Remember the little Arya Stark who fought her way through “Game of Thrones”? Maisie Williams was her. Today, at the age of 23, the Bristol-born star has seduced Hollywood – she recently starred in the blockbuster “The New Mutant” – but also the jewelry house Cartier, which has engaged her as an ambassador. For Numéro art, the actress, director, producer and muse agreed to incarnate the great masterpieces of painting, from Munch’s “The Scream” to Caravaggio’s “Bacchus”.
Maisie Williams rejoue “Le Cri” d’Edvard Munch. Manteau en laine, Miu Miu. Montre “Pasha” 41mm en or jaune, Cartier. (Click to see large image)
For an entire decade, her skill in wielding the sword electrified audiences the world over. She was the flamboyant Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, a child traumatized by adult vio- lence who, over the seasons, became a household heroine. Maisie Williams, who is now 23, did not enjoy a normal adolescence, but was plunged into a high-octane Hollywood existence. Last year she was back on the screen, both in the series Two Weeks to Live and the blockbuster The New Mutants. But she also took on the more glamorous role of ambassador to the house of Cartier for its new Pasha watch. Now a producer as well as an actress, highly committed to feminist and environmental causes, Williams is at last getting a taste of a more normal daily life for someone her age. When Numéro art interviewed her, in Paris where she was staying this summer, we found an actress in the full bloom of her youth, brimming with assured ideas and new ambitions.
Numéro art: You’ve been living in Paris for a few months. Why did you choose the the French capital?
Maisie Williams: I really like being here. I feel very inspired, much more than in London. Also, I’m working with my boyfriend [fashion-world entrepreneur Reuben Selby] on his brand’s first collection. We worked on it during lockdown and would like to do a fashion show at the Ritz. And since everything goes through Zoom, I’m much better off here.
Everyone knows you as an actress, especially in Game of Thrones, but your spectrum is much broader.
I’ve always considered myself a creative person. My true expression crosses several mediums. Limiting yourself to just one form of creativity doesn’t make sense to me. Music influences my acting, my personality is nourished by my relationship with fashion. The range of things that interest me is constantly expanding. Producing has taken a certain place in my life recently, and I’m planning on showcasing young artists. I’m also developing a series that I hope to fund before the end of the year. I’m writing it, producing it and intend to direct it. But it’s a long process! I’ve also been painting for two or three years. But I’m not forgetting my work as an actress – I’m going to start shooting a film about the true story of a ceramicist from the 1920s, which has helped me get into pottery.
Une réinterprétation de “L’Etoile” d’Edgar Degas. Tutu en tulle et satin brodé, Repetto. jupe à volants en cuir et tissu technique, et souliers, Louis Vuitton. Collants, Falke. Boucles d’oreilles “Juste un clou” en or jaune et diamants, et montre “Pasha” 35mm en or rose, Cartier. Sur la jupe, broche, Tétier Bijoux. Ruban, Mokuba. Au fond à gauche, pantalon en laine, Celine par Hedi Slimane.
What are you inspired by at the moment that fuels this creative whirlwind?
I’ve been listening to a lot of classical music. It puts me in a suspended state. Debussy. I find it very useful for refocusing. Creating such pure art is very powerful. I also set myself the goal of watching a movie a day. I’ve explored the films of Yorgos Lanthimos, Charlie Kaufman and Alex Garland, who wrote The Beach and also directed Ex Machina. I’ve watched a lot of Alma Har’el’s films, including her shorts.
You’re originally from Bristol, so you could have been in the series Skins, which was shot there and marked the 2000s with its trashy representation of teens.
I was eight when Skins started. I discovered it as a vintage series seven years later. [Laughs.] So I couldn’t have been cast. My debut in the audiovisual industry was very different from what you imagine when you think of actresses and actors from England. It’s very difficult to become an actress when you’re from a working-class family. You’re put in a “realistic” box and kept in reserve. Personally, I’ve never felt reduced to just one part of myself. I feel like I can walk into lots of companies and interest a wide variety of people. I have the ability to adapt to the people I meet, including professionally. I’m able to be charming, even if I don’t have social standing. In my opinion, this is the key to success. You have to know how to wear several hats.
Let’s talk about Game of Thrones, which ended in 2019. The role of Arya Stark brought you worldwide stardom, but most of all, you spent all your adolescence and more playing this tenacious character. Does the series seem like a time capsule to you today?
Yes it does. I see that part of my life as a very special mo- ment that will be frozen in time forever. From now on I’ll only be able to see it from the outside – I’ll never again know and understand my life as it was then. But it’s pretty healthy to think of it that way. What happened to me is incredibly bizarre, perhaps one of the most bizarre experiences a young person can have. I learned a lot about myself, I got out, that door is now closed. It’s a very powerful feeling.
Réinterprétation des “Hasards heureux de l’escarpolette” de Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Bustier à paniers et traîne en satin, Moschino. Jupe en taffetas, Patou. Minerve, Gucci. Bague, Tétier Bijoux. Boucles d’oreilles “Juste un clou” en or jaune et diamants, Cartier. Mules, Amina Muaddi. Au fond, chemise en flanelle de laine, Max Mara. À gauche, veste en laine, Acne Studios. Pantalon en laine, Boss.
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With the hit series behind her, the 23-year-old British actress is ready to forge her own path, both with a new crop of films and as a brand ambassador for Cartier’s Pasha collection
Last fall Maisie Williams turned heads during Paris Fashion Week, wearing matching outfits (and makeup) with her boyfriend, Reuben Selby, while sitting front row at Thom Browne. This year, the actor spent her summer in Paris, building partnerships with brands such as Cartier, Jacquemus, Courrèges, and awaiting her next chapter. “As an actress, the best advice I received was to put my personality aside in order to find one that matches each role,” she says. “In fashion, it’s different—you have to understand exactly who you are to be able to represent the brand and the look.”
It’s nearly impossible to forget Arya Stark’s personality. The ruthless warrior Williams played from ages 13 to 21 (eight seasons) on Game of Thrones was beloved among a cast of distinct, oversized personalities. Arya began as a mischievous young girl and grew into an avenging assassin—a tomboy surviving in a male-dominated world. And it can’t be easy to experiment with one’s masculine side while also becoming a young woman; nor to build one’s own character when playing someone else. With short hair and flattened breasts, Arya had to grow up very fast and learn how to protect herself. Williams too. Both Arya and Williams have silenced their critics in different ways: the pretenders to the throne for Arya, and the internet trolls that have disparaged Williams’ looks. Both subverted feminine stereotypes. We’ll never forget Arya discussing her period between battles, reminding Jon Snow that women continually see more blood than men. Now Williams is free to take back her own body and become herself.
For all that blood and violence, Williams is still not finished, and joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe in her role as Rahne in the latest X-Men movie, The New Mutants. Sitting amid the horror and superhero genres, The New Mutants is a real lockdown movie, perfect for a generation traumatized by the global pandemic. “The young mutants are in lockdown in a medical center, apparently to protect themselves and understand their powers, since they don’t know their nature or how big they can get,” she says. “My character is discovering her sexuality, falling in love with another girl, and they are protecting each other instead of fighting. It offers a new perspective to the Marvel movies. It’s somewhere in between The Breakfast Club and Stephen King.”
Coincidentally, confinement seemed to be a theme, with two other related projects from Williams this year. In the TV series Two Weeks to Live, she stars as Kim, a young woman who has been raised in violent doomsday-prepper isolation for years. She rejoins society to avenge the death of her father, and quickly finds herself mixed up in a prank gone horribly wrong. Williams also stars in The Owners, a horror film based on a graphic novel, in which a group of young lawless kids try to break into an old Victorian mansion owned by an elderly couple. “It’s set in the ’90s, so I created a style for it, full of denim and with bleached hair. Like everyone else I’m obsessed with ’90s style,” says Williams.
The actress has also recently invested her time and resources into her own production company. “I created Pint-Sized Pictures with two girlfriends to showcase unknown women’s talents,” she says. “We’re working on music videos, short and long films, and sometimes shows. As for the name, it’s because I’m short, the height of a pint!”
From supporting creative talents and mentoring young women to establishing her own style in acting and fashion, Williams is very much a product of her generation. Add to that animal activism, too. After the many years spent in Westeros, she’s determined to make up for lost time.
Source: L’Officiel USA
For eight years, the British actress was one of television’s most beloved swordwielding, baddie-slaying teenage anti-heroines. Her next big act: mutant, producer, champion for up-and-coming creatives and possibly the next most powerful woman in entertainment and the arts. Here, an exclusive close-up.
Even among superheroes, the X-Men have long been a metaphor for growing up, fighting oppression and finding one’s own space within a society that hates and fears them. Perhaps you’ll find that those themes sound too familiar for comfort in 2020, given everything that’s been going on in the year so far.
The same themes are amplified in the upcoming (and long delayed) instalment in the X-Men series, The New Mutants, released in cinemas recently. The film is a horror-tinged spin-off from that universe focusing on a younger set of superheroes-in-training.
Among them: Rahne Sinclair aka Wolfsbane, a teenage mutant with lycanthropic powers who – in a nutshell – was raised in an ultra-religious setting. (Her father was a reverend, strict to the point of abusive to correct any perceived “sins” so much so that he led an angry mob to hunt her down when her powers began to manifest.)
And few are as befitting to give depth to this complex and troubled character as the inimitable Maisie Williams, aka the British actress who – throughout her teenhood – won the world over playing anti-heroine Arya Stark in the HBO epic that was Game of Thrones (GOT).
“Rahne is a stark contrast to the characters I have played before. She is sensitive, she is fragile and nervous, she is uncomfortable in her own skin, and the opportunity to play someone with a physicality like that was something that I didn’t want to miss out on,” says Williams, now 23, in an e-mail interview ahead of our exclusive photo shoot. “When I was a teenager, I used to feel very uncomfortable in my own skin and I know Rahne feels that way.”
It’s no secret that Williams has struggled with bullying, especially when she had returned to school after filming a couple of seasons of GOT. Never mind that her much-loved character was a young noble-turned-deadly assassin, all to right heinous wrongs, Robin Hood-style. These days though, she’s doing the fighting on her own terms.
As is the case with many of the creatives of her generation, she has her fingers in many pies. She’s also a film producer and start-up founder, most notably for Daisie, an app she helped establish in 2017. Officially made public last year, it’s meant to be a platform that emphasises transparency to make it easier for up-and-coming creatives of different mediums (fashion, art, photography, film, music and more) to cross-pollinate and showcase their work.
While she’s keeping her plans for it on the down-low, it’s hard to ignore how an endeavour like it feels particularly relevant at a time when multiple cultural movements are emerging to question and rebalance traditional power dynamics.
“WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER, I USED TO FEEL VERY UNCOMFORTABLE IN MY OWN SKIN AND I KNOW RAHNE FEELS THAT WAY.” – MAISIE WILLIAMS
Read the manifesto on the app’s website that talks about how industry gatekeepers “hold all the power and select only those whom they deem talented enough to advance to the next level… It’s a divisive and alienating way to maintain the status quo and we stand with many others demanding radical transformation”.
“As an actor you have freedom, but with certain boundaries. At the end of the day, you’re still saying someone else’s words,” says Williams. “That’s why I’m so drawn to producing. I would love to create a show or film or anything from the ground up. That way you have full creative control of the set, costumes, words, lighting; you can orchestrate everything.”
It’s often said that actors struggle with being typecast as their most iconic characters, but one gets the sense that Williams – with her take-charge ethos and genre-spanning projects – is doing just fine post GOT. Aside from The New Mutants, her next television role comes in the British dark comedy Two Weeks to Live, scheduled to launch this autumn. In it, she plays Kim Noakes, a young woman who decides to re-enter real life after years of isolation and survivalist techniques she’s had to endure, imposed by her paranoid mother.
Her projects outside of film are likewise demonstrative of her zeal. Of late, she’s been something of a fashion darling, stealing the spotlight at Fashion Week where she’s a front-row regular at brands like Thom Browne and – for Fall/Winter 2020 – Givenchy. Even more recently, she was made one of five young ambassadors of Cartier’s Pasha de Cartier timepiece for achieving success due to her “differences, creativity, connection, multidisciplinary talents, and generosity”.
The most beguiling part about this pint-sized mogul-in-the-making (fun fact: her production company is called PintSized Pictures) however might just be that she doesn’t seem overly obsessed with all that acclaim. “That’s the beauty of being an overachiever,” she says. “Even if the acting ended tomorrow, there are so many things in life I want to pursue. I’ve always wanted to make dolls – maybe out of clay? And then I can make tiny clothes for them.”
This article first appeared in the Sept 2020 Not-Your-Usual-September Edition of FEMALE.
Source: Female Magazine