Maisie Williams felt shame at having to hide her femininity, including strapping down her chest, to play young Arya Stark on Game Of Thrones.
The actress began filming on the first season of the HBO series when she was just 11 years old. But her character’s timeline didn’t match up with her own, meaning she was forced to appear younger on camera – which she insists made her feel “horrible”.
“Around season two or three my body started to mature and I started to become a woman, but Arya was still very much like trying to be disguised as a boy,” she told U.S. Vogue. “I had to have really short hair and they’d constantly cover me in dirt and shade my nose so it looked really broad and I looked really manly…
“They’d also put this strap across my chest to flatten any growth that had started and that just felt horrible for six months of the year, and I felt kind of ashamed for a while.”
While the star was unhappy at the time, she now appreciates that being able to play younger roles adds “value” to her as an actress, explaining: “‘When you’re a young actress you want to look really grown up.
“I was really conscious not to do at the beginning of my career because even though I was 16/18, I was still looking like 12/14. That really powerful when you’re an actor,” she continued. “Playing younger is a valuable thing.”
Maisie, now 22, went on to share the experience of inhibiting her femininity resulted in her endeavoring to “embrace” her body, adding: “In this new phase of my style it’s nice to look more feminine and have a real waistline, and you know embrace the body that I have.”