Gwendoline Christie – At 6’3“ cm to fame in Hollywood

„Sorry, dear, you’re too tall.“ – The road to her successful roles in „Game of Thrones,“ „Hunger Games“ and „Star Wars“ was not easy for British actress Gwendoline Christie. Neither was her path to accepting herself as she is.

Because the actress is impressively tall at 6 foot, 3 inches. With high heels, which she now likes to wear, Gwendoline reaches the two meters. We tell her story because tall women have finally arrived in the film business traditionally characterized more by small actors.

„If I’m outside the party, I’ll just have my own party.“

For many years, however, for Gwendoline, now 45, her size was a problem. As a child, she loved dancing and gymnastics, but because of her size, she had to stop at age eleven: „I was working out too much and growing very fast. My body decided it couldn’t do it anymore.“

By the age of 14, Gwendoline was already close to 6 foot tall. This caused her to stand out from her peers, feeling ridiculed and unaccepted by them. She felt like an outsider and solved this problem by changing her attitude: „There was something in me that just decided: well, if I’m going to stand outside the party, then I’ll just have my own party. Because what else was I going to do? Make the most of it.“

At age 15, Gwendoline starred in the school play „Lady Macbeth“ and, despite her shyness, decided she wanted to be an actress.

„Sorry, dear, you’re too tall.“

After graduating from school, Gwendoline learned the acting profession at Drama Centre London. Her teachers warned her that it would be difficult for her to even find roles with her size. In a world where there are predominantly only short, male actors, a 6’3“ tall woman would have a hard time. 

Looking back, it was a difficult time for Gwendoline: „It wasn’t always so great. I found it so frustrating, especially in the beginning, because I was always told, ‚Sorry, dear, you’re too tall.‘ At some point, I thought, I’ll give it another six months.“

When the future star was 24, she discovered photographer Polly Borland and invited her to model for her photography project. This work made Gwendoline famous and helped her love her body, accept her femininity and enjoy the attention.

Gwendoline got her first film roles relatively late, at the age of 29. She made her film debut in a little-known fantasy drama. Then came her role as the combative Brienne of Tarth in „Game of Thrones.“ A role that meant a lot to her, „What I loved about Brienne was that she was able to overcome her circumstances and often triumph. The idea of this marginalized person triumphing was glorious.“

Emmy nomination, Fashion Week appearances, and Netflix series

For her role in „Game of Thrones,“ Gwendoline not only received a fee of $150,000 per episode but was also nominated for an „Emmy“ in 2019, the „Oscar“ of the TV business. Gwendoline continues to be seen in successful productions, such as currently in the Netflix series „Sandman“ and „Wednesday“. 

Parallel to her acting career, she also built a successful career as a model and often appears at fashion shows, such as the Fashion Weeks in Paris and New York. In 2015 she became the face of the brand Vivienne Westwood and the fashion of designer Giles Deacon. She has also been in a private relationship with him for 10 years. (Side note: Giles is 6’1“ tall). 

Looking back, she attributes her success to her aggressive approach to the obvious: „Either you’re ashamed of not fitting in, or you accept what you have and make the best of it.“

Elisabeth Debecki – The 6’3“ Princess Diana

Gwendoline Christie is no longer the only very tall woman with success in Hollywood. In the fifth and sixth seasons of the blockbuster series „The Crown“, the six foot, three inches tall Australian Elisabeth Debecki even got the role of the 5’10“ m tall Princess Diana.

Elisabeth had similar experiences to Gwendoline Christie during her teenage years. „It’s almost inevitable that my height will come up in conversation. I realized there’s nothing I can do about it,“ she says.

„I’m very tall, and when you’re a teenager, you want to be like everyone else. So, I used to try to make myself smaller a lot. It’s very human to want to be part of the crowd at that stage of life and not want to stand out. In that, you just have to accept it, otherwise, it will be a burden your whole life.“

A comparable attitude to that of Gwendoline Christie. And like the latter, Elisabeth now considers it a great advantage that she immediately makes an unforgettable impression with her height. The success proves them both right.

Read post in German

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Image on top: Gwendoline Christie bei der Game of Thrones Premiere at Radio City Music Hall, April 3, 2019. Photo von Sachyn Mital. Sachyn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Image in center: Gwendoline Christie bei San Diego Comic-Con 2017. Photo von Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Image below: Elisabeth Debecki; Photo von Eva Rinaldi, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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