Where have I seen you before?

Explaining Sydney Sweeney’s sudden rise to stardom

Have you ever been watching a show and saw a familiar actor/actress? Then while watching another show, you see them again. As you look up information about the person, you start to notice that they are in a lot more movies and TV shows than you originally thought? This is what happens with most celebrities as they rise to stardom or begin finding their niche while acting. One of the most recent actresses whose appearances have dated back far before we could remember is “Euphoria” actress, Sydney Sweeney. 

When talking about the Sydney Sweeney effect, there are many topics we could peruse; for instance, the persistent issue that most actresses who take their top off go through discrimination or a lack of respect in future roles. In addition, Sweeny has proven to be quite the fashion icon for Gen Z. Her bold fashion choices have single-handedly brought back a wide range of trends that many believe should have stayed in the past. For example, Sweeney arrived at the MTV Movie and TV Awards in a low rise skirt and crop top that has since gone viral on Tik Tok.

However, this time we are discussing her ‘debut,’ which essentially means a person’s first appearance or performance in a particular capacity or role. In this case it is not exactly her debut and more like a rise to fame. As for many people, their first time actually noticing Sweeney was from ‘Euphoria.’ However, Sweeney’s debut dates back to her appearance in a horror film, “Along Came the Devil;” the young actress gained mainstream attention through the Netflix series “Everything Sucks.” When looking back on her career, she is observable in a plethora of series that many people have not realized she had roles in. For example, she portrayed roles like Eden Blaine in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Emma, the kidnapped character in “Stolen From Suburbia,” Willa in “Pretty Little Liars.” Even making small cameos in “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Once Upon A Time in… Hollywood,”  and Disney’s “Kickin’ It.” There are an extensive number of roles that this actress has played but did not receive the proper recognition, such is why her increase in popularity after “Euphoria” may have been justified. 

Nevertheless, to say that this phenomenon only happened to Sydney Sweeney would be false. 

This also falls within the category of Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon a.k.a. the Recency Bias or Frequency Illusion. In other words, a situation where something you recently learned suddenly seems to appear everywhere. Similarly to when you or someone you know gets a new car and then you start to see that car everywhere. Hollywood celebrities go through something similar. 

Another famous example of this is the rise to fame of actor, Noah Centineo, known for his role in “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” and the result after the movie premiered on Netflix. For many it was their first time seeing the actor, but for others they recognized him from  shows such as “Austin and Ally” and “The Fosters.” However, if one were to dive into his acting career they would see he appeared in a lot more than one would expect. 

All in all, many performers experience similar situations. However, many could debate that Sweeney’s success could not be attributed to overnight fame, but her steadily making a name for herself as she grew older. As she began her journey, she appeared in many of the shows we know and love today without even recognizing her. Then finally through “Everything Sucks” and “Euphoria” people gained awareness of her and her acting talent. Which is when the frequency illusion came into play and fans began to feel as if they had seen her everywhere. Thus, her tremendous and arguably prosperous rise to fame.