Sydney Morgan is a TikTok star, but do you know how she got there? The actress, model, and creator had track and gymnastics aspirations (and was college-bound!), but in her junior year of high school, Sydney was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis which shook up her future plans and changed her purpose in life.
Now, Sydney is testing makeup hacks, creating unique looks, and educating people on the chronic illness that changed her life. We caught up with Sydney to find out more about her career and her advocacy.
Showstopper Magazine Online: You’re a creative with a passion for many different arts, but millions of people know you for your makeup. How did you get started as a makeup artist?
Sydney Morgan: I’ve been drawing and painting my whole life and started volunteering in my community to do face painting on kids at events and realized I liked doing creative face paint and kind of transitioned that onto doing myself and adding glam makeup as well.
SMO: Finding makeup was part of your journey with Ulcerative colitis. Can you tell us a bit about that journey?
Sydney Morgan: While I was sick, I was bedridden most of the time, so watching makeup tutorials and beauty gurus online was something I did a lot that helped distract me and keep me entertained. Art and makeup were also an activity that I could do by myself from home that kind of acted as my therapy and my creative outlet during this hard time.
SMO: For people that don’t know, can you share what ulcerative colitis is and the impact it can have on a person’s day to day?
Sydney Morgan: Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. The symptoms can be very isolating. Fatigue and brain fog were some of the most frustrating for me to deal with along with severe abdominal cramping.
SMO: Having UC also redirected some of your goals, and since graduating last year, you’ve taken a gap year. What have you been up to?
Sydney Morgan: UC definitely redirected my goals. I thought I was going to be running division 1 track and field in college and on my way to becoming a doctor right now. And now I moved to Los Angeles and am pursuing not only social media and makeup but also my acting career.
SMO: And along the way you’ve developed a massive platform and fanbase! A big part of that platform is spreading awareness about Crohn’s disease and UC. How do you incorporate those messages into your content? How does your audience respond?
Sydney Morgan: I take any chance I get to sprinkle some Crohn’s and colitis awareness into my content. I love finding trends that I can incorporate it into. Reading through and responding to comments on those types of videos are my favorite. I love being able to chat with people who are going through similar situations or have friends or family going through it. The response is always overwhelmingly positive. I’m glad my comment section can be a safe space to ask questions and learn.
SMO: You’re also involved with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and local hospitals. What does that work look like?
Sydney Morgan: Since I was diagnosed with UC, I have been active in the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in as many ways as I can. I have created videos to raise awareness that have been shared by the national and my local Western Pennsylvania Crohn’s and Colitis Foundations.
I have my own team, Sydney’s Superheroes, for the annual Take Steps event which benefits the foundation. I volunteered over the summer with Camp Oasis, which is for kids with Crohn’s and UC, and I have attended many other fundraising events. I have also donated to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Child Life Department which gave me so much care and support during my inpatient stays.
SMO: What do you want people to know about invisible disabilities like UC?
Sydney Morgan: What I would like people to know about invisible disabilities like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis is that the people suffering with these conditions may look healthy on the outside but could be in excruciating pain and dealing with terrible symptoms that you do not see. The most important thing is to BE KIND and stay in contact with friends and family suffering with these and other health conditions. So many people are dealing with health issues and other things in their life. The best thing that you can do is to be a friend. Being sick with UC is painful to deal with, and it’s also very isolating. Offer to visit and just hang out with your friend with Crohn’s or UC. Always include them in plans but don’t take it personally if they don’t feel well enough to go. Believe me—they want to be there.
SMO: What are you working on now?/What’s next?
Sydney Morgan: I’ve been really pushing my YouTube channel recently, posting long-form videos weekly and short-form videos daily. And also my acting projects. I will have a few feature films coming out in 2022, so definitely stay on the lookout for that.
Sydney’s journey is only getting started, and we don’t want to miss a moment. For more makeup, skits, and of course, more Sydney(!!!), keep up with her on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube—and keep an eye out for those feature films (we certainly will).