The Young Hollywood squad is getting younger. And more connected — in Sadie’s case, connected not to the internet in particularly, but to the world, to solidarity, to what really matters. Growing up and showing off is something in the past: growing up and being larger than life is the motto for this young generation, and the actress from Stranger Things is the perfect example.
Being 17 years old, celebrated this year, means little when you get to see her mind goes beyond her age. Sadie Sink - who has played Maxine Mayfield in season two of Stranger Things and continues to play her for the third chapter - is not your typical American girl that Hollywood has made us perceive over the years. Forget the hype of a Drew Barrymore in 90’s, the typical girly girl that Disney gave us with Britney Spears and Hannah Montana, the way-too-pink glittery pop idols: this new young idols love Nirvana and Pac-Man and they are activists - and no cause is big or small. They are concerned about the planet, the animals, the food, and the passion for the métier that has little or nothing to do with what fame brings. Sink may well be the new archetype of the young actress the world needs.
Born in Texas in 2002, she has three older brothers and a younger sister, and the acting in her life is not a recent achievement, although the Netflix series has brought a renewed recognition to the young woman: she began - untypically for such a paved journey - doing plays, like Annie (2012), and even starred with Helen Mirren in The Audience (2015). Between television and cinema, where she has accumulated appearances to starring roles and co-starring characters - in The Glass Castle (2017) she worked with Woody Harrelson - Sadie has built an enviable CV even for actors twice her age and time in industry. By the way, her schedule confirms it: in a window limited by the interviews and requests she is trying to answer, Vogue flew to New York to photograph her and came back with the words of a young adult who is more than the stereotype they tend to have.
P.S: No, Sadie Sink didn’t know how to skate, although Max is an avid skateboarder - even though Sadie said "yes" when, in the casting, they asked her if she could skate. Why are we telling you this? Believe me, the question will come to your mind during this interview.
This issue's theme is "connected". What does the term mean to you and do you feel it applies to your generation? In what way?
I think you can be connected in the sense that you have a strong online presence, or it can mean the opposite. You can be connected to the world and in touch with your surroundings rather than being glued to your phone all the time. I’d say I’m more connected in the sense that I like to live in the moment and appreciate what’s around me. I feel a little different from the majority of my generation when I say this. Most of my generation enjoys being on social media and so do I, but I feel I’m a little less concerned with my online appearance than the average teenager. Being in the show has pushed me to become more active on social media so I can engage with my fans and utilize my platform, but I’m still hardly ever online.
Are you very active on social media? If you had to delete all apps except one, which one would you keep and why?
I have never been very active on social media. It is important to engage with fans, but I also feel as though some people get too wrapped up in the world of Instagram and Twitter. There are a lot of amazing things about social media, but there is also a very bad side to it. If j could only keep one app, I’d probably keep google maps. I use that the most and I’d say it’s most helpful.
Connected is so much more than being plugged in digitally. It's about connecting with friends and family, but also with world problems, todays issues, subjects you care about, no matter how big or small. What are your causes and the issues that speak most to you?
This is one of the great benefits of social media. People are much more connected and involved with current events all over the world. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a platform that I can hopefully use to inspire others. If I’m going to use social media, might as well support a cause I care about and spread awareness. I love animals and I do my best to support local shelters as well as encouraging fans to go vegetarian or maybe even vegan.
I see you support pet rescue in NY, can you also tell us more about it?
New York Pet Rescue is one of my favorite charities in NY. It is a non profit, volunteer based shelter that works to rescue animals and find them the perfect forever home. It is incredibly important to support small, local charities such as pet rescue. I’m constantly looking at their website at all the animals up for adoption. I wish I could have all of them, but my mom says no more pets.
Speaking of causes and animals, I read you became a vegan, is that correct? How old were you and what made you make that decision?
I was 14 when I became vegan. I was vegetarian before, so it wasn’t too hard of a transition. I was already vegetarian, but I wanted to do as much as I could for the environment and animals.
What are the issues you feel your generation most struggles with? What do you think it's easier, growing up in today's world, and what's harder, comparing, say, with your parents?
I think my generation faces a lot of new and different challenges. With social media, some kids struggle with cyber bullying as well as comparing themselves to others they see online. I also feel the pressure on this generation’s performance in school has increased drastically. I know my parents find some of today’s school work to be a lot more challenging from their high school experience.
You started in the movie/television business really young. Was this something you always wanted?
Acting has always been a passion of mine. It was totally my decision to enter this business. One thing I love about all the kids on Stranger Things is that we are all self driven actors. We all entered this business independently with the support of our families, and were able to find success in this industry because of our passion and drive.
What is it about acting that you like the most?
I love telling stories and becoming someone else for a while. It’s just so fun for me. It can be challenging sometimes, but I love how I learn something everyday on set. I can see myself growing as an actor with every project I work on.
You're on your second season of Stranger Things, and joined the cast when it was already a cult show. How did you feel when you know you were joining? What were you most excited about? What was your exact reaction when you heard the news - did you scream, did you cry?
I didn’t cry, but I was definitely shocked. As soon as I got the call, I knew my life was going to drastically change. It was so exciting though. I think I was most excited about the character. I love Max and I was excited to bring a character like her to life.
And now, looking back, what was unexpected about the show's backstage, what surprised you the most?
Nothing really surprised me, because I had no idea what to expect. I just remember having so much fun those first few days on set. I thought it would be more intense with me being the new girl, but Matt and Ross were so welcoming and treated me just like the other kids.
Stranger Things has a very eighties aesthetic, which is funny because the lead roles on the show weren't even born at the time. Do you feel there's a renewed interest in this kind of "classics", vintage, etc? Do you yourself like these kind of 20th century references - records, polaroids, fashion...? What do you like about it?
The 80’s fashion is very interesting. I like a lot of the trends such as the high waisted pants. I also love all the color. I think the younger generations have such a fascination with the fashion and technology of the past. Polaroid cameras, record players, and vintage clothing is considered cool and trendy now.
Stranger Things is not, at all, your first major role - you've worked already with a number of established names. What did you learn from them that you always take with you on your next roles?
Most people know me for Stranger Things, but I’ve been working since I was seven. I worked with Helen Mirren in my second broadway show, and she was incredible. Not only is she such an amazing actress, but she is also a genuinely kind person. She made that experience so amazing for everyone.
In terms of future projects, what do you see yourself doing, in 10 years time? And is there a particular dream you have for your life (working on a particular movie, or with a particular person, trying out another career...)?
I’d love to do more theatre. I’ve kind of started to miss it! There aren’t any specific projects I’m looking for. I know the right projects will come to me.
There's a lot of actresses that are also models, and singers and of course influencers... do you feel there's a pressure nowadays about people doing more than one thing, because if they don't, it may be perceived as underachievement?
Not at all! I think we should all stick to what we are most passionate about. No one should feel the need to be pursue multiple fields in order to be deemed successful. I think there is a lot of pressure on celebrities to have a strong social media presence, but I know there are a lot of actors who choose not to own accounts on any platform. This doesn’t mean they aren’t using their platform for good though. There are several actors who do so much for different charities and movements without having an online presence.
What kind of movies do you like? And which is your favorite one?
My favorite right now is Booksmart. I’ll watch just about anything, but I’m not a huge fan of horror or action movies.
What is always in your hand - besides your phone?
I actually never really have my phone in my hand. Most of the time it’s out of power or lost. I’d say I always have my water bottle on me though. That or a matcha latte.
Do you like to be recognized on the street and that your fans approach you? Or is it something that bothers you? Do you have any cool story to share?
I don’t mind it anymore. I used to get really anxious when fans approached me. I still do when there are a lot of people around. I’ve gotten more used to it, but I don’t think I get recognized too much. I’m able to go out all the time in the city and ride the subway wherever. New Yorkers don’t really care.
What would you like journalists to ask you and they never do (can be a specific question or a theme they never put on the table, like politics or something like that...)?
I wish more journalists would ask about our lives outside of the show. A lot of them do, but I think sometimes the press forgets all of the kids on the show are still regular teens in many ways. We’ve still got school and a lot of us are starting to think about college. We still deal with the struggles of growing up, but in this case we are growing up in front of the world.
And what do you hate being asked (besides this question)?
I don’t necessarily hate being asked anything, but there is one question that I have to answer constantly which is a little annoying. I am always asked if I knew how to skateboard before the show. It was a good question at first, but once I started getting asked about it in almost every interview, I got a little tired of it. That’s just part of it though!
Full photoshoot, here.
Originally published in Vogue Portugal's July issue.
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