White Lotus's Sydney Sweeney Reveals Olivia Mossbacher's Privileged Backstory

In an exclusive interview, Sydney Sweeney explains why her White Lotus character Olivia fought with her brother, mother and just about everyone else at the hotel.

By Cydney Contreras Aug 17, 2021 11:14 PMTags
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A lot happened in the finale of Mike White's HBO series The White Lotus

Armond (Murray Bartlett) left the hotel in a casket, Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge) seemingly found love and Quinn Mossbacher (Fred Hechinger) ran away to fulfill his dream of traveling the world in a canoe. It was an unexpected ending, to say the least.

And while viewers weren't able to see the reactions of Olivia (Sydney Sweeney), Nicole (Connie Britton) and Mark Mossbacher (Steve Zahn), Sydney exclusively tells E! News that Olivia is probably overjoyed by the turn of events.

"I think he's living his best life and Olivia finally got rid of her little brother," she says with a laugh, explaining that Olivia would be "proud" of Quinn for taking a risk.

She probably also "feels victorious because she won once again," adds the actress.

It certainly makes it easier to decide who gets the couch in the living room versus the kitchenette.

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At the heart of this sibling rivalry is Olivia's ongoing desire to meet her parent's expectations, Sydney explains.

As the Euphoria actress has previously shared, she creates an entire timeline for her character's. "I go so in depth in the backstory that it's not like one event that creates the person," she says. "So, I literally have from the day Olivia was born until the first page of the script and many, many pages of memories and things and time lines that create and shape and mold her to be who she is."

Mario Perez/HBO

Unsurprisingly, those life-changing events have a lot to do with her affluent upbringing, particularly since her mother is the breadwinner of the Mossbacher clan. As Sydney delved deeper into her character, she realized, "Olivia's mom definitely has shaped and is shaping her to be who she is. I think that her entire life she's had to live in the shadow of her mother as a strong, independent businesswoman who thinks that she is fully aware of the entire world, when really they're in a bubble." 

Hence the reason for Olivia's snarky behavior and so-called self-awareness. "Olivia was trying so hard to not be a part of that her entire life," the actress reasons. "And so I think a lot of her actions, especially in high school, were acting out against her mom's perfection, which creates the monster she is now."

Mario Perez/HBO

This also plays into Olivia's friendship with Paula, which is contentious, at best.

In Sydney's eyes, Olivia wants to be Paula, explaining how the elder Mossbacher sibling viewed her friend as the "independent well-rounded person," she should be. But as Paula asserted that same independence throughout the show, Olivia began to feel like "she was losing control over Paula."

"There definitely is a love that Olivia has for Paula, I think that it just came across in a possessive, controlling kind of way of," she explains. "Olivia [thinks she] should be getting anything and everything Paula gets, i.e. guys, crushes, anything like that."

And though Olivia has her faults, the Voyeurs actress can't fault her for it. Sydney put it plainly: "She's a bitch but she's also just so herself and confident on the outside that you're like, 'Man, I wish I was like her.'"

The White Lotus, which was renewed for a second season, is streaming now on HBO Max.

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