Maisie Williams Opens Up About the Challenges of Childhood Fame

Game of Thrones Star Maisie Williams Opens Up About the Challenges of Childhood Fame

Game of Thrones Star Maisie Williams Opens Up About the Challenges of Childhood Fame

Maisie Williams Opens Up About the Challenges of Childhood Fame

Maisie Williams opens up about the challenges she faced as a child actor on Game of Thrones.

Williams, now 26, gained fame portraying Arya Stark on the HBO fantasy series from 2011 to 2019. In an interview with The Sunday Times published on Saturday, February 17, she shared that she felt “so lost for so long” while inhabiting the character, a role she began at the age of 12.

“I knew that I was [lost], and when I couldn’t pin down what I felt my identity was within that, it brought me a lot of discomfort,” Williams said.

Game of Thrones Star Maisie Williams Opens Up About the Challenges of Childhood Fame

Reflecting on her past struggles, Williams admitted that “it’s hard to even put myself back there and talk about how tough it was” now that she’s overcome those challenges.

She explained that while “playing characters has been so enthralling,” finding balance was difficult during “a really formative time in my life.”

“It was at its absolute worst when I also was the most out of touch with myself — not knowing your identity and that kind of thing — I think rejection at that point felt so personal, so painful,” she continued. “I’d solely compare myself to other actresses, and the way people looked, and all of the most destructive ways that you can compare yourself.”

Since her Game of Thrones days, Williams has grown “a lot more comfortable in my own skin.” She’s even extended support to fellow child stars, encouraging them to “text me or call me” if they need guidance from someone who understands.

“I really dig within myself to try and bring out something that I feel would be really useful,” she said.

Since departing from her role as Arya Stark, Williams has continued to push herself in both television and film. Currently portraying Catherine Dior in the Apple TV+ series The New Look, which premiered this month, Williams underwent a rigorous transformation to embody the character.

“It was demanding, but it was a tremendous privilege to take on this role, and it consumed me completely,” she shared with Harper’s Bazaar UK in a February 6 interview. “This character demanded an immense amount of research and dedication—and it truly resonated with me, bringing the wartime era back to the streets of Paris; I truly felt the weight of it in a way I hadn’t before.”

Based on the book Miss Dior, the series chronicles the story of Catherine Dior, Christian Dior’s younger sister, who was a member of the French resistance during the Nazi occupation of Paris and served as a source of inspiration for the renowned fashion designer.

Catherine narrowly escaped death at the Ravensbrück concentration camp and returned to Paris emaciated. To prepare for the role, Williams went to extreme lengths, dehydrating herself to shed water weight before filming, ultimately losing nearly 26 pounds.

“I was consuming very little food, meditating extensively, and burning candles and incense in my apartment,” Williams revealed to the publication. “I had to rise at 4 a.m. to start sweating. The evening before, around 7 or 8 p.m., I would have something salty and dehydrating—such as smoked salmon and a small glass of wine. Then, I would take a scorching bath filled with salts. Afterward, I would levitate to bed and sleep for about three hours, waking up to have a handful of nuts. At this point, I couldn’t sleep through the night.”

Williams has previously discussed her struggles with body image during her time on Game of Thrones.

“By around season 2 or 3, my body started to develop and I began to transition into womanhood,” she recounted to Vogue in October 2019, months after the series concluded. “However, Arya was still very much portrayed as a boy.”

She continued, “I had extremely short hair, and they constantly covered me in dirt and shaded my nose to make it appear broader and more masculine. They also used a strap across my chest to flatten any signs of growth. I don’t know, it just felt awful for six months of the year, and I felt somewhat ashamed for a time.”

The conclusion of the series marked a “new phase” in Williams’ life. “It feels liberating to embrace a more feminine appearance and to have a genuine waistline, and to simply embrace the body I have,” she remarked.

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