Our News Editor, Izzy Brann, discusses the guest speaker we had over refreshers.
As part of Refreshers’ celebrations last week, Game of Thrones actress, Maisie Williams, paid a visit to the Union to speak about her new app, Daisie. The event unsurprisingly was hugely popular with queues stretching across the union 20 minutes before the event was to begin.
It was our Enterprise and Employability EO, Joshua Hope, who had the honour of interviewing Maisie, making sure to cover everything, from Chai latte’s at Loughborough’s Goodliffe’s to feminism in the film industry. Admittedly, despite the actress’ fame I was not feeling very enthusiastic about attending the event as I am not a fan of Game of Thrones and planned to just go to write this article. However, I was incredibly glad to have been present in the end.
Maisie took to the stage to expected cheers as Joshua introduced her, making a joke about trying to reach your essay word count as she nervously thanked everyone who was involved. She was instantly relatable thanks to the power of the meme and remained down to earth for the next hour.
Growing up in a council house with six siblings, Maisie told the tale of how she broke into the acting industry. She accredits most of her success to luck and timing, having been spotted by a newly set up agency in a talent show in Paris, while she was doing improv about a bowling ball. She seemed keen to emphasise that she was from a normal family and went to a comprehensive school, and that it really was by chance that she became an actor, having always dreamed of being a professional dancer instead.
Moving onto Game of Thrones, Maisie spoke about how she grew up on set, alongside Sophie Turner, having to balance work and school commitments. The actress ended up having to leave school, with everyone thinking she and her mum were insane, but said ‘it just felt right’. This was when the show had really just begun and hadn’t reached the heights of popularity it now has so was a risky decision. It was only at the first Emmy’s that Maisie really saw how popular the show was- affirming that she was ‘not crazy’.
Maisie played Arya Stark on the show for eight years, a character considered groundbreaking for its complexity and Maisie’s young age and gender. Now, Maisie has wrapped the final season of Game of Thrones and is enjoying the freedom of being contract-less and spending more time with her dog.
Joshua then turned to the topic of female roles in the film industry. Having first hand experience, Maisie told how she had definitely seen an improvement in gender equality across the years and tries to work with as many female directors as she can. Yet, she chose to emphasise that although we are on the right path, sometimes the inclusion of female actors feels forced and they remain a ‘statistic’. The actor spoke about how it is important to strive towards change, espousing the idea of ‘be the change you want to see’.
Indeed, that is what Maisie is trying to do with her app Daisie. The app is designed to be a social networking interface for professional creatives to connect, collaborate and show off their portfolios. In the old-fashioned film industry of people at the top only possessing power, this idea is revolutionary as Maisie intents to put ‘the power into the hands of creative people’ themselves’.
Overall, I found the Q&A incredibly insightful and Maisie was fantastically relatable- even if she has Ed Sheeran in her phone contacts! Thank you to Will Davies and the Enterprise and Employability Network for organising this amazing opportunity.
Featured image by: Amie Woodyatt