Sydney Sweeney on her Emmy nominations for “Euphoria” and “White Lotus.”

This season’s breakout star speaks to IndieWire about the decade of work that earned her two Emmy nominations this year and what’s next.

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Two-time nominee Sydney Sweeney had no idea which of her “Euphoria” scenes she wanted to play at the Emmys after announcing her name in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category, but for her “The White Lotus” – Clip she joked , “I always love the ‘Well maybe grandpa was a power bottom’ line.”

Hopping for a Zoom with IndieWire, the cheerful actress revealed that in the video, which she tearfully shared of herself celebrating Emmy nominations during a phone call with her mum that morning, she didn’t really know she was the one, either Edited for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie alongside four of her The White Lotus co-stars. “My mother only knew ‘Euphoria,'” Sweeney recalls. “And then I took another call and they were like ‘Double nominated.’ I thought, ‘Double nomination, what do you mean?’ And I checked. I thought, ‘Oh my god. That’s crazy.'”

This recognition marks a turning point in the career of 24-year-old Sweeney, after she showed a new, steelier side as the sly sophomore Olivia in The White Lotus and honed her role as amorous Cassie in the work of a tragi-comic genius in season one 2 of “Euphoria” offers her more possibilities than she could ever have dreamed of – and she had dreamed a lot.

“I’m still in the ‘Is this happening? Is that real?’ Phase,” Sweeney admitted, reflecting on how her name now sits alongside veteran actors like Patricia Arquette and Christina Ricci and whether or not she now sees them as her own. “I don’t think that will ever happen to me because I’m still amazed by the stars and can’t believe this life is real because I’ve dreamed for years and worked so hard hoping to be able to have it just one line in a scene with someone like that. To be able to be in a category where I’m nominated among my incredible actresses of dreams, I will still be struck by the stars.”

One of the stories the young star often tells is how, from humble beginnings in Spokane, Washington, Sweeney persuaded her parents via PowerPoint to move to Los Angeles as a teenager and make a big bet on her acting career. While her professional development didn’t quite follow the five-year plan she set out for her, she was eventually able to work her way up from B-movie horror to guest spots on Grey’s Anatomy and Pretty Little Liars. to poignant twists and turns in the acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale and Sharp Objects.

Euphoria Season 2 Episode 8 Sydney Sweeney

Sydney Sweeney in “Euphoria”

Eddie Chen / HBO

Booking Cassie for the lively “Euphoria,” directed by writer-director Sam Levinson, cemented her status as one of HBO’s Most Valuable Players, a reward she had long wanted to receive. “It’s always important to put out into the world what you want to bring back to you, but I also believe that manifestation doesn’t have a result unless you put in the hard work as well,” the actress said, looking back at Praxis, her career sketch and even flesh out their characters’ backstories with detailed journals. “So it’s a mixture of wanting things but also working very, very, very hard to get them.”

It was only through the relationship she had built with the network that Sweeney was able to play Olivia on Mike White’s Hawaiian resort satire between seasons 1 and 2 of “Euphoria,” most of the time you can’t be one series regular for another. But because it was both HBO and [“The White Lotus”] Since it was a limited series, it was easier for me to get the okay on it,” the actress shared.

Although Sweeney clarified, “I’ve taped myself to every single HBO show I’ve done and had callbacks, and I’ve started from the same starting point on all of them, so I don’t really think so [my previous work for HBO] changed to get the okay,” she now feels, “I have great relationships with everyone at HBO. That’s why I’m so excited for the HBO Emmys After Party because I just want to hang out with everyone there.” Sweeney elaborated that “HBO is such a beautiful home for filmmakers, too. I really see them supporting and collaborating with filmmakers on a whole different level. And I’m really lucky to be in a place and a home that supports that.”

Reflecting on her work there with creators like Levinson, White and the late Sharp Objects producer/director Jean-Marc Vallée, she remarked, “I’m always looking for projects where the character excites me, the character challenges me , The story excites me and of course the filmmaker because I have been very, very fortunate and grateful for the opportunities to work with such talented filmmakers and it changes the outcome and reception of a project.”

The White Lotus HBO Sydney Sweeney Brittany O'Grady

Sydney Sweeney and Brittany O’Grady in The White Lotus

Mario Perez/HBO

After becoming an actress this year who not only appears in Emmy-nominated shows but is an Emmy nominee herself, Sweeney said, “I definitely feel like now I have an opportunity to sit back and really express myself concentrate and think about what roles I want to play next, which is completely new territory for me.”

“For 10 years, I took whatever I couldn’t get my hands on there because I was just so hungry for work,” she said. “And to be able to be in the position that I’m in now, where I can say no, is terrifying. I get so scared. I don’t like to say no… I write letters to people saying, ‘I’m so sorry to say no’ because I don’t like being that person.” Her goal now is , “making sure I choose characters that will surprise audiences”.

However, the actress revealed that she still feels very new in her current industry status. “I’m still learning about all the different aspects and parts of this industry that come with it,” Sweeney said. “So it opened my eyes and doors to so many other avenues to take, but I’m still learning all about it.”

While that includes things like brand deals, the influence of “Euphoria” on fashion and beauty, which leads to her landing campaigns for luxury brands like Tory Burch and Miu Miu, Sweeney still has entertainment as her top priority. “I’ve always wanted to do more than just act, so I started a production company in hopes that I could produce and create content for other people and not just myself,” the actress, who had already sold one show, told HBO Max titled The Players Table. With her company Fifty-Fifty Films, she wants to “particularly bring out new female voices, writers and filmmakers who may not have been noticed before,” she explained.

Sweeney understands she’s a Hollywood player now, but confessed, “Anytime I’m asked, ‘What’s your advice?’ I say, ‘I still need advice. I’m 24. I’m still trying to absorb as much as possible and hopefully one day I can have these incredible quotes for people to get inspired by.”

Though she didn’t start her acting journey with a quest to win an Emmy — “I don’t even think when I started acting I knew there were awards for that,” the actress joked — Sweeney told TV of the recognition -Academy “feels incredible because I’ve worked for a very, very long time to just be able to act and be able to have characters that mean so much to people and be on shows that are just absolutely amazing.”

“I don’t think it’ll feel real until I actually get to the Emmys,” the TV season breakout star noted. “And it’s actually my birthday too, so it’s going to be a great day all round no matter what.”

To keep up with IndieWire’s coverage during Phase 2 of the Emmy Season, click here to sign up for our Awards Season and TV email newsletters and breaking news alerts. Sydney Sweeney on her Emmy nominations for “Euphoria” and “White Lotus.”

Lindsay Lowe

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