Sydney Sweeney has been trending on Twitter almost every week thanks to her breakout role in "Euphoria," HBO's gritty teen drama that follows a group of high school students in California.
The 24-year-old actress plays Cassie Howard, a popular cheerleader who's looking for love and validation in everyone except herself – a quest that often lands her in hot water, like the time she (spoiler alert) started sneaking around with her best friend's ex-boyfriend.
Although Sweeney is now becoming a household name, she's been working in Hollywood for over a decade. When she was 12, she drafted a five-year career plan and presented it to her parents in a PowerPoint to convince them to let her work as an actress, according to a recent interview with British GQ.
"It said something along the lines of: if she auditioned for X short film, she'd be recruited by agents Y and Z, and then she'd booked this film where she'll meet this well-connected producer, and so on," reporter Iana Murray notes.
Her family spent the next few years traveling between Sweeney's hometown of Spokane, Washington and Los Angeles for auditions. She had booked small roles in "Grey's Anatomy," "Criminal Minds" and other TV shows, but it wasn't the kind of Emmy-winning work she had hoped for as a pre-teen.
Meanwhile, Sweeney was dealing with heartache in her personal life: The Sweeneys lost their house in Spokane due to money troubles and her parents got divorced.
Five years passed quickly – and Sweeney recalls the exact moment she realized her career hadn't panned out the way she planned it, on the morning of her 18th birthday.
"I always thought that when I turned 18, I'd have made enough money to buy my parent's old house back," she told British GQ. "And somehow by buying that house back, it would have [brought] my parents back together."
A few months later, however, her years of hard work and meticulous planning paid off. First she booked "Sharp Objects" acting alongside Amy Adams, and then the '90s comedy "Everything Sucks!"
She landed her role in "Euphoria" off a single audition tape. It's not her only recent project with HBO, either: This past summer, Sweeney starred in "White Lotus," a satirical drama about the guests at a high-end tropical resort.
Sweeney once told Influencer Intelligence that in another life, she would be an architect, lawyer or pro athlete ("in any type of sport"). But it's clear that her original dream job – actress – is working out just fine.
Much of Sweeney's success can be credited to her self-determination: In addition to acting, British GQ reports that she's also studying entertainment law at business school and running her own production company, among other projects.
"I've experienced the way that I don't want to live, and I don't want my future children to have to go through the same struggles, or see me stress in the same way that my parents did," she told the magazine. "Nor do I want to see my family have to stress the way that we used to."
She continues: "I definitely try to control as much as possible, and then have everything put together to stay secure. I want to show younger generations that you can do anything, even if you don't have the means or the connections."