MY WORLD / Maisie Williams on growing up famous
Aug 9, 2019
Gallery Update / Interviews / Photoshoots

‘To be nominated in a category like that, with so many women from the show, it just feels so good’, says Maisie of her 2019 Emmy nomination. Maisie has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the role which catapulted her to stardom: Arya Stark of the internationally acclaimed TV show Game of Thrones. Since the finale, the actor’s down-to-earth charm has surpassed her character’s buzz and has led to her becoming one of the most celebrated women on the planet. Here, Maisie gives us a glimpse into how she shaped Arya, reflects on the moments that have defined her and selects some of her favourite pieces of the new season.

Photography by Reuben Selby.

‘I grew up in the public eye. All of my lessons were learned while people were watching me. I think that was actually really helpful, in some ways…

As a famous person, people are constantly asking you about yourself, and it sort of forces you to be really aware of who you are – but sometimes a bit too much, particularly with your physical appearance. You’re constantly trying to prove who you are through the way you look, and it can drive you a bit insane sometimes. But, in terms of what’s on the inside, I sort of had to figure that out very quickly because so many people were asking for my opinion. It makes you really try and understand where you stand in the world, and, although it was quite a difficult way of doing that, I think for me it definitely kick-started that hunt for who I really am. I think a lot of people don’t really have that conversation with themselves, but being under a microscope definitely made me think about those things. The other women on Game of Thrones, like Lena Headey, really taught me a lot. She was always someone I could confide in.’
In shot: Maisie wears top by Pleats Please By Issey Miyake and bag by Paco Rabanne.

‘I was obsessed with my mum gelling my hair when I was a kid. Sometimes I’d get her to gel it back and down, or scraped back into a ponytail. From that moment on I knew I was going to be a star! [laughs] …

My big brothers would always gel their hair, so I think I wanted a piece of the action. She’d gel it backwards – which actually is a really high-fashion look now – but flat and knotty. Growing up I was very particular about what I wore. My mum wasn’t allowed to dress me – I dressed myself. One of the first memories I have is from when I was about three. I went to playgroup and we were allowed to play dress up, but we had to take the costumes off for lunch. So I decided to go to nursery wearing a little fairy costume so that I never had to take it off. I’ve got really vivid memories of it. I also used to have this recurring dream about being underwater with a massive whale. He would swim up to me and we’d just be nose to nose, looking at each other. And it wasn’t just from my perspective, like, I could see from far away how big the whale was and how little I was. Maybe it just meant that I was really small.’ In shot: Maisie wears T-Shirt by Off-White and dress by Burberry.

‘I’m definitely in a period at the moment between wearing what’s appropriate and what makes me feel most comfortable. I think that those two things, for me, are a little different..

What makes me feel most comfortable is expressing myself, and I think maybe that doesn’t quite fit in with the status quo. So I’ve just been sort of experimenting with a lot of different patterns, shapes and layers – like with the Prada look I wore at Comic Con. Like, I just knew that I was going to stick out like a sore thumb at the event, but it made me feel so comfortable. For me, there’s no point in wearing a sweet little dress because that’s not how I want to feel, or how I want to portray myself. My boyfriend has a good sense of style – it’s fun having him style me, sometimes. I have a lot of enthusiasm about everything, so to have someone that can be honest and say, “Take away that” is nice. Sometimes you’re in a room with people who say everything looks great, and it’s like, how do I actually know what looks great when they say everything is amazing? It’s nice when someone’s just like, “No” – that’s the kind of honesty you need.’ In shot: Maisie wears shirt and skirt by Prada.

‘I very much modelled Arya on myself. I have two older brothers and an older sister who I used to fight with constantly [laughs], so her placement within her family made a lot of sense to me…

And then the way that she dealt with trauma – particularly towards the end of the first season – was something that I could really understand. Arya was written as a child, and when you’re younger your understanding of emotions is a lot more basic. The anger and the fury that came from the trauma that she had had to deal with made sense. But it wasn’t until I got older and Arya got older that I started to understand how that can really affect someone long-term, and then I could add in those layers, you know? That wasn’t really necessary from the beginning, as I don’t think anyone at that age really understands what they’re going through until they grow up, look back and realise quite what it was. I drew a lot from how I think I would have reacted to the situations she found herself in.’
In shot: Maisie wears top by Pleats Please By Issey Miyake and bag by Paco Rabanne.

‘In May we launched the web version of Daisie [a digital platform co-founded by Maisie], and it’s going really well – we’ve now got over 100K followers. It’s great to set out on a mission to try and solve a problem…

The platform is about helping creative people discover one another so they can work together and collaborate. All I seemed to be hearing was “How do you meet anyone?”, and I was like, this doesn’t make any sense; we’re supposed to be the social-media-crazed generation, connected to people all around the world, but no one knows how to find a photographer. We’ve been working on it for a really long time and it’s so nice to finally launch it. I’m really proud of everything that everyone’s doing and I’m so happy that it’s helping people.’ In shot: Maisie wears T-Shirt by Off-White and dress by Burberry.