Maisie Williams Almost Skipped Her Game of Thrones Audition for a Truly Funny Reason

From TIME - March 12, 2018

Maisie Williams has a starring role on one of the most-obsessed-over shows of all time, a trophy cases worth of awards, and more Instagram followers (7.5 million) than the pope (5.2 million). But shes not interested in taking advantage of her high profileunless, you know, it means expedited shipping.

Once, I was ordering clothes for Christmas gifts, and these people said it would take over a month [for the package] to arrive, Williams says, sounding exasperated all over again. It was so annoying and such bad customer service that I wrote them a nasty email and signed my real name.

This, she says, is the most shameless thing shes ever done, referencing the theme of the photos you see here (a tongue-in-cheek nod to her Game of Thrones character Arya Starks a girl has no name mantra in Season 5). The shoot had Williams wandering the streets of her current home, London, in search of spontaneous photo ops.

Everyone was just staring at me like, What is this insane person doing?she says. I was running around in crazy dresses and crossing roads in the freezing cold. But Williams has a history of being overdressed in unexpected places. After an awards show youll often find me wearing a giant gown ordering, like, fish takeout somewhere.

Williams, who just turned 21, has been navigating her place in the spotlight for over half her life. The youngest of four children growing up in Bristol, England, she was training to be a ballerina when a talent agent spotted her at a local showcase when she was 11 and persuaded her to consider acting. Cut to an audition to play a fearless tomboy on an up-and-coming HBO series called Game of Thrones (which she admits to nearly skipping for a field trip to a pig farm) and landing what proved to be a life-changing part. The show premiered a few days after Williamss 14th birthday to near-instant acclaim, just in time for her to settle into adolescence as a rising star.

I struggled with the pressure to fit in and always worried about saying the right thing, she remembers of her teens, which included a period of such brutal online bullying from her high-school classmates that she left to work with private tutors. Living up to her badass noblewoman-turned-assassin persona in public, she says, was a hard left from how she felt inside. It was strange because I put on the personality of the girl who was Maisie Williams but really struggled in my personal life. Ultimately, it was connecting with fans that gave Williams the confidence she has today. I think just understanding I wasnt the only one who feels like they dont fit in really helped me, she says. And it made me want to inform other young kids that it actually does get better.

This message shines through in Williamss work, as shes drawn to fierce, multifaceted characters who fight for what they want. Up next is her first voice-over gig in the Claymation film Early Man, co-starring Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston and produced by Aardman Animations, the beloved British company behind the Wallace & Gromit franchise. In it, she plays Goona, a feisty soccer player from the Bronze Age who will do anythingfrom practicing in the dead of night to coaching a team of bumbling cavemento stake her claim in a male-dominated sport. And while the free-spirited part was in Williamss wheelhouse, she wasnt above a few pro tips from Oscar-decorated Redmayne. He was so lovely and really encouraged me to come out of my shell, she recalls of their time in the studio. It was the best help I could have received.


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