Who is Shannon Purser?
A young and talented actress, Shannon Purser rose to prominence playing Barbara Holland in the popular fantasy horror series “Stranger Things”, which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. Although known for her versatile acting, Shannon Purser made the headlines for one more thing besides her talent – she spoke publicly about her mental breakdown, and about how obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression warped her self-image, and led to suicidal thoughts
More about her struggles, but also her life and career, you’ll find out by reading this article. So, let’s start scrolling.
Early life, family, and education
Born under the zodiac sign of Cancer on 27 June 1997, Shannon will soon celebrate her 26th birthday. A native of Atlanta, Georgia USA, she holds American nationality and comes from a family of English, Welsh, and Irish descent. Raised in her hometown by her parents, whose names she hasn’t shared, however, she once said that her father is an airline pilot, her mother is a flight attendant, and Shannon has a younger sister, whose name is also unknown to the public.
When it comes to Shannon’s early days, she was a shy girl a good student, and her dream of becoming an actress was her long-kept secret. Shannon attended a local high school, and upon matriculating in 2015, worked at a movie theater in her hometown, and subsequently decided to try her hand as an actress.
Concurrently, Shannon continued her education and enrolled at Kennesaw State University, from which she graduated with a BA degree, in 2019.
Shannon made her acting debut as Barb in the 2016 short comedy movie “The Sandelverse”, starring Drew Barrymore, Dan Aykroyd and Judd Apatow.
Later that year, Shannon was cast to play her breakthrough role as Barbara Holland in the series “Stranger Things”. The show chronicles the story of a woman whose son has gone missing, and she, his friends, and the police chief must now battle strange forces to bring him back. The stars of the series are Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder and Finn Wolfhard – it had 294 award nominations and 105 wins including 12 Primetime Emmys.
In the following year, Shannon made her big-screen debut as June Acosta in the horror “Wish Upon” before she landed the role of Ethel Muggs in the series “Riverdale”. From 2017 through 2023, Shannon made an appearance in 19 episodes of this crime-drama, about the mysterious death of one of the popular Blossom twins on the 4th of July which rocked the peaceful town of Riverdale. Shannon co-starred with Camila Mendes, Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse, and the series had 74 award nominations and 37 wins.
Concurrently, Shannon was seen as Annabelle in 10 episodes of the series “Rise” in 2018, and later that year, landed the lead role of Sierra in the romantic comedy “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser”. The plot of the film revolves around a case of mistaken identity that leads to an unplanned love story, when the most popular girl in high school and the worst loser must team up together to win over their crush.
During 2018 and 2019, Shannon voiced the character of Shannon Thunder in the animated series “Final Space”. In the following year, she guest starred in the series’ “Room 104” and “Equal”, followed by her role as a Club Member in the 2021 musical drama “Shadow King”.
Most recently, besides her appearances in “Riverdale”, Shannon was seen as Peg in an episode of the 2022 series “The First Lady”, a biographic drama about America’s First Ladies, Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Michelle Obama.
Her struggles with OCD
In her interview for Teen Vogue, Shannon opened up about how depression and Obsessive-compulsive disorder affect her life. She said that as a teenager, she would ‘put on a good face’ at school but she was feeling hurt inside and couldn’t talk to other people about her feelings. Shannon struggled with suicidal thoughts and when she was 20 years old, decided to tell her mother that she doesn’t want to live anymore.
Fortunately, her mother and family found her a good therapist, who with a combination of therapy and medication helped her feel better. As Shannon put it, her mental problems didn’t disappear, but it become much easier to face them. She added that many people think that OCD is when you hate things being messy, however, this is more complicated. According to the US National Institute of Mental Health, OCD is defined as the condition when a person has uncontrollable, re-occurring thoughts and behaviors that they feel the urge to repeat.
For Shannon, who was raised in a very religious family, even the words ‘I’m sorry’ were hard to say because she would think what if she isn’t really sorry, and that makes her a liar, and lying is a sin, and so on, she decides not to talk. Her thoughts made her believe that she deserves to die.
Now, Shannon says that she’s sorry she didn’t reach for help sooner. She doesn’t need to use any medication now, but she sees her therapist regularly.
Love life, bisexuality, and relationships
Like many celebrities, Shannon has been the subject of various rumors about her romantic life, and also her sexual orientation. In April 2017, Shannon decided to publicly come out as bisexual, and shared her sexual orientation with her Twitter followers.
In her tweet, among other things Shannon said that she just recently come out as bisexual to her family and friends, adding that she’s new to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community and that getting comfortable with her sexuality is a process.
Although she spoke about her sexual orientation, Shannon hasn’t spoken about any man or woman whom she has been with. There have been rumors saying that her boyfriend is actor Noah Centineo, however, they both stated that they are just close friends and colleagues.
As of June 2023, it seems that Shannon is single.
Appearance, weight loss, and net worth
Shannon’s trademarks are her red hair and blue eyes, and another aspect of her appearance that makes her easily identifiable is her weight. Shannon once tweeted about her weight, claiming that ‘fat actors’ face discrimination in Hollywood, and that casting directors avoid hiring people who are overweight. She discussed her struggles with body image and begged others to refrain from making either negative or positive comments about her body.
Shannon is 5ft 9ins (1.75 m) tall and used to weigh around 185lbs (85 kg). As Shannon said, since she was 11, she longed to be skinny. She’s lost roughly 20lbs (10 kg) and while many people have noticed how beautiful she looks now, weighing around 165lbs (70 kg), she tweeted that she doesn’t need approval for her body, and that what matters is what she thinks about her appearance.
If you’ve wondered how rich this young actress is, according to sources as of June 2023, her net worth has been estimated at over $400,000.