, she had to find things about Shiv to "love" in order to portray her. "I do like her, I have to like her," she said. "I love her and I've learned a lot from her." Of course, even though Snook found things about Shiv to love, she also acknowledged that the character has plenty of flaws.

Even though Snook both loves and hates Shiv, it's clear that she's having the time of her life playing the character. And while Shiv may have a controversial moral code, Snook has taken some things away from the experience. As she told HBO, "I think I've become more forthright in real life, thanks to Shiv."

The actress has a fascinating family history

Fans of Sarah Snook probably already know that the actress is actually an Aussie, despite her flawless American accent on "Succession." However, you may not know where her family came from before they landed in Australia.

Snook relayed the whole story to Vulture: Apparently, her mother's mother was originally from the U.K., before "she immigrated to New Zealand by accident." According to Snook, her grandmother had been an actress in London and had wound up in South Africa at the beginning of World War II. Eventually, she ended up in New Zealand. Her grandmother then left her daughter (Snook's mother) money, which she used to travel. It was on a trip to Papua New Guinea that her mother met Snook's father. The pair "bred these three adventurous women," as Snook put it. By the sounds of things, Snook comes from a long line of globetrotters!

Sarah Snook once met Patti Smith in a weird twist of fate

You may be surprised to learn that Sarah Snook thinks she can manifest things into reality. She gave one example in an interview with Vulture, explaining that she once "summoned [Patti Smith] like a shaman." 

Apparently, the actress first established her connection to Smith when she used a poem from Smith's "Cowboy Mouth" as her audition for drama school. Then, years later, she was reading Patti Smith's biography "M Train" while backstage at a play. While reading the biography, Snook realized that she Smith and Snook had stayed at the same hotel in New York and visited the same library rooms — at different times, of course. 

That's when things got really weird — Snook happened to be telling this story to a friend while she was backstage, when Patti Smith herself appeared at the door. ""She goes, 'You all right?'" Snook recalled, and then she left. Sounds pretty supernatural to us!

She loves to tease this Succession cast member

All of the relationships on "Succession" are filled with chemistry, but one of the best relationships is the sibling love-hate relationship between Shiv and Roman (played by Kieran Culkin). It should come as no surprise to fans of the show that Snook, much like her on-screen persona, loves to tease Culkin on the set.

When asked by Seth Meyers on "Late Night" who she liked "being mean to the most," she replied without missing a beat, "Kieran." She went on to explain that for Culkin, being mean was just his way of showing love.

Apparently, Snook learned that being mean to Culkin was "fun" very early in the show, as the two had a sibling wrestling scene in one of the first episodes. At first, they tried to choreograph a fight scene with the stunt team, but in the end, the pair just ended up going at each other for real! No wonder these two have such great chemistry on screen.

Sarah Snook has wanted to act since she was a child

Like many actors, Sarah Snook has always felt driven to be a performer. As she explained to her old drama school, NIDA, "I felt that it was always a given that it was going to be a part of my life." In fact, Snook felt that she was carrying on the "mantle" of her grandmother, who was also an actor.

The first moment that Snook realized that she was interested in acting was when she watched her sister perform in a production of "Peter Pan." When she saw her sister "fly" on stage, Snook was blown away. "I was like, 'Oh my God, I did not know my sister could fly!,'" she recalled to Backstage. After being transfixed by the "magic of theater," she started taking acting lessons and appearing in school productions as a child. It sounds like Snook has been destined to act from the beginning!

Here's how Sarah Snook portrays Shiv's confidence

So, how does Sarah Snook get into character to play the super rich and entitled Shiv Roy in "Succession?" Well, it isn't easy, especially since the character is so different from her. "It's something about entitlement," the actress told Backstage. "The belief that you have the right to be in any room because you have X amount of zeros in your bank account," she went on.

To find this confidence that comes from being one of the elite, Snook explained that she had to develop an "unflappable self-belief." During one scene (which later got cut) in the pilot episode, Snook found a way into the character, because the scene showcased a little vulnerability. Once Snook realized that Shiv had insecurities beneath her ultra-confident exterior, she found a way to play her.

Plus, as she told the New Zealand Herald, getting into Shiv's physicality and environment helps a lot, too. "It certainly helps getting into character for sure — wearing nice clothes and being around helicopters," she explained.

She found filming during COVID-19 stressful

When the US shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, filming for Season 3 of "Succession" was put on hold. Eventually, the cast and crew returned to work in November 2020 — however, they were still forced to work under a series of COVID protocols. As Sarah Snook told the New Zealand Herald, it wasn't always easy filming during a pandemic.

"It was difficult – we were shooting at the height of the pandemic in New York," Snook said. "There were however many thousands of cases per day and we were shooting unvaccinated in a crowded room of extras and often had to be unmasked because that's what our characters were doing." For Snook, filming under these conditions meant "a lot of stress," but it also helped the team form a stronger bond than ever. It sounds like the cast and crew had to take a lot of risks just to make Season 3 of the show — and fans of the show who couldn't wait for more episodes thank them for that!

Sarah Snook got married in a secret lockdown wedding

In 2021, Sarah Snook married comedian Dave Lawson, her "best friend," in a secret lockdown ceremony. As the actress explained on "This Morning," she and Lawson were longtime best friends who had decided to spend lockdown together. "We were very blindsided by it," she said, explaining that they fell in love during lockdown and decided that they "couldn't be apart." So, Snook proposed (via Daily Mail). In another interview with Vogue Australia, Snook went into more detail about their relationship and wedding. "We've been friends since 2014, lived together, travelled together, always excited to see each other, but totally platonic," she said. However, once they fell in love, everything changed. The pair got married in Snook's back garden with only a few witnesses. Talk about a romantic story!

In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Snook explained how the newlyweds settled down. After their secret wedding, they moved to a mud-roof house in the countryside north of Melbourne, where they are apparently building a golf course.

She is thinking about starting a family

Sarah Snook may be extremely busy with her work, but that doesn't mean she and her husband haven't started thinking about the next steps in their relationship. In fact, as she explained to Harper's Bazaar, children may soon be on the horizon for the couple — one day. Snook is unsure when the right time will be.

"When's the right time to have kids? It's the age-old question for women and there is no answer," she mused. While Snook does want a family, she knows that she'll need to balance career with raising kids. "I, maybe naively, would like to keep as much going forward as I can career-wise, but that's about the support you have around you and the partner you're doing that with," she said. It sounds like Snook is willing to wait so that she can spend as much time as possible focusing on her work — which is great news for "Succession" fans!

Sarah Snook is passionate about breaking down Hollywood beauty standards

Sarah Snook is obviously a beautiful woman, but she may not fit the expectations for a "classic" Hollywood beauty. As far as Snook is concerned, Hollywood's unrealistic beauty standards are not something she wastes time worrying about.

In an interview with Vogue Australia, the actress revealed that she has sometimes thought about making herself more marketable by working out or looking "like a movie star." But in the end, she always thinks, "Can I really be f***ed subscribing to an unrealistic beauty standard that then perpetuates and makes more women unhappy because they feel like they can't attain something that's not actually realistic anyway?"

It's pretty amazing that Snook refuses to conform to Hollywood's beauty standards. And based on people's reception to her work, it's clear that her performances will always make her a joy to watch — no matter how she looks!