“When you’re held in a state of love by your friends, you can achieve anything”—Gwendoline Christie

Known for playing fierce, subversive characters, actor Gwendoline Christie of 'Game of Thrones' talks about the support network that has helped fuel her success.

Harper's Bazaar India

“I’ve never really felt conventional. I’m naturally drawn to misfits, to outsiders,” Gwendoline Christie tells Harper’s Bazaar. Today, we’re on set with the Emmy-nominated actor who has been widely celebrated for her portrayal of complex, multifaceted, and non-conformist women, from the stern matriarch Jan Stevens in Flux Gourmet to the formidable Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. “As an artist, I’ve always been interested in what exists in the margins—the untold stories. It’s where I feel most at home.”

Christie has seen her fame grow exponentially in recent years, following major roles in Netflix’s Wednesday and The Sandman. While her talent and magnetism are undeniable—she’s articulate, charming, and possesses a thunderous laugh—we’re meeting with the actor to explore the notion that behind every successful individual, there is a team of supporters helping to raise them up, drive them forward, and unlock their full potential. “That love you feel from your friends, and for the people who go out of their way to help you, can be transformative,” she says.

Bazaar joins Christie as she embarks on a journey with Porsche to illustrate how, together, we can go further—a concept that she and the luxury car brand believe in passionately. Along the way, we’re meeting three talented creatives who have played a significant role in the actress’s life, both personally and professionally. 

The Colourist

Christie met the celebrity colourist Josh Wood in 2018, after filming her final scenes for Game of Thrones. “Gwendoline’s hair was very short and very bleached,” recalls Wood. After seven years of playing a character synonymous with androgyny, Christie sought a transformation that would enable her to reconnect with her femininity, so the pair worked together to give her the look she’d been coveting for years—soft, long, and pale platinum. “I wanted hair that felt more authentically ‘me’.”

At 6’3”, Christie has spoken openly about her struggles with being accepted as an actress. While Wood praises Christie’s ‘wicked sense of humour’, she says her relationship with him has been more than just physically transformative. “Josh is an incredibly kind person and a brilliant listener. He’s given me the gift of self-acceptance. He’s helped me to feel beautiful,” she says.

The Dancer

As a child, Christie loved to dance. “It’s the ultimate marriage of discipline and freedom,” she says. A fan of Harry Alexander’s work for many years, in 2020, she asked him to become her movement coach. “I found such inspiration in Harry’s performances and wanted to learn from him.”

Previously a dancer at Sadler’s Wells, Alexander describes the role as his dream job. “I was very flattered,” he remembers. “I’d watched Gwendoline in Game of Thrones but, in real life, she was so much bubblier and more engaging than I’d imagined.” Alexander now helps Christie prepare for roles, supporting her in the language of physicality. “Harry’s taught me so much about posture, gesture, and where we hold energy,” she says. “Inevitably, this has flowed into my everyday life. He’s drawn me out of myself and given me more confidence. He’s allowed me to embrace who I am and how I was born. I walk taller as a result of knowing him.”

The Chef

Christie’s friendship with chef Margot Henderson, co-founder of Rochelle Canteen in London’s Shoreditch, first blossomed 15 years ago. Of their first meeting, Henderson says: “I think I fell in love.”

Henderson has since witnessed Christie’s rise to fame after helping her land her breakout role as Miranda Hilmarson in Top of the Lake by facilitating a conversation with her friend, the screenwriter Jane Campion. For Henderson, what’s important is nurturing the support networks that allow us to flourish. “We all need encouragement,” she says. “Gwendoline feels she’s an oddity, but by playing unconventional women, she gives young girls a different type of role model.”

As our journey with Christie draws to a close, the actress reflects: “I’m very lucky with the friends I have. Josh, Harry, and Margot are so accomplished, just being around them pushes me to keep growing. When you’re held in a state of love by your friends, you can achieve anything.”

Feature Image: @thegwenmuseum/Instagram

This piece originally appeared in the Dec 2023/Jan 2024 issue of Harper's Bazaar UK.