How ‘Game of Thrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie became the first female Stormtrooper

Gwendoline Christie, star wars, sdcc
Gwendoline Christie at San Diego Comic-Con. Michael Buckner/Getty

Gwendoline Christie, best known as the indomitable Brienne of Tarth on “Game of Thrones,” is the feminist hero you’re looking for.

Later this year, the Sussex-born actress appears as the first female Stormtrooper in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” She joins another blockbuster franchise this holiday season via “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2.”

In honour of Christie’s breakout success, we’re taking a look back at her meteoric rise to fame.

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”/#born-october-28-1978-gwendoline-christie-grew-up-in-the-countryside-of-sussex-england-1″
title=”Born October 28, 1978, Gwendoline Christie grew up in the countryside of Sussex, England.”
content=”Source: Stylist
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964add0895cf758b459a”
source=”iStock”
caption=”Sussex, England.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#rhythmic-gymnastics-was-her-passion-from-the-age-of-seven-i-had-quite-a-strict-upbringing-christie-told-stylist-so-it-was-an-opportunity-to-be-totally-free-2″
title=”Rhythmic gymnastics was her passion from the age of seven. ‘I had quite a strict upbringing,’ Christie told Stylist, ‘so it was an opportunity to be totally free.'”
content=”Source: Stylist
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964add0895cf758b459b”
source=”Ezra Shaw/Getty”
caption=”A rhythmic gymnast competes at the 2015 Pan Am Games.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#on-the-fast-track-to-the-professional-circuit-at-11-christie-sustained-a-back-injury-that-strained-her-spinal-muscles-she-was-told-shed-never-dance-at-that-level-again-3″
title=”On the fast-track to the professional circuit, at 11, Christie sustained a back injury that strained her spinal muscles. She was told she’d never dance at that level again.”
content=”Source: Access Hollywood
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964add0895cf758b459c”
source=”Matthias Hangst/Getty”
caption=”Rhythmic gymnasts wait to compete at the Baku 2015 European Games.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#christie-quickly-corrected-course-marilyn-monroes-performance-in-1956s-rom-com-bus-stop-convinced-her-to-try-acting-4″
title=”Christie quickly corrected course. Marilyn Monroe’s performance in 1956’s rom-com ‘Bus Stop’ convinced her to try acting.”
content=”Source: Stylist
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964add0895cf758b459d”
source=”Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation”
caption=”Don Murray and Marilyn Monroe in ‘Bus Stop.'”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#acting-couldnt-be-further-from-the-existence-i-knew-but-thats-what-i-wanted-christie-says-to-her-surprise-her-father-who-worked-in-sales-and-marketing-before-his-death-and-her-stay-at-home-mom-gave-their-unconditional-support-5″
title=”‘Acting couldn’t be further from the existence I knew, but that’s what I wanted,’ Christie says. To her surprise, her father, who worked in sales and marketing before his death, and her stay-at-home mum gave their unconditional support.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964add0895cf758b459e”
source=”iStock”
caption=”Hastings Old Town outside Sussex, England.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#at-15-christie-took-on-the-role-of-lady-macbeth-in-shakespeares-macbeth-and-felt-she-found-what-she-was-supposed-to-do-in-life-6″
title=”At 15, Christie took on the role of Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and felt she found what she was supposed to do in life.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964add0895cf758b459f”
source=”Wikimedia Commons”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#she-studied-at-the-infamous-drama-centre-london-whose-alumni-include-michael-fassbender-colin-firth-and-future-game-of-thrones-castmate-emilia-clarke-7″
title=”She studied at the infamous Drama Centre London, whose alumni include Michael Fassbender, Colin Firth, and future ‘Game of Thrones’ castmate Emilia Clarke.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964add0895cf758b45a0″
source=”Google Street View”
caption=”Drama Centre London.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-schools-rigor-earned-it-the-nickname-trauma-center-i-was-told-i-was-rubbish-all-day-every-day-christie-says-but-really-that-prepares-you-for-the-amount-of-rejection-you-get-on-the-job-8″
title=”The school’s rigour earned it the nickname Trauma Center. ‘I was told I was rubbish all day, every day,’ Christie says. ‘But really that prepares you for the amount of rejection you get on the job.'”
content=”Sources: Wall Street Journal and Stylish
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964add0895cf758b45a1″
source=”Facebook/platformtheatre”
caption=”The Platform Theatre, where the Drama Centre London stages many of its shows.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#christie-stood-at-six-three-and-her-height-soon-became-an-obstacle-casting-directors-turned-her-away-because-she-was-too-tall-9″
title=”Christie stood at six-three, and her height soon became an obstacle. Casting directors turned her away because she was too tall.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964add0895cf758b45a2″
source=”Twitter/lovegwendoline and twitpic”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://twitter.com/lovegwendoline/status/742350011764736″
]
[slide
permalink=”/#in-an-attempt-to-appear-more-feminine-christie-wore-makeup-heels-and-long-hair-coincidentally-it-was-an-aesthetic-she-liked-10″
title=”In an attempt to appear more feminine, Christie wore makeup, heels, and long hair. Coincidentally, it was an aesthetic she liked.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45a3″
source=”Twitter/lovegwendoline”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://twitter.com/lovegwendoline”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#at-one-stage-i-was-like-ill-give-this-another-six-months-and-if-this-persists-ill-become-a-nun-christie-jokes-she-says-the-effortless-wardrobe-and-free-food-appealed-to-her-11″
title=”‘At one stage I was like, ‘I’ll give this another six months and if this persists, I’ll become a nun,’ Christie jokes. She says the effortless wardrobe and free food appealed to her.”
content=”Source: Stylist
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45a4″
source=”Robert Wise Productions/”The Sound of Music””
caption=”Julie Andrews plays a nun in ‘The Sound of Music.'”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#as-a-student-she-modeled-nude-for-australian-photographer-polly-borland-in-a-series-entitled-bunny-christie-says-the-experience-helped-her-come-to-terms-with-her-body-12″
title=”As a student, she modelled nude for Australian photographer Polly Borland in a series entitled ‘Bunny.’ Christie says the experience helped her come to terms with her body.”
content=”

Christie poses in a body suit and pantyhose to parody the iconic Playboy bunnies.

Source: Independent
image=””
source=””
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#it-became-her-mission-to-take-on-roles-that-challenge-notions-of-femininity-and-what-it-is-to-be-a-woman-her-size-couldnt-hold-her-back-13″
title=”It became her mission to take on roles that challenge notions of femininity and what it is to be a woman. Her size couldn’t hold her back.”
content=”Source: Stylist
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45a5″
source=”Twitter/lovegwendoline and twitpic”
caption=””
credit_href=”http://twitpic.com/2errcl”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#she-made-her-theater-debut-in-2005-in-royal-shakespeare-companys-great-expectations-and-later-landed-roles-in-british-productions-of-gilgamesh-and-breakfast-at-tiffanys-14″
title=”She made her theatre debut in 2005 in Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘Great Expectations,’ and later landed roles in British productions of ‘Gilgamesh’ and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.'”
content=”Source: Screenrant
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45a6″
source=”Flickr/Phil Dolby”
caption=”Royal Shakespeare Company.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#her-only-role-in-a-major-movie-came-in-2009-when-she-was-cast-in-terry-gilliams-the-imaginarium-of-doctor-parnassus-her-imdb-credit-says-classy-shopper-2-15″
title=”Her only role in a major movie came in 2009, when she was cast in Terry Gilliam’s ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.’ Her IMDb credit says ‘Classy Shopper 2.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45a7″
source=”Infinity Features Entertainment/”The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus””
caption=”Christie towers over her castmates in ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.'”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#at-last-in-2010-word-spread-the-producers-of-a-hit-hbo-fantasy-drama-game-of-thrones-were-casting-the-role-of-brienne-of-tarth-for-season-two-16″
title=”At last, in 2010, word spread the producers of a hit HBO fantasy drama ‘Game of Thrones’ were casting the role of Brienne of Tarth for season two.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45a8″
source=”Frederick M. Brown/Getty”
caption=”Writer George R.R. Martin and writer-executive producer David Benioff speak at a 2011 HBO press tour.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#in-author-george-rr-martins-a-song-of-ice-and-fire-brienne-is-a-female-knight-who-fights-valiantly-demands-respect-from-her-male-peers-and-gives-herself-fully-to-those-who-earn-her-loyalty-17″
title=”In author George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Song Of Ice And Fire,’ Brienne is a female knight who fights valiantly, demands respect from her male peers, and gives herself fully to those who earn her loyalty.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45a9″
source=”Helen Sloan/HBO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-series-fans-threw-their-support-in-online-forums-behind-casting-christie-for-the-role-she-took-to-twitter-to-lobby–hard-18″
title=”The series’ fans threw their support in online forums behind casting Christie for the role. She took to Twitter to lobby — hard.”
content=”Source: Stylist
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45aa”
source=”Twitter/lovegwendoline”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://twitter.com/lovegwendoline?lang=en”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#i-wanted-the-part-so-very-badly-because-from-reading-the-books-the-character-was-so-like-elements-of-myself-christie-says-ive-not-come-across-a-part-like-this-before-whereby-the-complexities-of-being-an-extremely-tall-woman-are-explored-19″
title=”‘I wanted the part so very badly because from reading the books the character was so like elements of myself,’ Christie says. ‘I’ve not come across a part like this before, whereby the complexities of being an extremely tall woman are explored.'”
content=”Source: GamesRadar
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45ab”
source=”hbo.com”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#christie-lost-over-20-pounds-and-gained-it-back-in-muscle-in-preparation-for-her-audition-she-traded-blouses-and-skirts-for-androgynous-clothing-20″
title=”Christie lost over 20 pounds and gained it back in muscle in preparation for her audition. She traded blouses and skirts for androgynous clothing.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45ac”
source=”HBO via YouTube”
caption=”Christie appears in a ‘Game of Thrones’ audition reel.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#but-by-then-her-fate-was-already-sealed-the-shows-casting-director-saw-christie-perform-in-great-expectations-and-was-convinced-they-found-their-brienne-she-got-the-part-21″
title=”But by then, her fate was already sealed. The show’s casting director saw Christie perform in ‘Great Expectations’ and was convinced they found their Brienne. She got the part.”
content=”Source: Stylist
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45ad”
source=”Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#christie-has-since-become-a-fan-favorite-winning-hearts-for-her-valor-and-for-challenging-gender-stereotypes-22″
title=”Christie has since become a fan favourite, winning hearts for her valor and for challenging gender stereotypes.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45ae”
source=”Helen Sloan/HBO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#now-christies-movie-career-is-taking-off-this-november-she-appears-as-commander-lyme-in-the-hunger-games-mockingjay–part-2-23″
title=”Now, Christie’s movie career is taking off. This November, she appears as Commander Lyme in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45af”
source=”Murray Close/Lionsgate”
caption=”Jennifer Lawrence.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#in-the-books-lyme-is-a-former-champion-in-the-hunger-games-who-serves-as-a-military-leader-in-district-13-katniss-describes-her-a-muscular-woman-with-an-unforgettable-face-24″
title=”In the books, Lyme is a former champion in the Hunger Games who serves as a military leader in District 13. Katniss describes her a muscular woman with an unforgettable face.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45b0″
source=”YouTube/Lionsgate”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da-DeX0c3Qc”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#and-in-december-christie-takes-on-what-could-be-a-career-defining-role-in-star-wars-the-force-awakens-she-plays-captain-phasma-the-franchises-first-female-stormtrooper-25″
title=”Christie took on what could be a career-defining role in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ She plays Captain Phasma, the franchise’s first female Stormtrooper.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45b1″
source=”Disney/Lucasfilm”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#captain-phasma-is-no-ordinary-stormtrooper-she-wears-chrome-armor-and-a-tattered-black-cape-26″
title=”Captain Phasma is no ordinary Stormtrooper. She wears chrome armour and a tattered black cape.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964bdd0895cf758b45b2″
source=”Disney/Lucasfilm”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#phasma-serves-on-the-first-order-a-military-group-inspired-by-the-galactic-empire-27″
title=”Phasma serves on the First Order, a military group inspired by the Galactic Empire.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964cdd0895cf758b45b3″
source=”Disney/Lucasfilm”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#christie-worked-with-director-jj-abrams-to-carve-out-the-character-the-armor-she-says-allows-her-to-focus-on-body-language-and-voice-not-looking-beautiful-28″
title=”Christie worked with director J.J. Abrams to carve out the character. The armour, she says, allows her to focus on body language and voice, not looking beautiful.”
content=”Source: Variety
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964cdd0895cf758b45b4″
source=”Jesse Grant/Getty”
caption=”Gwendoline Christie and Daisy Ridley.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#it-felt-familiar-i-dont-think-many-female-actors-get-the-opportunity-to-play-a-part-where-theyre-not-having-to-think-about-the-way-their-face-looks-christie-says-but-i-found-exactly-the-same-thing-with-brienne-of-tarth-and-that-was-very-liberating-29″
title=”It felt familiar. ‘I don’t think many female actors get the opportunity to play a part where they’re not having to think about the way their face looks,’ Christie says, ‘but I found exactly the same thing with Brienne of Tarth, and that was very liberating.'”
content=”Source: Variety
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964cdd0895cf758b45b5″
source=”Helen Sloan/HBO”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#we-dont-know-whats-next-for-christie-right-now-shes-juggling-press-tours-for-both-films-while-also-filming-season-six-of-game-of-thrones-overseas-30″
title=”We don’t know what’s next for Christie. Right now, she’s juggling press tours and interviews while also filming ‘Game of Thrones’ overseas.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964cdd0895cf758b45b6″
source=”Kevin Winter/Getty”
caption=”Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendoline Christie.”
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#with-two-more-major-franchises-in-her-pocket-christie-is-a-rising-star-to-watch-31″
title=”With two more major franchises in her pocket, Christie is a rising star to watch.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5637964cdd0895cf758b45b7″
source=”Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[/slideshow]