Eric Chakeen
September 28, 2022 6:00 AM EDT

I distinctly remember the first time I saw Sadie Sink. It was on the great show The Americans. Although brief, it was a stunning moment—and a rare one. I wrote her name down in my notebook. I knew this was someone ­extraordinary, someone to watch. So when the planets aligned and she came on to Stranger Things, it felt like a little secret victory. Her Max is full of such exquisite detail; fierce, complicated, and so incredibly strong. At the root of that strength is her absolute willingness to be completely vulnerable.

Sadie is this creative acrobat and she’s on this balance beam that very few have the courage to walk. And she just goes and does it—all with such great focus and poise. As an actor, she knows that we are ultimately in service to the characters and story, that it’s not all about you. She brings that centeredness to the real world, too.

Here’s the epitome of Sadie: the last season of Stranger Things really was Max’s season. At the premiere, which was her big moment, when I hugged her she said, so excited, “My brother graduated law school today!” All these moments that are all about her and she’s thinking about her brother. Of course!

Ryder is an Oscar-nominated Golden Globe–winning actor

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