'Game of Thrones'' Maisie Williams: Hollywood Sexualizes Young Actresses

"I have been really lucky, in that I play characters who aren't necessarily the eye candy," says actress, who was cast as Arya Stark at age 12

'Game of Thrones' actress Maisie Williams criticized Hollywood for pushing young actresses into more sexualized, mature roles. Credit: James Gourley/Deadline/Rex

Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams criticized the film and television industry for prematurely pushing young women into sexualized roles. The actress, who was cast as Arya Stark on the acclaimed HBO fantasy-drama at age 12, spoke to Sunday Times Style about circumventing such clichéd, salacious roles.

"I have been really lucky, in that I play characters who aren't necessarily the eye candy," she said. "It's hard for young actresses who still feel like scrappy teenagers but are sort of forced to play characters who are a lot more mature, because, you know, 'young sexy woman' really sells in Hollywood."

But the 20-year-old Williams also admitted that her breakthrough role as the younger Stark daughter did bring its own baggage. "At 12, I was fearless and didn't care, so I really enjoyed it," she said. "But then, as each season passed, the pressure built and it became a little destructive. Everyone goes through that dip in confidence. That also came with puberty. It all fizzled out a bit, and I lost my confidence, and now I'm slowly starting to get it back again."

While she described her first two years on the show as the "time of [her] life," Williams admitted that she also felt lonely. "I look back and I think I wasn't really very happy because I didn't have many friends," she said. "I had left school and I was working a lot and it was a strange time. I remember in maybe season two or three, other cast members coming up to me and saying, 'Your life is going to change,' and to me that wasn't exciting. I was, like, 'I don't want it to change. I quite enjoy my life.'"

Game of Thrones' seventh – and second-to-last – season premieres July 16th on HBO. The latest trailer warns once more that "Winter is here," teasing an epic battle for the Iron Throne. 

From show nudity to super fans, the Queen of Dragons tell all in our "First Time" series. Watch here.