It's not easy going through puberty in the public eye — especially when you're on the biggest TV show in the world. Just ask Game Of Thrones' Maisie Williams, who says being a young actress can be hard on the self-esteem.
In an interview with The Sunday Times' Style magazine, Williams talked about being plucked out of school to play Arya Stark when she was just 12 years old. She got the role after losing a part in Nanny McPhee 2. "At 12 I was fearless and didn't care, so I really enjoyed it," Williams said of being cast. "But then as each season passed, the pressure built and it became a little destructive."
Now 20 years old, Williams is gearing up to start her seventh season on the hit series, and she said she suffered a "dip in confidence" with each passing year of the show, which she chalks up to going through puberty. "It all fizzled out a bit and I lost my confidence," she said of getting older, "and now I'm slowly starting to get it back again."
"I was having the time of my life," she told the Times, "but I look back and think I wasn't really very happy because I didn't have many friends. I had left school and I was working a lot and it was a strange time."
While cast members kept telling her life was going to change, Williams says, "To me that wasn't exciting. I was like 'I don't want it to change, I quite enjoy my life.'" It's why she established a list of rules to make sure her life stayed as normal as possible, which included buying a flat near her mum and going home on Sundays for lunch whenever she could.
It's those familiarities that Williams says have made growing up in the spotlight easier. Even if Williams, who will begin filming the latest X-Men movie New Mutants soon, still feels like a kid sometimes. “Like with the new jobs and this shoot, I’m sort of becoming a woman,” she told the magazine. “Or at least twenteen.”
Williams has never been shy about discussing what it's like being a girl. In fact, back in 2015, she teamed up with Always' #LikeAGirl campaign to put a stop to the gendered insult. She told Teen Vogue that being on Game Of Thrones helped her figure out what kind of woman she wanted to be. "Working at 12 years old is not normal," she told the Times. "But the experiences that come with it have taught me a lot about people and about who I want to be."
Clearly, she's the kind of person who wants to help others know that even Arya Stark has days where she doesn't feel so confident and there's nothing wrong with that.