Shygirls Claudia, Lets Know Her Film Debut, SXSW, And More: Claudia Sulewski has appeared on numerous red carpets in the past. With her longtime lover Finneas by her side, Sulewski has been to the Grammys and the Academy Awards. But she’s also been Teen Vogue’s first ever YouTube host, which prompted her to step into the interviewer role on numerous red carpets.
Shygirls Claudia, Lets Know Her Film Debut, SXSW, And More
I Love My Dad, Her Feature Fi0lm Debut
Adults put their trust in an 18-year-old Sulewski to handle their microphone and camera equipment, he recalls. Let’s get you on this carpet, and then let’s see what happens.” In the days leading up to the SXSW release of her film debut, I Love My Dad, Sulewski, now 26, is reminiscing this over Zoom from her home in Los Angeles.
Acting was always an ambition for Sulewski, who rose to stardom as a kid thanks to her hugely successful YouTube channel, which now has more than 2.4 million subscribers. When she asks, “Do you remember A Walk to Remember with Mandy Moore?”
She played a delicate yet strong-willed role, and I was like, ‘I want to do that. ‘” She was an introverted youngster before YouTube gave her an opportunity to fulfill her need for a creative outlet.
While also learning the ins and outs of filmmaking, acting as her own director, editor, makeup artist, lighting designer, and many other roles in the production process as well. When she was 18, and had made a name for herself on YouTube, she moved to Los Angeles to fulfill a lifelong desire.
Determination Was Her New Mantra |Shygirls Claudia
Sulewski understood she had to work hard. She landed a role on the cult beloved Hulu series T@gged, where she learned the ins and outs of a set for the first time.
Her memory: “I had no notion how it worked.” Inquiring about ‘What are grips?’ I acquired information from everyone around me. ‘What do they?’ She was more determined than ever to make her dream come true.
“I signed with UTA shortly after, and I think I really wanted to make sure I did everything correctly from that point on,” she adds. “I joined a group class, did scene work, and hired a coach. Also, I wanted to be sure I knew what I was doing.”
Then the waiting. Sulewski was unfazed. “You work hard to audition,” she says. “Celebrate when you receive a role.” I Love My Dad, a comedy written and directed by James Morosini, starred Patton Oswalt as Sulewski.
In the film, an estranged father reconnects with his adult son by catfishing him (if that sounds too weird, it is based on Morosini’s real-life experience). Sulewski plays Becca, a local waitress who Oswalt bases his online vision of the perfect girl for his son.
The Father-Son Emotional Rollercoaster
Sulewski plays both the imagined ‘perfect’ girl and a genuine, charming but jaded stranger in this absurdist comedy. I imagined Becca as a mystery, she adds. ”I really wanted to portray this passion and obsession with Franklin [played by Morosini] in the way that I look at him because she wouldn’t exist without him,” she said.
It was a plan on ‘here is this female who didn’t exist before but now does’. However, our waitress, Becca, seems uninterested and unaware of the emotional rollercoaster that this father and son are experiencing.”
The film was shot over six weeks in Syracuse, New York, last winter. It was everything Sulewski wished for. “I know this is cliché, but it felt like camp,” she says. “The family dynamic has been the most rewarding thing for me because everything on YouTube is done independently.
“Working with a team where everyone has the same aim is amazing,” she says. “Social media, and entertainment in general, is so all over the place, always thinking about what’s next, what to post, and what to shoot. It was amazing to just focus on I Love My Dad.”
Sulewski, who has built her career on being herself, is excited for audiences to watch her not be herself. “When you look at YouTube and social media, and the photographs are glammed up, it might feel like a persona. I strive to keep my YouTube videos as simple as possible because I believe people respond to honesty, humility, and vulnerability.
That’s What I Think Separates Acting From YouTube
The fact that I’ve always taken that approach is what separates acting from YouTube, if that makes sense. It’ll be interesting to watch how people react to viewing me in a new light. They think they know me so well, so it will be even more fun.”
She’s not against glamor when it’s appropriate, like at the film premiere, where she wore a vintage Fall 2004 John Galliano outfit. “I’m a scrapper,” she says. “I often do my own makeup, plan my outfits, and feel like I always look presentable.
This was the time to go all out.” It’s a far cry from her Teen Vogue days. “I recently came upon a selfie I took with Fifth Harmony,” she recalls. It’s been great to meet so many of the people I interviewed on the red carpet for young Hollywood gatherings.
We can only laugh about it. It’s amazing to look back on my life… Now there are actresses and performers my age who come up to me and say, ‘I grew up watching your videos.’ “It’s surreal.