Maisie Williams talks about her hometown, Bristol, and new app to connect creatives

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By Patrick Sullivan, Film & TV Editor

The Game of Thrones (2011-) actress spoke at the Priory Road Lecture Theatre to 400 students about the networking needed to establish a career in the creative arts and how Daisie will be help aspiring artists.

Maisie Williams grew up in a three bed council house in Shirehampton, a modest suburbian part of Bristol. Talking to a lecture theatre full of eager students - mostly from the Faculty of Arts - the famous 21 year old spoke of ‘coming back to [her] hometown [and] favourite place on Earth’. Following a question from the audience, she said Bedminster was her top place to go for theatre and reluctantly admitted she preferred Motion to Lakota.

Her main priority, however, was promoting her app, Daisie, a social network for aspiring workers in several fields, including acting, filmmaking, dancing, and writing. The iOS app received 30,000 downloads in its first 24 hours when released last summer. The team have refined some early bugs and, with V2 coming in April, are on the promotional trail again.

Having already talked at several universities around the UK about her side project, Williams was hosted here on February 4 by the Careers Service, who targeted the event at students pursuing a creative career. As a result, the distribution of free tickets was limited to Arts students only.

The concept for Daisie was conceived by Williams and her friend, Dom Santry, while ‘swigging beers in the kitchen’ and discussing the problems in creative industries. On the aims of the app, Williams said: ‘There are so many talented young creatives with the connections [needed to have a career in the arts]. We’re not claiming with Daisie to having the answer to make everybody a star, but the key to success is collaborating. Discovering people in your area and finding that groove is really important.’

On cross-applying her skills in the new world of entrepreneurship, she said: ‘Everything we do marketing-wise is so creative and I try to approach everything in a creative way. I’m very passionate which is good and I’m unapologetic about that.’

To the joy of the audience - many of whom showed extensive knowledge of Game of Thrones - Williams spoke extensively on her unlikely rise to acting stardom and had a natural, endearing manner throughout, unafraid to admit her modesty, self-doubt, or clumsiness at several points.

Having first secured agency representation through a school talent show where she improvised a short scene from the brief ‘bowling ball’, she admitted feeling insecure at early auditions: ‘I was in the room thinking, “Do actresses have teeth like mine? If so, I haven’t seen their films.”’ At the right moment, though, she took her opportunity: ‘I harnessed all my insecurities and self-doubt and let them flow out.’

That was, as she recalled, her third out of four major opportunities with the talent show being the second and Daisie being the fourth. The first was her dream of attending a prestigious dancing school, which after working hard to secure a place aged 11, she was unable to attend two years running to financial circumstances. ‘It’s been nearly a decade to the day since my first auditions,’ she said, ‘And I’m still wondering when am I going to be Billy Elliot?’

Her journey from a hopeful dancer against all the odds to household TV name has been unbelievably fast, and she described her career so far as ‘a symphony of ordinary opportunities turning into a series of life changing events’.

While a wide ranging and thoughtful set of questions from the students present covered typecasting, illegal streaming, exploitation of aspiring actors or creatives, and even a typically audacious student enquiry about internships, Game of Thrones was frequently the topic of discussion. On her role in the TV series as the whip-smart Arya Stark, Williams declared: ‘If it’s the biggest thing I ever do then I’m not mad about it - it’s pretty epic.’

But, as her branching out with Daisie proves, Maisie Williams is continually chasing opportunities a decade after taking her biggest one yet.

Featured Image: Facebook/ University of Bristol


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AUTHOR

Patrick Sullivan

Epigram Co-Editor-in-Chief 2019-20. Engineering student turned film critic turned news writer - enjoying the most brilliantly strange route into the media world.

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