Hollywood loves ingenues, and Who What Wear’s August cover star, 23-year-old Sydney Sweeney, checks all the typical A-list boxes—albeit with a twist.
The beautiful blonde with Bette Davis eyes has captured the spotlight and snared the hearts of viewers on teen-centric hits, including Netflix’s Everything Sucks!, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and HBO’s Sharp Objects and Euphoria. Tripling down on her streak of “not a girl, not yet a woman” roles on HBO, on The White Lotus, Sweeney plays Olivia Mossbacher, the Freud-carrying college sophomore stuck in paradise with her type-A mother, self-absorbed father, technology-obsessed brother, and a slew of other affluent and oblivious guests at The White Lotus Resort in Maui, Hawaii.
The setting is indisputably picturesque, but the story that unfolds over the six-episode miniseries is both tantalizing and tart. It’s not just Sweeney’s entitled character that leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of viewers. (That’s the unifying trait among this elitist cast of misfits.) Her deadpan delivery packs a particular punch. As in previous roles, her acerbic, often pithy one-liners are biting and abrasive. There’s no blood in the water of this summer satire—it’s not like that—but by the end, it’s clear that Sweeney is ready for a bigger boat.
We caught up with Sweeney via Zoom from her Los Angeles apartment a few days after The White Lotus premiered to discuss everything from being trapped in paradise to plotting her next moves as a producer.