This HBO Child Star Says Her Role Made Her "Resent Her Body"
"It wasn’t aligned with the piece of me that the world celebrated."
Game of Thrones' Arya Stark is undeniably an iconic TV character now, but when actor Maisie Williams was cast in the role, she was just a 12-year-old who had no idea what lie ahead. What ended up happening, as we now know, was that Williams went on to star in the series for eight more years, meaning she spent the entirety of her teens on the show. Now, in a new interview with British GQ, the 24-year-old has opened up about how growing up on the show made her resent both her most famous character and her own body at times. Read on to see what the actor had to say about coming of age while starring on one of the most popular TV shows of all time.
Being associated with Arya made Williams resent her body.
Fans got to know Arya Stark as a tween, who was a fierce sword fighter and considered a tomboy character. As Williams got further into her teens and discovered who she is as a person, her true self was more and more in conflict with her character.
"I think that when I started becoming a woman, I resented Arya because I couldn't express who I was becoming," Williams told GQ. "And then I also resented my body, because it wasn't aligned with the piece of me that the world celebrated."
The interview notes that Williams remembers the first time she was given a bra by the Game of Thrones costume department. It now represents a moment when she, as an actor who was getting older, grew more distant from her character.
Hiding how her body had changed made her feel "ashamed."
In a video for Vogue in 2019, Williams opened up about how when she started going through puberty, her costuming and makeup for the show had to hide that fact, which made her feel uncomfortable.
"A couple of seasons in the middle, maybe around Season 2 or 3, my body started to mature and I started to, like, become a woman," Williams said. "But Arya was still very much trying to be disguised as a boy. And I had really short hair and they'd constantly cover me in dirt and shade my nose so it looked really broad and I looked really manly. They'd also put this strap across my chest to flatten any growth that had started. I don't know, that just felt horrible for six months of the year, and I felt kind of a bit ashamed for awhile."
She took control of her image in real life.
While Williams had to look a certain way on Game of Thrones, in real life, it's all up to her, so she has experimented with her style. For instance, after the show wrapped filming, she dyed her hair pink. "I was rejecting a lot of the pieces of me and my image that I'd been so well known for," she told GQ. "It was more that I needed to express myself."
She told Vogue of exploring fashion, "With this new phase of my style, it is nice to look more feminine and have a real waistline and embrace the body that I have."
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She's grateful to have been protected from fame.
It was sometimes tough to be thought of as Arya while also growing up herself, but Williams told GQ that helped not being exposed to every aspect of fame from the start definitely helped her navigate stardom.
Williams only began attending premieres for the show with Season 3, and GQ notes that the younger cast members didn't make many public appearances before then.
"I'm grateful we were protected from it until that point, too," she said. "If that had happened when I was 12, I'm not sure what that would have done to me mentally."