Browse all

All about Gwendoline Christie

From filmography to relationship with fashion

All about Gwendoline Christie From filmography to relationship with fashion

Blonde, with alabaster skin, tall, and charismatic. Gwendoline Christie is famous for bringing strong and unconventional characters to the screen, such as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones, often alternating her acting career with a passion for fashion. Just these days, she made headlines with her performance on the runway at the Maison Margiela Artisanal SS24 show. For the Haute Couture created by John Galliano, she transformed into a decadent porcelain doll inspired by the early 20th-century muses of Kees van Dongen and the photographs of Brassaï. Her images in a latex corset, white stockings, heels, a blonde wig with Victorian curls, and highly dramatic makeup, created by Pat McGrath, circulated on the web, amid many positive reviews of the show and inquiries about the techniques to achieve the star's glass skin. Now that she has captured everyone's attention, let's get to know Gwendoline better, her life, and her career.

From artistic gymnastics to acting

Gwendoline Tracey Philippa Christie was born on October 28, 1978, in Worthing, United Kingdom, under the zodiac sign of Scorpio. For a brief moment, she wanted to become a nun, but her early passions were always dance and artistic gymnastics, which she started studying as a child. She became a semi-professional gymnast when a serious spinal injury forced her to abandon that career. As often happens, when one door closes, another one opens, and so it was for Gwendoline. The revelation came at the age of 15 thanks to Shakespeare. In school, as a teenager, she played the role of Lady Macbeth in front of an enthusiastic crowd and realized that there was another possible future for her. So, she enrolled in the Drama Centre in London, the same school where Paul Bettany, Emilia Clarke, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy also studied. In 2005, at the age of 27, she graduated and landed her first role in a production of Great Expectations by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Despite her new life as an actress, Gwendoline never abandoned dance, relying on dancer Harry Alexander to help her prepare for roles and with acting related to body language.

Success thanks to Game of Thrones

The turning point for Christie came in July 2011, thanks to Game of Thrones. At the time, she had appeared in Parnassus – The Man Who Wanted to Cheat the Devil, and fans of the books, upon hearing about a series based on the work of R.R. Martin, had suggested her name for Brienne of Tarth. Learning about this, the actress decided to transform into the character, monitoring the process on social media to attract the attention of those working on the project. She read the novels, cut her hair, started practicing yoga and kickboxing, took horseback riding and sword fighting lessons, gained 6 kilograms, all in muscles, and adapted her style to that of a warrior. The result? The casting director saw her while performing in Great Expectations, and after an reportedly impressive audition, wanted her in the series. Thus, on April 15, 2012, Christie made her debut in the third episode of the second season of Game of Thrones, earning critical and audience approval for her portrayal of the warrior Brienne of Tarth. "To be involved in something that is genuinely challenging gender stereotyping is what I’ve always wanted. I don’t have to worry about whether I look attractive. Brienne looks like a bag of dung – that’s the character and that’s fine – so I can focus on other things.", said the actress, adding: "I felt like we had never seen a woman like that on television or in the world of entertainment before then. What I liked about Brienne is that she was able to overcome her circumstances and triumph. The idea of the triumph of that marginalized person was glorious".

Other movies and TV series where we've seen Gwendoline Christie

Before Game of Thrones, Gwendoline had collected a series of small roles, especially in theater. After the HBO series, she played Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, Lexi in Wizards vs Aliens, and Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Jane Campion specifically created the role of Sydney police officer Miranda Hilmarson for her in the second season of Top of the Lake. She portrayed Jane Murdstone in The Personal History of David Copperfield, Teresa in Our Friend, and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons / Titania, Queen of the Fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Evie in the miniseries Dirty Diana. She also appeared in The Darkest Minds, directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, and Welcome to Marwen, directed by Robert Zemeckis. In 2021, she played the role of Lucifer in The Sandman, and in 2022, Christie portrayed Larissa Weems, the headmistress of the Nevermore Academy, in the Netflix series Wednesday. "I have never felt conventional. I am naturally attracted to the marginalized; to outsiders", said Christie, specifying that the character created by Tim Burton "It's the first time I've felt beautiful on screen. It was an opportunity to create and inhabit that kind of impenetrable and imperious character, but with that classic idea of femininity".

The (mutual) love for the world of fashion

"I have loved fashion and design since I was a child. During my puberty, I realized that they offered me an escape, a transformation, an opportunity to see the world with different eyes. I love skilled and, above all, imaginative designers", said Christie. And the world of fashion has always reciprocated her love. The star is not accustomed to flaunting extravagant dresses on the red carpet, aided by stylist Jerry Stafford or her partner, designer Giles Deacon, but also during fashion weeks. The actress is often a guest in the front rows and has several times taken to the runway as a model. Before Game of Thrones, she posed for Australian photographer Polly Borland in a series titled Bunny, but her true debut in fashion was during Paris Fashion Week for the FW15 show by Vivienne Westwood, with a show inspired by unisex clothing and the questioning of gender roles in society. Christie was also the face of Westwood's Unisex campaign, while two years later, she was among the star guests at Fashion for Relief, a charity fashion show hosted by Naomi Campbell during the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. She wore a voluminous and colorful creation for the FW19 by Tomo Koizumi and joined Uma Thurman, Kate Bosworth, Chloë Sevigny, Sadie Sink, and Rowan Blanchard in the resort 2019 runway of Miu Miu. For the SS23 by Thom Browne, she transformed into a modern Prince Charming, and closed Maison Margiela's spring 2024 couture show in Paris with a look inspired by porcelain dolls.

The relationship with height

Gwendoline Christie is 5 feet 9 inches tall. Which has not always made life easy for her. Neither at work nor in her private life. "There have been times in my life when I've struggled-with which millions of other people have struggled-with feeling isolated, feeling ugly, and feeling that I had to overcome the fact that I looked different from other people. They would not have chosen me often, in fact they would not have chosen me at all at the end of the last century. But now, thanks to movies centered on heroic women, the consequence is that I am chosen, either as a friend of the main character, or as an antagonist." Her stature has also made her life complicated in love so much so that she has developed a theory: the idea that a man should be taller than his partner is linked to patriarchy and the notion that men should always be more powerful. "If I can help change that, then it will be an achievement to be proud of. No one should be judged, first and foremost, by their height." Not just disadvantages. Height does, however, have in its merits. It is why Polly Borland wanted her for a series of photographs called Bunny, in which she explores her body through different perspectives. Posing for the photographer has helped her gain self-confidence.