Her portrayal of the heroine Brienne of Tarth in the HBO series Game Of Thrones has earned her feminist icon status worldwide.
Not least because success has been as hard fought for actress Gwendoline Christie, 38, who said she put mental and physical preparation into achieving the role.
Speaking to Radio Times this week, the 6ft3 Star Wars actress described how she began to favour unisex sportswear and trained in everything from yoga and kickboxing after hearing about the heroic character from friends.
After reading the source novels by George RR Martin herself, she saw her opportunity and now admits she thought: ‘This is what I want!’
‘I lost a lot of weight,’ she recalled. ‘I got a trainer, I did kickboxing, Kundalini yoga, running.
Gwendoline continued: ‘I used to have long hair and wear make-up and feminine clothes, so I started wearing unisex sportswear, working on changing the way that I walked and moved.’
Similarities to the character: It was not until friends of hers told her about the character Brienne in the George RR Martin books that Gwendoline managed to get her big break (pictured in Season 3)
Luckily, her dedication impressed the producers, and her performance as tough but secretly vulnerable Brienne has subsequently been embraced by the viewers.
Since earning cult status as the knight who’s more than a match for many male counterparts, Gwendoline has been able to kick on in the industry.
As with many other Game of Thrones actors, Christie’s star has now skyrocketed.
Immersed in the role: Gwendoline’s (here this week) dedication and performance impressed the Game of Thrones producers, as well as the viewers, who have completely embraced the tough but secretly vulnerable Brienne
Bleak times came early and often, with Christie feeling as if she was being ruled out of certain parts because of the way she looked
‘I have always wanted to bring light to characters who often feel like they aren’t seen, who don’t fit in,’ she says.
‘And while I’ve loved every moment of being on Game of Thrones, I was desperate to play something different.
‘It was very interesting for me to inhabit a character in Top of the Lake who isn’t very good at anything – who is failing at life.’
But while the good times – and good parts – are now rolling in, it wasn’t always plain sailing for the statuesque actress.