Brittany Snow Opens Up About Her 'Challenging' But 'Really Great' Year Following Split from Tyler Stanaland (Exclusive)

The actress — who is gearing up to attend her first-ever Oscars and release her directorial debut — finalized her separation from Stanaland in July 2023

<p>Emma McIntyre/Getty</p> Brittany Snow.

Emma McIntyre/Getty

Brittany Snow.

Brittany Snow has spent the past year and a half pouring herself into her work — and she’s just getting started.

Speaking with PEOPLE ahead of the 2024 Oscars — where her short film Red, White and Blue is nominated — Snow, 37, says that since separating from ex-husband Tyler Stanaland, she has been putting her passions first.

“It's been really challenging,” she tells PEOPLE of the past year, adding that it’s also “been really great.”

Related: Brittany Snow on Changing People's Perceptions with Her Oscar-Nominated Short Film About Abortion (Exclusive)

The Hairspray actress continues, “It's been very cool to be so focused and centered on what I like doing. And I do believe in energy, and I think when you open yourself up to new experiences and new people, things just sort of fall into place when you put yourself in the right headspace.”

“It's been nice and I'm just really grateful," she adds.

<p>Nicholas Hunt/Getty</p> Brittany Snow and ex-husband Tyler Stanaland in 2019.

Nicholas Hunt/Getty

Brittany Snow and ex-husband Tyler Stanaland in 2019.

Related: ‘Selling the OC’s’ Tyler Stanaland Is ‘Picking Up the Pieces’ After Divorce from Brittany Snow (Exclusive)

The Pitch Perfect alum — whose divorce from the Selling the OC star was finalized last July — is especially grateful that her personal life feels personal again.

"I mean, my personal life has always been something that I've liked to keep really private,” she says, "and when it wasn't as private, that was a little strange to me."

“And it's really nice to kind of compartmentalize and actually just focus on the work and have that be what my mindset is right now,” she adds. “Not to say that I don't have a life outside of work, which I definitely do, but it is nice that it's not the focal point of what people are talking about.”

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Since announcing her separation from Stanaland, 34, in September 2022, Snow has appeared in R-rated Hallmark parody Christmas with the Campbells with Justin Long, co-starred alongside Nick Jonas in dramedy The Good Half and — most recently — led the Oscar-nominated short film Red, White and Blue.

Now, she is gearing up to star in drama series The Hunting Wives and release her directorial debut, Parachute — a passion project six years in the making.

Related: Brittany Snow Felt 'Liberated' Playing an Adult Film Star in New Horror Movie 'X' : 'She's in Control'

“I can't really talk about it too much other than it is coming out very soon,” Snow says of the film, which stars Courtney Eaton and Thomas Mann. “That movie is just a little piece of my heart. I mean, I wrote it, I directed it, produced it and spent six years on the whole thing. And I just really think it's something that I'm very proud of.”

“I think it's going to be a very polarizing and tricky topic, but something that I think will help some people, which is why I do it,” she adds.

Parachute also stars several of Snow’s friends and former costars, including X’s Kid Cudi, Bushwick’s Dave Bautista, Someone Great’s Gina Rodriguez and Joel McHale.

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