Sydney Sweeney struggled with people taking her 'seriously' as an actress 'because I took my shirt off'

·3-min read

Sydney Sweeney finally feels that she's getting the recognition that she deserves as an actor after an already impressive resume of acting and producing credits at the age of 24. But she told Cosmopolitan that some of her explicit scenes in the HBO hit series Euphoria seemed to have hindered positive acknowledgment in the industry.

"I don't think as many people took me seriously in Euphoria because I took my shirt off," she told the magazine. "With The White Lotus, all of a sudden, all these people came out of the woodwork like, 'You're the most amazing…' and I’m like, But I went through the craziest emotional roller coaster in Euphoria. So, thanks?"

The star has acknowledged the difficult conversations that have taken place around her nude scenes, recently sharing with The Independent that she's challenged Euphoria creator Sam Levinson when it comes to some of the scenes that she was suggested to be topless in. Still, she's learned to approach risqué scenes with the understanding that she is distinguished from the characters that she plays.

"I’m so disconnected from it. When I get tagged in Cassie's or Pippa from The Voyeurs's nudes, it feels like me looking at their nudes, not Sydney's nudes," she said, explaining that the scenes are "so technical and so not romantic."

The unfortunate reality is, however, that she's been unfairly judged as a young woman who's willing to strip down for her work.

"I researched celebrities who have done nude scenes, trying to make myself feel better. There are hour-long compilations of world-famous male actors with nude scenes who win Oscars and get praised for that work. But the moment a woman does it, it degrades them," she said. "They're not actresses. They just take off their tops so they can get a role. There’s such a double standard and I really hope I can have a little part in changing that."

Video: Behind the scenes of Sydney Sweeney's Cosmo cover shoot

While she seems to bear much of herself on-screen, Sweeney explained that she's set certain boundaries for herself when it comes to what she shares on social media. "I would love to share my normal life so that people can see that it's not all glamour. But I can’t because one, I like my privacy, and two, social media is another platform for business," she said.

But that didn't keep her from having a very real reaction on Instagram Live to negative attention she was receiving on Twitter back in May 2021. "Apparently I am trending on Twitter right now for being ugly," a tearful Sweeney shared with followers. "I think it's really important for people to see how words actually affect people."

And although she didn't intend for it to become so widely covered and shared, Sweeney told Cosmopolitan that it was a particularly difficult day for her when she came across the mean comments.

"I'm reading all these comments saying so much stupid stuff about my appearance. I went on social media and cried. People were like, 'Oh, she’s just looking for attention.' People literally kill themselves over stuff like this. And people just don’t give a f***," she said. "I went on for, like, maybe 12 seconds. I did not think anyone was going to record it. I just needed to let it out. Then it just went everywhere and it became its own beast."

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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