The Stunning Transformation Of Euphoria's Sydney Sweeney

Sydney Sweeney is a rising star. Born on September 12, 1997, the 24-year-old has an impressive résumé. She has portrayed characters that can make the hair at the back of your neck stand up, and she can just as easily transform into a high school student desperate for love and attention.

Although it might seem like the breakout actress became an overnight success, nothing could be further from the truth. Sweeney got her career start landing a slew of small parts before ever being noticed. All the while, she navigated her family's financial struggles (per the Independent) and dealt with casting directors telling her that she didn't have the right looks to achieve her dreams (via GQ). Instead of becoming discouraged, Sweeney used the hardships as the stepping stones to her success. If someone tells her that she can't do something, she'll do it twice and post it on TikTok so you'll always remember how wrong you were. The actress might seem like a big star now, but she's only just getting started. Here's a look at the stunning transformation of Sydney Sweeney.

She grew up in a small town

Sydney Sweeney is a small-town girl. She grew up in Spokane, a modest town located on the border of Washington and Idaho. It's here she learned to let her imagination run wild and experimented with various sports, all while growing up with limited access to the internet, Sweeney told the Independent.

Being raised in a simple and peaceful environment, Sweeney cultivated a profound appreciation for her family, and remains close to them, once saying "family is everything." In a February 2022 article with GQ, Sweeney said as a kid she tried every sport available to her, mixing up baseball, soccer, wakeboarding, golf, ballet, and even dirt bike riding. She was even on a snow slalom ski team. It might be safe to say that acting was the last thing her family thought she would pursue — becoming an Olympic gold medalist might have been easier to imagine. But the universe had other plans.

Sweeney was in a wakeboarding accident as a child

Sydney Sweeney's interest in acting was piqued after she was in a serious wakeboarding accident. "My face hit the bottom spin of the board and sliced open, next to my left eye," she told the Independent in an interview. "I had 19 stitches. I was so terrified of getting back on my board afterwards." But Sweeney's mother wasn't about to let her quit a sport she loved just because she was scared. After her stitches were removed, her mother took her back to the lake and wouldn't let her leave until she stood up on the wakeboard.

She told GQ that she used to live in imaginary worlds when she was a kid, and when she realized that acting would allow her to do that on a daily basis, she was instantly interested in pursuing it as a career. With her wakeboarding fears conquered, she went on to do exactly that.

As a child, Sweeney put together a business plan to pursue her acting dreams

After realizing that she was interested in pursuing acting, an opportunity to start living her dream came knocking on her door. Sydney Sweeney told the Independent that an indie zombie movie was holding auditions in Spokane, and she begged her parents to let her give it a go. They weren't immediately on board, however. "My parents thought I was wanting to be a princess, that it wasn't real," Sweeney told Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show" (via People).

To convince her parents, 11-year-old Sweeney created a slideshow presentation to show them that her becoming an actress is, in fact, a great idea and something that she was serious about. Sweeney was ready to do the work to make her dreams come true. The presentation consisted of a five-year business plan that illustrated the possibilities of what she could achieve if they allowed her to audition for the zombie movie. When Fallon asked her how she managed to put it together on her own, Sweeney revealed that she's a pretty badass researcher too. "I just Googled a lot," she told Fallon. "Google has a lot of information!"

Seeing their daughter's great passion for pursuing acting, Sweeney's parents allowed her to start auditioning.

She has landed multiple recognizable roles in her career

These days, Sydney Sweeney is known for her roles in shows like "The White Lotus," and "Euphoria." However, her first role was that of Lisa in "ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction" in 2009. From there, she landed more small roles, including an appearance in a 2014 episode of "Grey's Anatomy" as Ellen Weaver, a girl who loses her father to cancer (via CheatSheet). Fans might also remember her brief role in "Pretty Little Liars" as Willa, one of the girls under mean girl Addison's spell. More recently, she starred in the Netflix series "Everything Sucks!" and Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale." She even landed a part in legendary director Quentin Tarantino's film "Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood." 

Sweeney's been on a roll, but in February 2022 she told Cosmopolitan that she doesn't like looking back on her earlier work much. "Anything before 'Everything Sucks!' and 'Sharp Objects,' I pretend that was a whole different person — I have blocked out so much of that time, of my high school life."

Sweeney started training as a mixed martial arts fighter at 14

While she loved all kinds of sports as a kid, Sydney Sweeney told Marie Claire that she got into mixed martial arts at 14. She participated in her first competition when she turned 18, and, at first, the odds didn't appear in her favor. She was up against guys that were a weight category above her. But Sweeney had nothing to worry about, because it's clear that she was born to kick some serious butt, and that's exactly what she did: She won first place. "Those guys were probably saying, 'Oh, we didn't want to hurt her,' but they were definitely trying. Everyone broke a sweat!" she told the magazine.

We'll admit that we're a little disappointed that none of Sweeney's roles up to this point have utilized her mixed martial arts skills. While appearing on the "Kelly Clarkson Show", she said, unfortunately, being an actress means she's often not allowed to practice the sport. "Unfortunately, you sign a little piece of paper that says you're not to do X, Y, and Z and I am all of X, Y, and Z," she told Clarkson.

Her family experienced financial hardship after moving to LA

When Sydney Sweeney first started landing roles as an actress, her family would frequently travel between Spokane, Washington, and Los Angeles to accommodate her. Eventually, they decided to take the leap and move to LA permanently so she could pursue her dream full-time. Unfortunately, things did not pan out as well as they'd hoped at first, Sweeney told GQ. "Looking back now, [it] makes no sense, because if they couldn't afford going back and forth, they were not going to be able to afford living in LA," she said.

Even though Sweeney was booking small parts, she wasn't making a lot of money. She told Cosmopolitan that her dad ended up losing his job and going bankrupt, and the family was forced to sell their house in Spokane. Everything went downhill from there. Sweeney blamed herself for what happened. "They always say, 'It wasn't your fault.' It was," she told the magazine. Shortly after, her parents got a divorce.

Sweeney desperately wanted to get her family back together and planned on buying back their family home when she turned 18. "Turns out, I had nowhere near enough money," she told the magazine. "I never cried more in my entire life."

Sweeney didn't like to party and drink as a teenager

In an interview with W Magazine, Sydney Sweeney revealed that even though her character Cassie on "Euphoria" has a pretty wild teenage life, she can't really relate to it personally because her teenage years were the exact opposite.

She explained to the publication that she'd never done any drugs before, and that she prefers to stay at home instead of going out to party. Despite being a successful Hollywood actress, she doesn't drink either, and these values still hold true.

Speaking to Cosmopolitan early in 2022, she revealed that the reason she's so cautious of any sort of substance use is because her family has a history of drug addiction and alcoholism. "I'm terrified that I'm going to have that addiction," she told the magazine. "There's something in my family's blood that just hits a different way when they do stuff. I drink maybe once a year, because I have social anxiety." She went on to explain that she'd rather curl up on the couch and watch TV, or have some friends over for board games. "I can't do the pointless standing around and drinking and getting nowhere in life," she said.

She adopted her first dog at 17

Sydney Sweeney adores dogs, but it wasn't until she was 17 that she adopted her first pup, naming her Tank.

Growing up, her family had a German Shepard, but the dog passed away when Sweeney was 13. She told Elle that her family simply did not feel complete without a dog, so she really wanted them to get another one. When she was around 17 years old, she visited her great-grandmother, who has a passion for rescuing dogs and volunteered at animal shelters. While helping her relative at one shelter, one particular puppy caught her eye, and it was love at first sight.

Sweeney adopted the dog without her parents knowing, and when she got home her mom was furious, but her dad thought it was the cutest thing. After keeping the dog, Sweeney took Tank to school since she was too small to be left alone at home. She hoped that no one would notice, but of course, she got caught. Fortunately, it all panned out — Tank won everyone over with her cuteness, sort of becoming the school's mascot. As for why she named the dog Tank, Sweeney told the magazine because she had big dreams for the dog. "I named her Tank because I wanted her to grow into a tank — I wanted her to be a big, huge dog," she said.

The actress was valedictorian of her high school

Sydney Sweeney might have been crazy busy juggling all of her classes, multiple auditions, and filming, but she still somehow managed to finish high school top of her class. Interestingly, one year she missed about 117 school days, she told C Magazine. She also admitted that her experience in high school was anything but ordinary, thanks to working as an actress full-time. She never had the opportunity to do normal high school activities, like going to the dance or football games. And yet, Sweeney managed to earn straight A's in all her AP classes. She was eventually named valedictorian of her class.

As for whether she regrets not having the typical high school experience, Sweeney seems to feel like she did miss out a little. "There's a part of me that doesn't want to stop playing high schoolers until I've lived all the high school experiences that I want to. It's like my own therapy for myself," she also told the outlet. 

Sweeney studied for a degree in business while filming The Handmaid's Tale

Clearly, finishing high school while working as an actress wasn't too hard for Sydney Sweeney. While filming "The Handmaid's Tale," she dove headfirst into college courses. Looking at her work ethic makes us seriously reconsider what hard work really means.

While appearing on "The Drew Barrymore Show," Sweeney revealed that she set out to pursue a business degree, juggling several classes along with her filming schedule. When finals came along, Hulu agreed to give her time off so she could take the exams. When she arrived at her Entertainment Law class, however, something unexpected happened. "My professor goes, 'What are you doing here?' I'm like, 'What do you mean, I'm here to take my final,' and he goes 'No, you're not," she told Barrymore.

It turned out that her fellow students were unhappy that she could miss so many classes and still take the final exams. Objections were made and she wasn't allowed to take it. Sweeney told Barrymore that she made the Dean's List every semester for two years — she wasn't working any less than her peers, she was simply handling her classes along with her other work responsibilities. Since she couldn't take the finals, she never got credit for the course. She jokingly told Barrymore that perhaps she'll end up going to law school. We bet she'll ace that too.

She got cast in Euphoria

Sydney Sweeney is known for playing dark characters. Her character Cassie in "Euphoria" is no different. When asked by Variety if she prefers roles that are a little darker, Sweeney revealed that that's not necessarily what she looks for. For her, it's all about taking on a part that's challenging and requires her to do a little digging. "I like playing characters that are complex and have multiple layers," she explained. "And people wonder if they're evil or good, and pure or not. I like playing characters that make people think and make me think." Cassie definitely ticks all the boxes.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Sweeney revealed that she loves Cassie, but that the choices she makes sometimes scare her because she doesn't think them through. What Cassie really wants, according to Sweeney, is simply to be loved, but she doesn't realize that she needs to love herself first.

Filming "Euphoria" is intense, and Sweeney prefers to jump in and out of her character instead of embodying her all day long. "It's a very healthy method for me, because if I had to stay in that mindset before [scenes], I don't think I'd be able to go home as Syd in the healthy way," she explained.

She's worked with Machine Gun Kelley multiple times

Sydney Sweeney first became acquainted with Machine Gun Kelly when she worked with him in 2018 on the film, "Big Time Adolescence." In an interview for Buzzfeed, she told the rapper that shortly after she arrived on set the first time, she first discovered him and his buddy Pete Davidson dancing on top of the trailers. They also tattooed each other at one point. "I'm like, okay, this is the coolest set that I've ever been on," Sweeney said in the interview. 

She collaborated with MGK once again for his directorial debut, "Downfalls High." The 49-minute musical film shows Sweeney starring opposite Chase Hudson, a well-known TikTok star, living through the challenges of high school, per Billboard. The film was shot over the course of four days. MGK told NME that "it was almost like shooting 14 music videos back-to-back." Sweeney told MGK in the interview for Buzzfeed that "you really brought your vision to life and guided everyone the way that you wanted." 

Sydney Sweeney loves surpassing people's expectations

Sydney Sweeney doesn't mind it when people underestimate her. It simply gives her a reason to surprise them later. In an interview with GQ, Sweeney revealed she had to deal with plenty of people in the acting business who basically told her that she wouldn't make it. "A casting director told me once that I will never be on a TV show," she said. According to the director, she was lacking the right looks. Today, Sweeney loves that she could prove that person wrong, adding, "Now, I'm on some of the biggest TV shows in the world."

Her determination to prove that she can conquer any challenge is likely the reason she takes on tough roles. "I love something that feels like a challenge," she told Cosmopolitan, adding that the harder it seems, the more she loves diving into it headfirst. "I want to continue to shock people with the characters that I play when they don't expect that I would choose that next," she told Variety.

She started her own production company in 2020

Sydney Sweeney clearly loves juggling multiple projects at a time. In 2020, she started her own production company, Fifty-Fifty, with the goal to adapt books by first-time female authors. As we all know by now, Sweeney tends to smash her goals, and Fifty-Fifty's first project, "The Player's Table" (which will be streaming on HBO Max, by the way) was adapted from Jessica Goodman's novel "They Wish They Were Us."

In March 2022, Sweeney told Teen Vogue that she wants to use her company to help other women get their work seen. Basically, she wants to make their dreams come true by putting their work on screen so people can appreciate it. She's not solely interested in authors — she'd love to collaborate with other up-and-coming creators who dream of becoming directors and screenwriters. "Being able to make a dream of theirs that they didn't think was possible for years and years happen, is amazing — to never put a limit to what their capabilities are because they're female, or their age, or their background," she told the magazine.

Sweeney developed a passion for fixing old cars

We've come to the conclusion that there is absolutely nothing that Sydney Sweeney can't do, and that includes fixing up vintage cars. Yup, Sweeney can add "part-time mechanic" to her résumé if she so wishes.

She started sharing her mechanic shenanigans with fans on TikTok in 2021 after she bought a 1969 Ford Bronco at an auction, Sweeney told GQ. "I changed over the transmission, and I fixed up the front and rear axle from drum brakes to disc brake. I made it power steering," Sweeney explained. If none of that made sense, find comfort in the fact that Sweeney started out knowing basically nothing. Her best friend's dad taught her everything she knows, she told Harper's Bazaar. Now, she continues to learn while fixing up more vintage cars. The next one on her list is a baby blue 1967 Ford Mustang, which she decided to name Britney.

Sweeney also hopes that sharing this journey online will encourage other women to take on similar projects. "It's time for women to stop being afraid of putting themselves in a male-dominated environment," she told Harper's Bazaar.

She's set to star in Marvel's new film Madame Web

Sydney Sweeney is about to embark on yet another exciting adventure: She's starring in Marvel's upcoming movie "Madame Web." Though it has not yet been announced what character she will play, Variety reported that she'll be surrounded by a star-studded cast, including Dakota Johnson in the lead role.

As always, Sweeney is hard at work preparing for the film. She told Variety that she's already started reading the comic books. The fact that she's a fan of the Marvel universe definitely helps, and she seems incredibly excited to become a part of the legion of heroes (and villains) associated with the franchise. "There's a lot to learn," she told Variety. "[B]eing able to be a part of that is such an incredible, incredible thing." Now we're just waiting to see if she'll be cast as one of the good or bad guys. Given her previous roles, we're leaning toward the latter. But then again, the skilled actress is full of surprises.