Maisie Williams Said Playing Arya Stark Made Her Insecure About Her Body
"I felt kind of ashamed for a while."
Game of Thrones viewers had the opportunity to watch Maisie Williams grow up right on-screen. The show debuted back in 2011 and wrapped up in 2019, which means fans were keeping up with Williams and her character, Arya Stark, for a long, long time. In a new interview with Vogue, Williams explains that playing the same character for so long — and one that went against traditional ideas of femininity, even for Westeros — affected how she saw herself. Because of Arya's specific look and the great lengths that the GoT production team went through to achieve it, Williams began to feel "ashamed" of her developing body.
"Around season 2 or 3, my body started to mature and I started to become a woman," Williams said. "But Arya was still very much like trying to be disguised as a boy. I had 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. I don't know, that just felt horrible for six months of the year, and I felt kind of ashamed for a while."
Back in April, a Vanity Fair article explored viewers' uneasiness with Arya's sex scene in the show's final season. Part of it was the fact that through the show's run, viewers never really got to see the character go through puberty. That, in addition to the binding and special effects makeup, contributed to Williams' skewed attitude towards her own body. HBO's U.K. Twitter feed even went so far as announcing that Arya Stark had turned 18, just in case anyone thought to bring it up.
"She's never spoken about menstruation, or her changing body, or her new, weird feelings. Many viewers don’t see the character as an adult woman because the show hasn’t given us the arc of a preteen or pubescent girl," VF writer Sonia Saraiya explained. "Though it has given us similar storylines via Sansa — who, to her dismay, got her period for the first time in Season 2 — and Ygritte, who in Season 3 proved her mettle to Jon Snow by pointing out that 'girls see more blood than boys.'"
These days, Williams is embracing a more feminine wardrobe and embracing being a Fashion Week regular (she attended Givenchy and Thom Browne this year). With Arya Stark behind her — and access to custom JW Anderson gowns — Williams is set to show the world exactly how she wants to be seen.