The Internet demands to know: did Sydney Sweeney fabricate parts of her inspiring backstory?
Let’s rewind. In November, the 26-year-old actress and budding producer graced the cover of Women’s Health to promote a starring role opposite Glen Powell in the romantic comedy Anyone But You. Writer Lindsay Geller recapped Sweeney’s humble beginnings as a teenager who made extra cash by babysitting, cleaning restaurant bathrooms and leading tours at Universal Studios to help her family pay the bills while she was trying to make it in Hollywood. “I watched my parents lose a lot. We filed for bankruptcy, and they lost their house back home on the lake,” she said. “We couldn’t afford life in L.A.”
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A fledgling actress punching a time card on the Universal Studios backlot is the type of celebrity factoid — stars are just like us! — that travels far and wide on today’s worldwide web, especially considering the meteoric rise the two-time Emmy nominee has had since breaking out in a big way on Sam Levinson’s Euphoria and on the first season of Mike White’s The White Lotus. When news of her Universal gig made its way to TikTok, a handful of creators not-so-politely called Sweeney out with some claiming to have inside intel thanks to Universal Studios tenures on their own resumes. Therefore, they know who has or has not worked on the lot pointing out Jaws and King-Kong on the “World Famous Tour.”
“It’s not true, she’s lying,” claimed Taylor Hancock, who posted a clip that details his “many years” of leading tours himself on the classic tour as well as a VIP guide on the backlot. Hancock added that Sweeney’s subsequent and more recent interviews on viral interview show Hot Ones and The Kelly Clarkson Show added fuel to the fire because he claims that she appeared cagey or uncomfortable, quickly changing the subject to avoid diving deeper into her employment history. “No hate to her, I don’t know why she’s choosing to fib about this. But seeing Sydney Sweeney dance around this and never give a straight answer is kinda crazy considering she’s the one that volunteered that information, that verifiably false information.”
His initial clip — one of several that have been shared on TikTok in recent days from those apparently in the know — has been viewed north of 1.5 million times. Hancock goes on to say that becoming a tour guide is “notoriously difficult” with “multiple rounds of auditions just to join a class to study the information to possibly get the job. It’s not just a summer job that any teenager can get.”
The Hollywood Reporter investigated it, too, and found that Sweeney is, in fact, telling the truth. It’s just that her tenure at Universal was short-lived and she left before having a big impact on the tour circuit. Sweeney was hired by Universal Studios Hollywood on June 12, 2016, after which she attended an orientation shift followed by a training shift. However, she exited the job on July 18, 2016, when she booked an acting job. Her resume backs it up as Sweeney has 11 credits on her resume from 2016-2017, including Cassidy Way, Angels in Stardust, The Horde, Manic, Pretty Little Liars, and In the Vault, among others.
To be fair, she’d been trying to break into the business ever since she was a pre-teen, snagging parts here and there as her family struggled to make ends meet. Some of her early roles came on 90210 as “girl” on Grey’s Anatomy and playing “female student #1” on The Middle. Things really started to pick up with a 10-episode stint on Everything Sucks! followed by Emmy-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale as Eden Spencer and a run on the critically acclaimed limited series Sharp Objects. Sweeney, who next stars opposite Dakota Johnson in Madame Web, has never been one to be shy about her rags-to-riches backstory, telling The Hollywood Reporter in 2022, that things got so bad during the early days in L.A. that they lived in a motel. “We lived in one room. My mom and I shared a bed and my dad and little brother shared a couch,” she said. “I’m a very open person. I love to talk about everything.”
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