Beauty

Maisie Williams just used her hair transformation to make a point about mental health

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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This is the real reason she dyed her hair pink last year.

When filming on the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones was over, Maisie Williams knew she wanted to do something dramatic to her hair.

The urge is real. If you’ve inhabited one character for the better part of a decade – and that character has your face and your hair – then in order to shed their skin you might need to change something about the way you look. Both Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence cut their long hair short at the conclusion of their most famous franchises Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. Emilia Clarke, too, cropped her hair into a pixie cut at the end of Game of Thrones.

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For Williams, who had spent almost nine years in the short brunette shag of Arya Stark, she opted for a dye job in a candy floss shade of pink in November 2018. “I love pink so much,” she told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “It’s my favourite colour in the whole wide world… For so long I pretended that my favourite colour was green – I thought I wasn’t a feminist if my favourite colour was pink. And then I decided that’s fucking stupid.”

But Williams’ choice of colour wasn’t just a nod to her favourite shade. The actress wanted to dye her hair pink because it meant that she wouldn’t be able to act until it grew out.

“I dyed it because I didn’t want to work.” Williams told Rolling Stone. “It’s a pretty good way of stopping that. And it just feels so good, so me. I’ve battled my whole adolescence with trying to put a stamp on my appearance, but also be a blank canvas as an actor.”

In the interview, Williams admits that there were periods during the filming of Game of Thrones in which she struggled with how she was told to look onscreen.

“I was becoming a woman,” she explained, “and then having to wear this thing that’s kind of like what the queen does – I think the queen has to have a bra that pushes her tits under her armpits. And it got worse, ‘cause it kept growing, and they put this little fat belly on me to make it even out. I was, like, 15: ‘I just wanna be a girl and have a boyfriend!’ That was when it sucked. The first time they gave me a bra in my trailer, I was like, ‘Yes! I’m a woman!’” 

Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones

Sophie Turner, who plays Williams’ onscreen sister Sansa on Game of Thrones – as well as being her offscreen best friend in real life – said that she saw the toll this dichotomy took on her friend’s mental health.

“She’s going through all these changes, and yet she has to still look like a child and cut her hair short and look completely different to how she’s feeling inside,” Turner told Rolling Stone. “I think she really envied me because I got to wear the dresses and have nice make-up and nice hair. And I wanted the trousers and the boyish clothes!”

One thing is for sure, both Williams and Turner have come into their own power in the final season of Game of Thrones. After reuniting in season seven, their characters have aligned themselves with each other, two of the last women standing in Westeros’ bloody battle for the kingdom. 

Turner and Williams on Game of Thrones

As Williams told Entertainment Weekly: “Last season it was really tough for Sansa because Jon was thinking with his penis and it kind of made Sansa look bitter. This season you see Arya teaming with Sansa and sometimes calling out Jon. It felt nice and powerful to stand next to Sophie. Sophie and I are the tightest of friends when sitting across from anyone, so no acting required.”

Bring on the final season of Game of Thrones!

Game of Thrones airs on HBO in the US on 14 April and in the UK on Sky Atlantic and Now TV on 15 April. 

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer, podcaster and recent Australian transplant in London. You can find her on the internet talking about pop culture, food and travel.

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