In just four years, Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie has become a leading agent of change in Hollywood. After exploding conventional femininity in three major franchise roles -- Thrones' Brienne of Tarth, The Hunger Games' Commander Lyme and Star Wars' Captain Phasma -- the striking actress and fashion newbie insists pop culture had it coming.
When we meet, Christie is savoring her precious last days at home before being whisked out to LA to attend the Screen Actors Guild Awards. She still lives near the "beautiful old Georgian ruin" of Drama Centre London, her beloved acting school, where she was taught, as a 6'3" actress, to shrink any expectations of glamorous work. "Part of my training was to always be in service of an idea greater than yourself," she says over the phone. "But I don't think actors can say, 'I'm definitely going to change things.' You can hope, and hopefully it will happen."
Gwendoline wears a dress by Giles and shoes by Jimmy Choo for Giles. Photo by Charlotte Rutherford.
It did: in her twenties, Christie tickled her agent with a pipe dream of ditching theatre for TV; a few years later, she'd muscled into HBO's Game of Thrones as Brienne of Tarth. The outcast warrior soon became a fan favorite, and it's no wonder: amid messy politics and corrupt patriarchies, her honor is as true as her sword. "I never expected her to be so loved," Christie says, chuckling. "I just assumed people would champion the more conventional women."
Since then Christie's empire has rapidly expanded with her roles as Commander Lyme in the latest
Hunger Games, and as toppled Episode VII: The Force Awakens villain Captain Phasma, rumored to bounce back in Episode VIII. Christie has even adorned fashion shows by Vivienne Westwood and Iris van Herpen. What's driving her? "Every single person has felt either a connection to or alienation from what's happening in popular culture," she says. "And there's something very pleasing about defying convention."
Hair by David Wadlow at Premier Hair and Makeup / Makeup by Andrew Gallimore @ CLM Hair & Makeup for NARS Cosmetics / Manicure by Zarra Celik.