Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams recently gave a TEDx Talk aimed at creative people entitled “Don’t strive to be famous, strive to be talented.” The English actress can boast being an Emmy nominee as well an entrepreneur even though she’s just 22 years of age and, as she says, has no formal qualifications to her name.

In a world where any person can become a viral sensation thanks to social media platforms, and garnering many hits or likes can bring about a sense of self-worth and overnight fame, Williams is hoping to promote deeper connections between individuals in the creative world. In 2018, she and her friend, Dom Santry, self-funded and launched their first version of an app called Daisie designed to connect people who are pursuing a career in the arts, TV, film, photography, fashion, music, and literature.

“Our main goal is to have a community of artists that are collaborating, uploading their work and sharing their projects … helping others create their careers,” Williams says. Daisy users can add contacts who share similar interests and yet are gifted with skills that are different but mutually beneficial for future projects. “Actors are only as strong as their writers; musicians are only as strong as their producers; and designers need their teams,” Maisie insists.

When Maisie and Dom’s first version was released, they received feedback from the app users saying it was glitchy and problematic. Absorbing the criticism, the duo increased the size of the app’s creators to address the issues. And the second version of Daisie will be launching in April. The app represents another tool in the toolkit for talent who otherwise often feel dependant on an established circle of producers and industry professionals. Maisie says:

“The industry is built with gatekeepers holding all of the power and selecting who they deem talented enough to advance to the next level. More often than not, it’s easier to catch the attention of those people if you have graduated from an expensive school. But even then, I have so many friends who are fresh out of art school, having trained for years and are still no closer to creating a career … I want to encourage people to create a list of contacts that they will work with and support as they take their first steps into the fickle and often challenging creative world.”

Maisie acknowledges that luck and time were on her side when at the age of 12 she was cast as Arya Stark of Winterfell in the HBO series Game of Thrones. She was plucked from a crowd of 300 auditioning young actresses, and it was only her second acting audition.

“I had a Bristolian accent and dark rings around my eyes that were so big they took up half my face, and a hole in the knee of my trousers which I tried to cover with my left hand as I was talking to the kind lady who taped my audition. But as soon as she pressed record, it all drifted away … I harnessed all of my insecurities and self-doubt and let it flow through the words that came out of my mouth. I was cheeky. I was loud. I was angry. And for this, I was perfect,” she recalls.

The series would go on to become enormously popular and, in fact, it currently holds the Emmy-award record for a scripted television series. Maisie grew up before the fantasy drama’s fans over the course of a decade. But now she’s onto a new phase of her life because Game of Thrones is concluding its eighth and final season premiering on April 14th.

Williams has more words of encouragement for the talented people she hopes to serve through her app, saying, “In a world where literally anyone can be famous, I hope to inspire people to be talented instead. Talent will carry you so much further than your 15 minutes of fame.”

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