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Tuesday,  April 23 , 2024

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News / Life / Entertainment

Ford Motor Co. is revved up about Sydney Sweeney

Automaker and actress each find a perfect fit in partnership

By Adam Graham, The Detroit News
Published: April 1, 2024, 5:55am

Just call her Mustang Sydney.

Sydney Sweeney, the bombshell 26-year-old actress who is fast becoming one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars, has completed her latest collaboration with Ford Motor Co. In partnership with the Dearborn, Mich., automaker, Sweeney designed a custom Mustang GT that was given away to a fan as part of a contest that launched in late January. The winner will see her vehicle, which is painted in a robin’s egg-blue exterior, for the first time at this week’s New York International Auto Show.

For Sweeney — the two-time Emmy nominee who stars on HBO’s “Euphoria” and helped push December’s “Anyone But You” to a worldwide box office gross of more than $200 million, making it the highest-grossing R-rated romantic comedy in more than a decade — the business arrangement with Ford is more than just another brand in her portfolio of endorsements, which also includes deals with Armani, Kerastase hair care products, Bai flavored water and Laneige cosmetics. Sweeney is a noted car enthusiast who loves getting under the hood of vehicles and who restores cars in her downtime away from filming.

“This partnership with Ford has been a dream come true!” Sweeney said this week in a statement to The Detroit News. “When I’m spending long days on set, it’s so grounding to just go to the shop after work and work on my latest car project. I love working on my own cars, and I hope that I inspire more girls to try things that (they) may have been told aren’t meant for them. Seeing a company like Ford step up and empower women is really meaningful.”

For Ford, the partnership — which included the March 2023 launch of a “Syd’s Garage” workwear line that included overalls, work pants, a bandana and a corduroy baseball cap, all of which quickly sold out from Ford’s online store — forms a bond with one of Gen Z’s hottest stars and gives it access to her fanbase, which isn’t necessarily already part of Ford’s customer base.

“You’re helping us turn the company into a more relevant company for lots of people,” Ford CEO Jim Farley told Sweeney on an episode of his “Drive” podcast last month.

Ford got wind of Sweeney’s enthusiasm for cars, and Fords in particular, when she restored a 1969 Bronco during the pandemic and posted videos of her progress on TikTok.

Ford reps reached out to Sweeney to gauge her interest in working together, “and the more we talked to her, the more we realized how deep her connection with the brand was,” said Erica Martin, marketing communications manager at Ford.

Sweeney grew up in a family of mechanics, and she learned how to drive in her grandfather’s Ford F-100. “She was super, super game and interested,” Martin said.

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She worked on the Bronco at the Los Angeles garage of Emory Motorsports, owned by Rod Emory, who has known Sweeney since she was 9 years old. (She was a classmate of his son Zayne and is good friends with his daughter Jayde.)

Emory cleared a space in his shop for Sweeney and her vintage red Bronco. She worked on the truck for the next year-plus, swapping out the brakes, refitting it from a manual to an automatic, changing out the hood latch, repainting the grill and installing chrome bumpers.

“She would come in every couple of weeks and work on it for a few days,” Emory said. “The car thing is kind of an escape for her: She knows she can come here to the workshop and she can just be herself and she can check out from all the noise out there.”

Sweeney grew up in Spokane and Northern Idaho and scored her first acting role when she was 12. She appeared on episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” in her teens and early 20s, but her breakthrough came in 2019 when she was cast on HBO’s “Euphoria” as the sweet and erratic Cassie Howard. That rocketed her to fame and garnered her a substantial young, online fanbase.

She followed it with roles on the first season of “The White Lotus” — in 2022 she was a double Emmy nominee for “White Lotus” and “Euphoria” — and last year’s “Reality.” December’s “Anyone But You” became a surprise box office hit after its pre-Christmas release.

Sweeney has built an audience of 19.2 million Instagram followers, and her Syd’s Garage TikTok, which she uses to track her car builds, has 1.7 million followers.

The Ford deal allows the car company to tap into Sweeney’s base, Ford’s Martin said.

“I could not be more pleased with the campaign,” Martin said, “and Sydney’s been an amazing partner.”

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