Sydney Sweeney stars as Emaline in the highly-anticipated Netflix series Everything Sucks! The show follows a group of high school misfits as they venture out on a journey of self-discovery while growing up in 1996. Everything Sucks! stars a plethora of incredible young actors just like Sydney, including Jahi Winston, Peyton Kennedy, Rio Mangini, Elijah Stevenson, and more.
Sydney talked to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about diving into the world of a ’90s teen. This show is unlike any teen show you’ve seen before. It’s “raw and real,” Sydney says. She also talks about her exciting upcoming roles in The Handmaid’s Tale and Sharp Objects! Check out our Q&A below!
Tell me about your character in Everything Sucks!
Sydney Sweeney: Emaline is an overdramatic, insecure teenage girl. She’s always the type of girl who will get up on top of the tables to start doing Shakespearean monologues so that she can get people to look her way and get people’s attention. She doesn’t know who she is yet. She always tries to be somebody for somebody else, and she’s trying to grow up and figure life out.
How closely does Emaline relate to you?
Sydney Sweeney: She can relate to me and any teenage girl in general because every girl is trying to figure out who she is as she’s growing up, especially in high school. You don’t know who you’re supposed to be, who your friends are, who you’re supposed to love, who loves you, who are true friends. So I think that everything she goes through and experiences is relatable no matter if you dress like her, if you act like her, and just being a teenage girl in general.
How will Everything Sucks! set itself apart from the teen shows from the past?
Sydney Sweeney: I think this show sets itself apart because it’s very real and raw. There’s no sugar coating on anything. They show teenage life as it actually is. What’s really cool is they cast almost all the kids to play actual freshmen and sophomores. You have actual 14 and 15 year olds playing 14 and 15 year olds. So many times, we’re watching other shows with 30 year olds playing 16 years olds. I remember growing up and saying that I couldn’t wait to be 16 and look like that, and then I turned 16 and I wondered why I didn’t look like that. I think it’s really good to have something truly relatable, and it touches so many different topics and issues in a beautiful way.
You were born in 1997, so you’re technically a ’90s kid. During your research, what’s the craziest thing you learned about the ’90s that you didn’t know?
Sydney Sweeney: I really got into the music. I was listening to it a little before with my dad in the car as he was driving me to school, but I really got into the music and fashion. I only imagined the ’90s as mom jeans and tie-dyed shirts, but there’s so much I didn’t know about. We all really got into music. We were all making ’90s playlists and all singing them together. We all really got into “Wonderwall” and that was the song we would all sing together on the bus when we were hanging out.
What was it like being transported back to an era that didn’t have social media?
Sydney Sweeney: We all got really into photography. We had these old cameras and Polaroids, and we would just learn about photography and the music. The environment that we were in really had a ’90s high school feel. We didn’t have our phones on us, because we couldn’t put them in our pockets when we were filming since the kids wouldn’t have phones in their pockets. We’d always leave them in our trailers or with our moms and just dive into this world without the distraction of technology. We honestly felt like we were filming during a summer camp, because we had such an amazing crew, we were in such an amazing place in Portland. None of us were on our phones that much, and we were just able to grow together as a family and have the time of our lives.
If you could pick any’90s star to guest star on Everything Sucks! who would it be and why?
Sydney Sweeney: Probably Gwen Stefani. Emaline takes a lot from her. It’d be cool if Gwen Stefani was her mom.
You’re also starring in Sharp Objects with Amy Adams. What was it like working with her?
Sydney Sweeney: It was out of this world. She was incredible. She’s an amazing actress. She’s an amazing person. She’s a beautiful mother. We bonded really well on set. I was fortunate to work with her.
I bet it was night and day compared to Everything Sucks!
Sydney Sweeney: It was. It’s funny because I was filming the shows at the same time. During the week, I’d be filming Everything Sucks! and then I’d take a red eye to either LA or Atlanta and would go finish up filming for Sharp Objects. It was night and day since my characters were so completely different. Alice is a very troubled young girl. It was funny bouncing back and forth so quickly.
And then there’s The Handmaid’s Tale! How did you feel stepping onto that set?
Sydney Sweeney: It was intimidating. I was really nervous and excited but everyone is so welcoming on that set. It’s been incredible working with them all. Every day I walk on set and say, “Oh my gosh. I cannot believe I’m here. This is crazy.” I’m very excited for everyone to see season 2.
Everything Sucks! season 1 hits Netflix on Feb. 16.
HollywoodLifers, are you going to see Everything Sucks? Let us know!