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Euphoria's Sydney Sweeney Talks Major Obstacle Her Nude Scenes Have Caused, And What She Wishes She Could Change

Sydney Sweeney on Euphoria
(Image credit: HBO)

Cassie Howard, the character on the HBO teen drama Euphoria played by Sydney Sweeney, has partaken in quite a few sexual escapades in the series’ first two seasons. The show as a whole features sex, drugs and lots of penises in a way that have freaked parents out, but on personal level, as well, Sweeney has spoken openly about how doing nude scenes on Euphoria has had an effect on her career. It turns out it’s not just her career that’s been affected, as the actress recently spoke about another obstacle she's faced when it comes to nude scenes, and one thing she hopes will change.

The actress, who is up for two Primetime Emmy Awards this year for her roles in Euphoria and The White Lotus, spoke to THR about her career and how she is perceived, particularly in regards to the behavior of her character on Sam Levinson’s HBO drama. Sydney Sweeney said while she thrives on the heavy plots Cassie saw in Euphoria Season 2, she wishes people made more of a differentiation between who she is and the character she’s playing. She said:

People forget that I’m playing a character, they think, ‘Oh, she gets naked onscreen, she’s a sex symbol. And I can’t get past that. I have no problems with those scenes, and I won’t stop doing them, but I wish there was an easier way to have an open conversation about what we’re assuming about actors in the industry.

Sydney Sweeney has played a number of different characters in her career over the past decade. Many were introduced to her in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 as Eden, the teenage handmaid who was arranged to marry Nick Blaine. She’s also well-known as Olivia, the spoiled teen daughter of Connie Britton’s Nicole Mossbacher, on the first season of HBO’s The White Lotus. She also played Amy Adams’ hospital roommate Alice in Sharp Objects and had guest appearances on shows including Pretty LIttle Liars and Grey’s Anatomy (she’s one of many actors you might have forgotten appeared on the ABC medical drama).

So while Cassie Howard may be a sex symbol for fans of Euphoria, that doesn’t and shouldn’t define Sydney Sweeney as a person or an actress, and she wishes there was more light shed on what people perceive about "actors in the industry."

In fact, she said she wishes she could change the assumptions made about her based on that character’s actions. The sex and nudity shouldn’t even define Cassie, as the character has had some really well-acted moments, including when she got an abortion at the end of Euphoria Season 1, and the oh-so-memeable hot tub moment in Season 2.

If there’s one group that seems to have mastered the difference between the actress and her character, it’s her grandparents, as Sydney Sweeney recalled their unexpected reaction to her nude scenes at the Season 2 premiere. The actress said she’d been so excited to invite her family to the premiere that she hadn’t considered that they’d see her in all her glory on the huge screen. In the end, they just praised her for having “the best tits in Hollywood.” 

We’ve still got some time before Euphoria returns to HBO for Season 3. In the meantime you can catch up on the first two seasons with an HBO Max subscription, and check out the other best shows HBO Max has to offer.

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.