A closer look at Sydney Sweeney’s ethnicity and parents

Sydney Sweeney

Sydney Sweeney’s popularity has exploded in the last few years and it continues to grow. However, not many realize that the Euphoria star has been in the acting business for more than a decade with many roles under her belt. Though it may seem like she has materialized her dream from a young age, it wasn’t a smooth ride to the top.

Sweeney has yet to make a public appearance with her family but she has talked fondly about them in various interviews. So, let’s take a closer look at what we know about her parents.

Sydney is of Scottish and Irish descent from her father and mother respectively

Sydney Sweeney and her younger brother Trent

Sydney Bernice Sweeney was born on September 12, 1997, in Spokane, Washington, to Scott Sweeney and Lisa Mudd Sweeney. She has a younger brother named Trent and was born and raised in Spokane. Though she is of American nationality, her father hails from Scotland and her mother from Ireland, which makes her of Scottish-Irish descent.

Scott works in the medical field while Lisa is a lawyer. Though both of her parents are academically inclined, they encouraged Sydney to explore other avenues. She told Coveteur;

“I had a crazy imagination growing up. My parents always wanted me outside, so I had all these imaginary worlds.”

When an indie film, ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction, was holding auditions in her hometown, a 12-year-old Sweeney “begged [her] parents to let [her] audition by putting together a five-year business plan presentation”. She explains;

“My mom is a lawyer, and my dad is in the medical field, so school has always been really important. I’ve always known how to communicate to them through that way.”

Needless to say, her audition was a success and Sweeney got her foot in the door of the acting world. She told StyleCaster that owing to her conservative background, she was initially apprehensive about her role in Euphoria;

“I grew up in a smaller town with my family, who are a little more conservative, and I was like, ‘They’re going to kill me if I do something like this.’ The audition got sent again to me. I read it again, and I was like, ‘This is so incredible. How could I pass an opportunity like this?’ I’ll just really try to explain this to my mom one day. I put myself on tape. I didn’t even go in, and I ended up booking it off the tape.”

Sydney’s parents struggled financially after moving to LA and filed for bankruptcy

Sydney Sweeney

To pursue her career in acting, Sweeney had to frequently go to Los Angeles, accompanied by her mother, to numerous auditions especially during the pilot season.

In light of the constant visits to LA required by Sydney’s acting prospects, her family eventually moved from Spokane to Los Angeles when she was fourteen. However, the move wasn’t all easy because soon after moving to LA, her family ran into financial struggles that ended up in her parents filing for bankruptcy.

She details the incident in an interview with The Unwind;

“I grew up in a family that when we moved to Los Angeles, the prices were so different from where I grew up in Spokane, Washington. And it was really financially hard on my parents to the point that they had to file for bankruptcy when I was a teenager. So, I watched what money can do to families and how it can tear them apart.”

This is a lesson Sweeney still remembers and applies to this day as she has taken business classes alongside acting and also studied entrepreneurship at Lehman Alternative Community School to get a better understanding of finances. She states;

“When you don’t save correctly and you don’t spend your money on important things where it’s supposed to be spent, [I have seen] what the damage can be. So always in my mind, I was like I’m never gonna let that happen to me. And so, I’ve been very conscious of my money and how I spend it and what I do with it and I will hopefully maintain that for the rest of my life.”

Growing up on a tight budget with her family, Sweeney states that she has long realized the value of managing money and that she “still believes, practices and follows” her mom’s “very ingrained in her head” rules about money. She told StyleCaster;

“Ever since I was little, the importance of stretching a budget and being financially responsible was ingrained in me on a daily basis by my parents.” 

Sydney’s mother encouraged her to complete her education and also accompanied her on her first day of shooting at a professional set

Sydney Sweeney

Despite Sweeney’s several acting gigs throughout her teenage ages, she continued her education and graduated high school with straight A grades, and was even named valedictorian.

“I missed a lot of school because of work but I had the grades to keep up school. It taught me how to balance work and homework and life and a social life,” she says in an interview with The Spokesman-Review.

Well, it turns out that her mother, Lisa, played an instrumental part in encouraging her studies. She wanted Sydney to have a good education and was insistent on her finishing high school. Lisa Sweeney told The Spokesman-Review;

“In the last couple months, somebody that we know that went the other route of quitting now wishes that they would have stayed in school.”

Nonetheless, Lisa was very supportive of her acting pursuits and is now a fan of her daughter’s work. Sweeney mentions to StyleCaster that her mother and “all of [her] mom’s friends are huge fans of The Handmaid’s Tale”, where she played the role of Eden.

Moreover, when Sweeney landed a role for an episode of Criminal Minds, Lisa accompanied her daughter on her first day of shooting on a professional set. Sweeney recalls the fond memory to Backstage Magazine;

“The first real project was “Criminal Minds” and I had my mom with me and I think she was more excited than I was because she was such a big fan of all the actors. And I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m on a TV show,” and she goes, “And look who we’re with!” It’s just your dreams coming to life, and you get so giddy and you get to share that excitement with your family.”