Although it was her performance in Euphoria which should have been getting all of the attention, something else about Sydney Sweeney has been non-stop talked about since the series aired.
The gritty and dark plot-lines in HBO’s Euphoria centre around addiction, abuse and sexuality. This alone has shocked some viewers and sparked wild engagement on social media channels with some major newspapers branding Euphoria as the most provocative teen show ever.
One issue that always has people talking is nudity; it will never stop hordes of keyboard warriors form debating over the wrongs and rights of on-screen flesh.
But are we now reaching a point – with channels such as HBO tackling nudity head on – where on-screen nudity is no longer provocative but liberating and empowering?
Sydney Sweeney, who plays Cassie Howard, is of the mindset that her nudity in the show – which involves some pretty unavoidable, full-frontal boob shots which would make any young actress nervous – actually helped her feel more empowered in herself.
HBO and nudity
HBO has never shied away from nudity on screen. However, the nudity we see is largely from females – although Euphoria is pushing these boundaries with touches of male skin – thanks to shows such as Sex and the City, Game of Thrones and Girls.
Girls creator and star Lena Dunham once said that stripping off on camera was a non-issue for:
“I didn’t do anything brave; I feel totally cool about being naked.”
However, there are those who are not so keen on the idea of baring all to the world, which is why Game of Thrones star Lena Heady had a body double for her infamous season 5 walk of shame.
Nevertheless, things seem to be changing with the influence of HBO and younger, bolder actors, perhaps with different views on the role and influence of nudity in modern society.
Sydney Sweeney and Euphoria
Euphoria’s creator, Sam Levinson, wanted the show to be as authentic, real and hard-hitting as possible. This meant a lot of young actors on screen naked while also engaging in sexual activity, drugs and alcohol.
Principal actors Sydney Sweeney, Hunter Schafer, Alexa Demie and Algee Smith all stripped down where scene were appropriate for them to be naked. And Levinson even hired an intimacy coordinator – Amanda Blumenthal – to be on set, ensuring the cast all felt comfortable.
In an interview with MTV, Sydney said:
“I sat back and was like ‘If I was a 17-year-old girl and I was having sex with my boyfriend I would get naked’ and it’s a real scene.
It’s not sugar-coated, it’s not glamorized, it’s not covered up and that’s what the show is, it’s real. And I really wanted to bring justice to that realness.”
Boob power: Sydney’s on-screen empowerment
In another interview, Sydney admitted that she was cautious of signing up to the project because she would have to be filmed both nude and in compromising sexual positions.
The 21-year-old had never been involved in such a sexually proactive project but said that Euphoria never “glamorized” her nudity in the outdated sense of male objectification.
And what surprised Sydney the most after shooting these difficult scenes was that it broke her out of a self-conscious shell.
“After filming those scenes in some way I was empowered. I feel like nobody can judge me. I put myself out there and I feel the most confident as me.”