Bella Ramsey is an international star. The 19-year-old nonbinary actor made a splash as one of the only redeeming aspects of the flop final seasons of Game of Thrones with their charming performance as Lyanna Mormont, the feisty head of the House of Mormont. More recently they jumped back into the cultural conversation for their stunning performance as Ellie, the equally feisty teen in HBO’s adaptation of the post-apocalyptic video game The Last of Us, co-starring Pedro Pascal. 

But before the fame came, Ramsey struggled to get work as a child actor due to their appearance. In an interview that resurfaced and went viral over the weekend after it was shared by Twitter user (and notable Bella Ramsey fan) @sourkettle, the actor opened up about their early career. 

“I was told in one of my first auditions ever that the director really liked me, but I didn’t get the part because I didn’t have the ‘Hollywood look,'” they said. “And that’s something that I’ve always found very interesting.”

Bella Ramsey and her The Last of Us co-star Pedro Pascal at the show’s premiere in January 2023.

Rodin Eckenroth

In a recent interview with GQ, Ramsey discussed the trolls that “taunted” them due to their appearance after her casting as Ellie on The Last of Us was announced. There were calls on social media for Ramsey to quit the role before shooting even started, simply because certain fans of the video game did not believe that Ramsey’s resemblance to the video game version of Ellie was good enough. “You’re looking for a comment that’s more painful than the last one, I’d kid myself that I was doing it in jest,” they told GQ of the toxic online discourse. “I wish I could say that I was confident enough [already] that it hasn’t affected me in any way, but it has.”

Ramsey is certainly not the first actor to experience such discrimination for their looks due to a ridiculous standard. Last year, fellow Brit Florence Pugh revealed that when she was 19, she was asked to lose weight and alter the appearance of her face for a role on a television show. “All the things that they were trying to change about me—whether it was my weight, my look, the shape of my face, the shape of my eyebrows—that was so not what I wanted to do, or the industry I wanted to work in,” Pugh said.