(Photo: Getty Images)
You probably know Gwendoline Christie as Game of Thrones' Brienne of Tarth and Star Wars' Captain Phasma. She's an actress who can be tough, vulnerable and funny all at the same time. This week she returns in the dark comedy movie Flux Gourmet.
Here are 10 things you may not know about this ultra-talented Brit:
1. She was told her height would limit her acting career.
Christie, who stands at 6ft 3, recalled in an interview with news.com.au: "I went to a brilliant drama school but was made aware that I would probably never work because I didn’t look the same as most actors." Even her agent tried to manage her expectations, with her saying, "I had done a lot of theater, but when I told my agent that I’d love to work on screen, he said, 'Well, good luck with that.'"
2. Happily, she has now fully embraced her height.
Christie has gone beyond putting up with people's cruel jokes about her stature. "Up until a year ago, I would still entertain the notion that I was a freak, that I was really androgynous, that we should all make jokes about it," Christie told Love Magazine in 2020. "But actually I didn't regard myself as particularly androgynous, simply taller than the average woman. Because being tall is seen as some kind of blessing, people think it's OK to humiliate you and make jokes about you being of indeterminate gender, but I don't feel the need to reduce myself in that way anymore, and I don't think I need to allow other people to be reductive about me in that way."
3. Tilda Swinton helped to make her believe she could become an actress.
Christie was inspired by Swinton because, like her, she didn't fit the mold of what a typical film star looks like. "When I saw Tilda Swinton in Orlando, and I watched this incredible woman that was so pale and so unlike the kind of Hollywood actors I was used to seeing, I remember thinking, ‘Well, she is in a film, she is otherworldly, and is definitely outside of the room,'" Swinton told news.com.au. "I realized that maybe there is a place for me too."
4. She's also a massive fan of Madonna.
Christie has idolized the pop singer since she was eight years old. "It's not because she's an amazing, incredible icon, but also because of what she represents. She's refused to comply with pre-existing forms of how women should be presented in society. She's been defiant in that," Christie told stuff.co.nz. "A woman who continues to dismantle prejudices about ageing, about gender and I think the role she's played in society shouldn't be underestimated."
You can watch Christie dancing with Madonna on stage here, but be warned that the clip contains that very salty language.
5. Before her acting career took off, she worked as a research assistant for Simon Callow.
Christie told The Guardian that as soon as she arrived at Callow's house for an interview, "kindness poured out of him." Callow later helped to build Christie's confidence as an actor by dishing out tough love and constructive criticism. "At the time I was scared to say that I wanted to be an artist," Christie recalled. "I was scared of how that sounded. That it was naff, or a cliché, or corny. That it wasn’t realistic. Simon would say: 'Be an artist.' He came to my plays and gave me feedback. Which, sometimes, could be incredibly near the knuckle."
6. She also moonlighted as a model.
In 2003, Christie appeared on the cover of "Strict Machine," a single by British electronic band Goldfrapp. You can check out the cover featuring Christie in a rabbit mask here.
7. When she was growing up, she had kind of a weird crush.
The objection of her affection? Basil Brush, a glove puppet fox who's been a favorite on British children's TV since the 1960s. Christie shared her unlikely crush during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show guest hosted by Jack Whitehall.
8. Back in 2019, she submitted herself for an Emmy nomination when HBO opted not to.
Christie's proactive approach paid off when she duly received a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. "I checked that it wasn’t an inappropriate thing to do, and I was told it wasn't," she told the Los Angeles Times. "People submit themselves all the time. I truly never expected it to manifest in a nomination and I don’t think anybody else did either. But I just had to do it for me. And I had to do it as a testament to the character [Brienne of Tarth] and what I feel she represents."
9. Her partner is award-winning British fashion designer Giles Deacon.
In interviews, Christie doesn't often talk about Deacon, her partner of around nine years, but she did tell British Vogue: "He’s an extraordinary person, he works with such great sensitivity, and he’s unafraid of making woman bold and intelligent."
10. And finally, she was once asked for a selfie in a restaurant bathroom.
We knew Game of Thrones fans were intense, but not quite as intense as this. As Christie recalled on The Graham Norton Show, the selfie request came at the most awkward moment imaginable.
Do you have a favorite Gwendoline Christie performance?