Sydney Sweeney Talks Anxiety, TV Salary, and Fear About Becoming a Mom in Hollywood

At 24 years old, Sydney Sweeney is at the height of her Hollywood career, and, to put it candidly, the rush of it all has at many times caused her to feel out of control: “I was losing my shit,” she said.

In a new interview, the Euphoria star spoke openly about the mental health problems she has experienced as a cause of her Gen Z TV star burnout. She told The Hollywood Reporter that in June, she began getting panic attacks so bad she thought she was dying. To escape her busy mind and schedule, she retreated home to the Pacific Northwest for two weeks to spend time with family, go “hiking and skiing and doing what I truly love,” she said. And though it helped her relax at the time, she said, “I still can’t get my mind to shut up, and I don’t sleep.”

Sweeney has been widely praised for her performance on the now cult-classic series, and she’s managed to seduce the entire Internet with her humor, edgy Barbie style, and affinity for fixing vintage cars on her TikTok. Still, she has a lot on her mind. For starters, Sweeney is grappling with the fact that she’s a film star, a fashion muse, and, well, earning (and spending) Hollywood money. The actress grew up in a lower-middle-class family, at one point sharing one room in a motel with her parents and little brother—she and her mom slept together in the bed, while her dad and little brother shared the couch.

When it came to acting, she said she often took “really shitty projects” for little pay, and it wasn’t until she auditioned for Sharp Objects—Marti Noxon’s 2018 HBO miniseries—and landed the role of Alice that things started looking up.

Acting with Amy Adams in the series made her think of another issue that is now at the forefront of Sweeney’s mind: maintaining one’s acting career while becoming a mother.

Sweeney—who is reportedly engaged to restaurateur Jonathan Davino—told THR she wants to hit that milestone, but she’s scared about how it will be taken in the industry. “I want to have a family, I’ve always wanted to be a young mom, and I’m worried about how this industry puts stigmas on young women who have children and looks at them in a different light,” she said. “I was worried that, if I don’t work, there is no money and no support for kids I would have.”

On top of that, Sweeney said she’s still too busy and too underpaid to take a break for motherhood. “If I wanted to take a six-month break, I don’t have income to cover that,” Sweeney said. “They don’t pay actors like they used to, and with streamers, you no longer get residuals. … 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 like that to my business manager. I have to pay my publicist every month, and that’s more than my mortgage.”

Right now, Sweeney’s schedule is packed with engagements—not only film and TV roles, but also with brand collaborations including the new ambassador for Miu Miu and one of the faces of Armani Beauty. “If I just acted, I wouldn’t be able to afford my life in L.A. I take deals because I have to,” Sweeney said.

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