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The untold truth of Sadie Sink

Sadie Sink skated into viewers' hearts in the second season of Stranger Things with her portrayal of Maxine "Mad Max" Mayfield — the fiery-haired, loudmouthed, no-nonsense new girl on the block who keeps beating the boys at their favorite arcade game. And though Max and Eleven were placed in opposition at the outset, season three saw the series' two "girlfriend" characters become close pals, strengthening both their bond and their individual character arcs. In her late teens in real life, Sink is a bit older than Max, but her life is no less full of surprises, new adventures, and blooming friendships. It's worth taking a look behind the scenes and getting to know the young star a bit more, both on the Stranger Things set and off. Chances are, we'll continue to see a lot more of her as she continues with acting — and maybe a few other worthwhile pursuits as well.

Sadie Sink's Broadway roots

Sadie Sink's childhood obsession with the Disney channel film High School Musical led her mother to enroll her and her brother, Mitchell, in drama classes. Not long after, Sink found herself on Broadway, playing the title role in Annie; while on Broadway, she met her future Stranger Things co-star and onscreen boyfriend, Caleb McLaughlin, who was working on The Lion King at the time in the role of a young Simba. These two have a tight bond, as you can see in this adorable video where they "test their friendship," and it's great that they've been able to further that friendship through their work. They're not the only Stranger Things cast members to have had a stint on Broadway, either: Gaten Matarazzo, who plays the adorably geeky Dustin, got his start in Les Miserables as Gavroche.

Sadie Sink's American Odyssey

Though Stranger Things has obviously been Sadie Sink's most widely visible series, she has quite a bit of television acting under her belt — and even some feature film credits. Perhaps her best-known non-Stranger Things role is that of Suzanne Ballard on the tense television drama American Odyssey, which was unfortunately canceled after one season in 2015. Suzanne, who appears in 11 of the 14 episodes, is main character Odelle Ballard's (Anna Friel) daughter. Odelle is a missing (presumed dead) soldier, but Suzanne and her father Ron (Jim True-Frost) are beginning to think that she might actually be alive. Dramas seem to suit Sink, who also played Woody Harrelson's daughter and Brie Larson's sister in The Glass Castle, a film based on a memoir by Jeanette Walls. The film unfortunately met some criticism for being too sanitized an adaptation of its source material, but it undoubtedly helped Sink brush up the acting chops she brought to Stranger Things' second season — which arrived the same year as The Glass Castle.

Sadie Sink and Millie Bobby Brown: IRL BFFLS

Max and El's onscreen friendship in season three of Stranger Things wasn't all acting. Sadie Sink and Millie Bobby Brown are good friends in real life, and it was at Brown's urging that showrunners the Duffer brothers brought their real affection for each other to the screen, eliminating their trope-ridden "there can only be one girl" antagonism from season two. When not performing sick skateboarding tricks or throwing monsters around with government-experiment-induced psychic powers, Sink and Brown can be found posing for silly pictures as "Ketchup and Mustard," performing scenes from Disney's Frozen, and just generally being fun-loving teenage girls. Though Sink admits that it's harder to keep in touch off set, it's clear that these two young ladies share a special bond, and it's refreshing to see that even though they've been thrust into the limelight, they're able to enjoy the things that make being a teenager fun — chiefly hanging with your pals.

Sadie Sink takes it to the runway

Acting isn't the only skill in Sadie Sink's toolkit. Recently she's also taken up modeling, appearing in shoots for Kate Spade and Miu Miu, and even walking the runway for Undercover's Fall 2018 fashion show at Paris Fashion Week. So while Max is a cool tomboy, content to skate around in denim shorts and tube socks, Sink is being dressed in pieces by some of the best designers of the modern age. For a while, she even started wearing certain designer pieces to school, which surely turned some heads. Her favorite piece is a harness by Hiraeth, the vegan fashion line headed by Rooney Mara. She's worn it for press events, but also says that she'll incorporate it into her more everyday outfits of black jeans and white T-shirts. Recently, she even traveled to Venice, Italy, for a shoot, where she unexpectedly happened upon Stranger Things co-star David Harbour.

Sadie Sink's veganism

Sadie Sink doesn't stop her animal rights concerns at modeling vegan fashions for Hiraeth. On the set of The Glass Castle, when she was spending lots of time with Woody Harrelson and his family, she was exposed to their vegan diet. Already a vegetarian (a lifestyle change she adopted sort of on a dare), Sink discovered that she enjoyed being more conscious of where her food was coming from and how she could reduce her personal footprint on the world, both for animals and for the environment. She's aware that many people have aggressive reactions to the thought of veganism, but she isn't interested in being pushy with her dietary choices. She's adopted the practice of being a "chill" vegan, one who advocates for animal rights without shaming or shouting — traits that don't match her laid back personality. The biggest challenge for Sink was her love for chicken and waffles, but it seems she's found a vegan alternative that suits her tastes perfectly.

Sadie Sink keeps it spooky

Sadie Sink has certainly been in her fair share of dramas, but she's also a natural choice for horror. Since the success of Stranger Things, she has been cast as Haley in the 2019 release Eli, as well as an undisclosed role in 2020's Fear Street 2, based on the horror novel series by R.L. Stine. 

While Stranger Things relies heavily on government conspiracies and its Cold War setting, it seems Eli will take a more straightforward haunted institution approach to its story. Not a whole lot is known about Fear Street 2 other that it's part of a trilogy of films that will be released in the same year. R.L. Stine's source material is a more grown-up answer to his Goosebumps series for young readers, focusing on teenagers living in the town of Shadyside who encounter paranormal activity... and a fair number of gruesome and grisly murders. Sink definitely has experience playing a teen embroiled in strange happenings in a retro setting (the books take place when they were written — in the '90s), so it'll be interesting to see how she uses her experience on the Stranger Things set to enhance her performance in this film. And how lucky is she to be able to live the '80s and '90s without having to experience stirrup leggings and dial-up internet firsthand?

Sadie Sink's school equation

Though many of her younger co-stars are continuing with schooling and young teen life as normal, Sadie Sink has understandably found that keeping up with her acting and modeling schedules as well as her studies and SAT prep has left her feeling a bit scattered. To help balance her load a bit, the teen star has taken up online courses, which she can easily arrange to take on her own time when not bustling from place to place working on her career. She says she isn't sure if she'll attend college immediately after graduation. She has a very full life, and she doesn't want to go to college just because it's what's expected, what everyone does. Sink seems to have a good head on her shoulders, and she'll doubtless find her own path, whatever she decides it is.

It's in the family

Sadie Sink isn't the only member of her family who's in on the acting life. As mentioned earlier, her brother Mitchell was also signed up for drama classes as a child. While his sister was singing about her hard-knock life in Annie, Mitchell took up the role of Michael in the Broadway adaptation of the Will Ferrel movie Elf. The following year, 2013, he found himself in the Broadway adaptation of another beloved classic, Roald Dahl's Matilda. Their little sister, Jacey, has also seen some of the limelight, having played a young Max in Stranger Things season two during a flashback that helped to explain the relationship Max has with her older stepbrother Billy. Though neither of her siblings seem to be keeping up with their sister's impressive round of television, film, and modeling jobs, it'll be interesting to see if they step further into the spotlight in the future.

Tweeting is for the birds

Teenagers are often stereotyped as being too attached to their phones, and far too preoccupied with social media. But it seems Sadie Sink doesn't fit this stereotype. Though she has over 500,000 followers on Twitter and close to nine million on Instagram, the star admits that she often forgets to keep track of her social media, even deleting Instagram from her phone when she's not using it. It seems strange that someone whose media appearance is so influential would be so laid back about her social media presence, but perhaps it's for the best. Without the distractions of likes, comments, and retweets, Sadie Sink can focus on her career and each new opportunity as it arises. Still, she's worth a follow, even if only for the adorable on-set photos she takes with her bosom buddy Millie Bobby Brown, and sneak peeks at her latest fashion forays.