Maisie Williams Game of Thrones Arya Stark
photo: Getty Images

Maisie Williams recently spoke out about her mental health issues surrounding her fame and notoriety thanks to Game of Thrones.

The young actor is famous for her character's strength and ferocity, but it hasn't always been easy to emulate off-camera. Growing up and facing public scrutiny during formative teenage and tween years had a massive toll on the actor's self-esteem. 

Now that the fantasy saga is coming to an end, the actor has been asked about what she wants most for life post-GOT. Mostly, she just wants a normal life and to work at her new passion: launching an app called Daisie

Fearne Cotton's podcast Happy Place hosts celebrity guests and speakers to talk about mental health. 

Cotton invited Williams to speak on her podcast about her journey through fame and how it affected her mental health. Cotton has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years. The host often posts heartfelt messages about mental health issues to her social media platforms. Her third season of the podcast begins with Williams' episode. 

Williams revealed in the podcast that there were moments during her time working on Game of Thrones that she felt moments of self-hatred. 

The GOT star said that growing up in front of the world, especially in the age of social media, presented unique and heightened challenges. She expressed that comments affect her self-esteem even to this day, but they especially did in her formative teenage years. 

"I went through a huge period of my life where I'd tell myself every day that I hated myself." 

The British actor explained how grateful she is for the opportunity to have worked in the film industry, but wants to explore different opportunities. 

Williams said that she still wants to act, but needs time to explore new opportunities. She's currently running a business with her partner, Dom Santry, in the creation of their new app Daisie, a social app for the creative industry. 

"Honestly, I want a normal life with people that I love and people that I know are true and care about me. I don't want any of this crazy, crazy world because it's not worth it."

In the podcast, Williams expressed that what brings her the most fulfillment is not what brings her notoriety, but true happiness. "I think that's something I want to take with me for the future — try and do more things that I'm excited for rather than because other people want me to."

The busy actor and entrepreneur talked about taking time for self-care. 

Williams talked about self-care and what she loves to do just for the sake of doing it. Painting, dancing, and checking in with her family. 

"I realized I didn't do enough things just day-to-day that I love doing guilt-free, just because I loved to do them... that was really hard, because there was no time for it... that's what people do in a fancy and there's no time that you can make to do these things, and then you make time. You find the time no matter what you do."

The actor revealed her fear of slipping back into feelings of depression and anxiety.

Williams revealed she experienced feelings of depression and anxiety while growing up. Now that the stress of her time on Game of Thrones has come to an end, she is both hopeful and a tad fearful for the future. 

"I think there was a period of time where I was very sad, and then I came out of that, and now it’s just really terrifying that you’re ever going to slip back into it," she said. 

She then went on to explain that she works every day to overcome those negative emotions to live fully. 

The Arya Stark actor acknowledged her status as a role model and how she wanted to present herself. 

In one profound moment, Williams stated that by simply being authentically true to herself she felt more like a role model than other stars she had looked up to growing up. She explained that at one point when she gained insight to the inside world of the entertainment industry, a veil came up over people she had once looked up to. At that point she decided to be as genuine as possible, even if that meant making mistakes along the way. 

In March, Williams hosted a Ted Talk about her journey in the entertainment industry. 

In this Ted Talk in March, Williams discussed her unusual circumstances entering the film industry. She started out with a desire to dance, and then by simply being herself, she was cast on what she never could have known would become one of the biggest shows in television history. 

She also discussed the launch of her new app, and her hope for future creatives. "In a world where literally anyone can be famous, I hope to inspire people to be talented instead. Talent will carry you so much further than your 15 minutes of fame."

Sophie Turner also revealed earlier this year that she suffered with depression during the show's production.

In an interview with Dr. Phil, Sophie Turner revealed that she experienced feelings of depression and anxiety during those formative years in the spotlight. Similar to Williams, Turner had moments where social media was detrimental to her mental health. Turner explained that she and Williams were each other's confidantes and helpers but also held one another back. 

"I think being friends with each other was quite destructive, because we were going through the same things... we didn't socialize with anyone but ourselves," Turner said. 

Williams may be attempting to move out of the spotlight, but she isn't losing her creative edge. 

The Daisie app officially launched this month. The intention for the creative social media platform is to become a collaborative network for people in the arts industries. As one marketing technique for the app, Williams invited users to enter a chance to collaborate with the actor herself. 

The actor has also branched out into a different medium: podcasts. 

At the end of April, Williams released her first episode of her Thinking Big podcast. On the recordings, she will speak with creative careers about their childhood dreams and how they ended up in the job they're in now. 

"Welcome to Thinking Big, the podcast where I’ll be chatting to a bunch of really lovely people about really lovely things and then also, sometimes, conspiracy theories," Williams wrote in an announcement on her Twitter.