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An Interview with Maisie Williams

An Interview with Maisie Williams

22 April 2017 |

She scooped her first screen role as part of a series that would go on to become one of the most successful in the history of entertainment. Perhaps unbelievably still just a teenager, Maisie Williams has seen her life transformed from her early days dancing in home town clubs to one spent in the constant glare of the paparazzi’s flash bulbs. Culture Calling catches up with the diminutive Bristolian.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, in some way at least you’ll have been exposed to the phenomenon that is Game of Thrones. By 2014, the show was the biggest in the history of television, drawing massive audiences and critical acclaim from all quarters and catapulting a host of its stars from obscurity to the dizzying heights of Hollywood. One of the lucky actresses to ride the crest of the Thrones wave to the eye of the media storm is Maisie Williams, who plays the tomboyish Arya Stark in her very first screen role.
 
“I never really knew the difference between big budgets and smaller budgets. I mean I was so young and I’d never really been a part of the industry,” the 19-year-old explains. “I never really understood that world. Just getting the part and knowing I was going to be on television was great; now being in this world I realise that this is such a great thing to be a part of and I did pretty well!

Maisie Williams red carpet
Maisie Williams
 
“Shortly after it aired I realised it was a lot bigger in America because I had an American agent and there was a lot of feedback coming back from him, but I went over there and there were loads of posters everywhere and there were lots of adverts for it too, which there were here too, but not half as big. And slowly but surely it picked up over here and I’ve been getting recognised more and more ever since.”
 
The teenage sensation now has a Primetime Emmy nomination and a sure place in the annals of TV history – not to mention the relative prestige of having survived six series on the notoriously bloodthirsty fantasy show. But though Williams may have made her name in imagined realms like Westeros and Bravos, her success story began in her birthplace of Bristol and the Bath Dance College, where the rising star had dreams of becoming a professional dancer.
 
“I try to go back as much as possible – more recently, however, in the last year things have really taken off in the UK,” she says. “Game of Thrones was always massive in America; it was always watched here, but it’s turned absolutely crazy. It’s very, very exciting but also means my old life is slowly being chipped away and replaced with this new lifestyle that I have, which I also very much enjoy – but sometimes it would be nice to go back and spend more time in the dance studio.”

Maisie Williams
Maisie Williams
 
But with Thrones gearing up for a seventh series that is being touted as the biggest ever – no mean feat, fans will agree – those moments of passing under the radar are becoming fewer and further between for the refreshingly level-headed actress.
 
“I remember one day that I got up and I couldn’t get out of the house. It’s a crazy, crazy world but I’ve kind of grown up with it and had time to get used to it – I guess,” she laughs. “It’s happened very slowly and my family has been great about giving me loads of time to just relax and give me space to be myself and not have to worry about any expectations. I’m really grateful with the way it’s gone; I’ve had a really positive experience with this world. But I know a lot of young actors who are thrust into this sort of success and limelight and do find it overwhelming and I can completely understand why.
 
“If anything were to change, I think it’s not worth being in this industry anymore. I mean, if you’re not being yourself and you’re changing and becoming someone else to please other people, I feel that it’s not even worth doing it because you’re not happy. I’ve been given the opportunity to do what I want with my life and I would never want to be unhappy on this world so I mean I’m really, really grateful for that!”
 
 

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