I feel a lot of the time we– as consumers– tend to forget that celebrities are people too. We are typically a bit more sensitive when the actors or actresses are younger, but we still hold them to a higher standard than we do ourselves. It’s interesting to see when child actresses like Maisie Williams grow up in such a public space and how it follows them into their later years.
Recently, the now twenty-five-year-old, recalled her younger years on the set of Game of Thrones. This eight-season HBO series was loosely based on George R.R. Martin’s book series, A Song of Ice and Fire (pretty much up until the last season).
Williams portrayed Arya Stark, one of the Princesses and the third child of the House of Stark. At just age twelve, Williams was thrust into a life of fame. Though the studios kept the younger actors like Williams and her coworkers, Sophie Turner (aged thirteen), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (aged eleven), and Art Parkinson (aged six), out of the press for as long as they could, it was still a shock to their everyday life.
In a recent interview with GQ, Williams recounted her time on the set of Game of Thrones. As previously stated, Williams was first cast at age twelve, on the cusp of becoming a woman. Arya’s character functioned as one who kicked against the typical standards of what a princess should be. She was wielding a sword while also finding her way through court, but Arya Stark was never one to vie for the attention of other male characters.
Williams recalled one day in the costume trailers that she was handed a bra. She remarked that this was when she began to resent her character.
I resented Arya because I couldn’t express who I was becoming, and then I also resented my body because it wasn’t aligned with the piece of me that the world celebrated.
Growing up is already a stressful situation, add on top of that the pressure of being famous? You won’t catch me wishing for it. Not to mention the fact that the coming-of-age experiences that we all expect to have are warped by something you no longer have full control over. Body image is something that society has begun to talk about more, and actresses like Maisie Williams are proving that no one is immune.
And if that’s the case, then we should all take Williams’s advice in “doing everything I want to do when I want to do it.”
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