Sydney N. Sweeney, but you can call me Sydney! I always emphasize the "N," because there's a famous actress who has the same name as me, which is very rude.
What do you do?:
I’m a multihyphenate writer, which is a title I'm making up. Most of my journalistic work and reporting focuses on pop culture as it relates to identity. I write long-form criticism and personal essays for a variety of publications, and I'm also the sex & love editor at a gen-z content platform. Sometimes I write and share poetry, too. Oh, and I do a lot of creative copywriting. And I model—clearly.
Where do you live?:
I live in Glendale at the moment.
Where are you from?:
I always tell people who aren’t from LA proper that I’m from around—around meaning the Inland Empire, and Rancho Cucamonga to be even more specific. It’s a typical suburban city about a half-hour away from Pasadena.
What has been the highlight of your week?:
This week has been pretty uneventful for me, honestly. But as lame and wholesome as it sounds, seeing my boyfriend and watching Love on the Spectrum in bed last night was nice. Until he complained about getting sleepy, per usual. We're both super busy people though—we're both freelance creatives, and we basically never have days off—so any moment we get to spend together I'm really appreciative of.
What’s your dream vacation:
My dream "vacation" looks warm, coastal, and luxuriously lackadaisical; it would definitely be somewhere like Mexico or the Caribbean. But my dream "trip" in general would be jet-setting to a more urban destination. I really want to visit Tokyo, Toronto, and London. I haven't been to Japan or Canada, and the singular instance in which I visited the UK was for a grueling 10-hour layover at Heathrow, which, I know, does not count. I want to go so many places, really—so this one is difficult to answer. I've been to plenty of states but only a few countries outside of the U.S.
Movie you could watch all the time:
Clueless. Aesthetically speaking, that movie looks so much like today's youth culture and image of "hip," which is endlessly fascinating and ironic to me. I also have a soft spot for coming-of-age narratives in general.
Book you’d recommend to almost anyone:
1984 by Orwell. For fans of poetry, Helium by Rudy Francisco.
Favorite restaurants anywhere, or your secret local spots?:
Since COVID started, I’ve really missed eating at Mohawk Bend in Echo Park. Their buffalo cauliflower and happy hour deals are legendary. When I lived in the South Bay, I was super obsessed with this place in Long Beach called Sushi on Fire. They had the best fried rice and really good cut rolls. For a while now I've been into this vegan pulled pork burrito from Lassens' deli, which is actually made from jackfruit. Highly recommend it to everyone, vegan or not!
Place you’ve been, and want to go back:
Jamaica. I went twice as a kid and loved it, but the next time I visit, I would love to experience the real Jamaica, rather than the westernized facade of Jamaica that one experiences when staying at a resort. Don't get me wrong—said resorts are gorgeous and I would return to one in a heartbeat. But who's paying for me?
What makes you feel powerful:
So many things: being a storyteller, a black woman, a creative individual. My sense of personal style; wearing my natural hair, which feels political in itself. Not working a 9 to 5 job. Embracing spirituality.
What are your vices?:
I have a huge sweet tooth and I always forget to refill the Brita pitcher.
How would you describe your style?:
It's quite urban, although I hate using that word as it's so general. I feel like my wardrobe is a representation of my identity and interests; it's pretty feminine and very indebted to '90s and Y2K imagery, and of course black culture, but it's also occasionally informed by skate and punk aesthetics. Unless I'm wearing a sneaker, my shoes must have platformed soles. I also wear the same pair of baggy cargo jeans and oversized hoops almost everyday. I'd like to think I'm the type of person whose clothing manifestly reveals what I'm into—music and pop culture, feminism and my people. I don't mind looking like an it-girl sometimes, as long as I can add an alternative spin to things. Coincidentally, I recently wrote a well-received essay about my personal style, and how I lost a sense of self when I tried dressing like a Reformation and Everlane chick while working in a business-casual environment. I'm not her, though. I'm far too obnoxious and colorful and chaotic. Quarantine reminded me of that, since I haven't had to dress for anyone but myself.
You’re about to leave for a spur of the moment adventure. What are the five things you take with you?:
This is a boring answer, but a truthful one: my phone, its charger, my Airpods, a Larabar, and comfortable shoes.
Speak positively about yourself and the things you want to achieve.
What have you learned during quarantine?:
I've learned that I can make cold brew at home. I just don't want to.