Gwendoline Christie’s role as androgynous warrior Brienne of Tarth in hit show Game Of Thrones has helped the statuesque actress accept her own issues with her body.
The actress built up her already impressive physique to take on the character, who is described in the books by George R. R. Martin as being “ugly” and “unfeminine”. Brienne is bullied throughout the hit show, and playing her, admitted Gwendoline, brought back unpleasant memories of being subjected to criticism of her own appearance for the 6ft 3 inch star.
In an interview with Newsweek International, she revealed that accepting the role forced her to deal with her hang-ups about her appearance.
“I remember when I had my hair cut off and put armour on, I completely changed the way I looked,” she explained to the publication. “I knew I had to overcome the things I was uncomfortable with, like my androgyny, my height, my physical strength, feeling like an outsider.”
In fact, it was the character’s power and androgyny that attracted her to the role. The 38-year-old blonde subsequently found self-acceptance playing the Amazonian warrior, adding 28 pounds of muscle to her physique as well as learning to fight with swords and ride horses in the career-making role to embody the character of Brienne on the HBO show, which kicks off its penultimate season on 16 July (17).
It was an ambition realized for the actress who as a youngster didn’t understand why women had the “boring parts” in movies.
“I didn’t understand why women had to be submissive. I didn’t understand the relationship between virgin or whore, mother or sex object,” she smiled.
Since finding fame on the small screen, Gwendoline has gone on to star as Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and the villain Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
She can next be seen in the second season of Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake.