Sussex students turned out in force to attend talks given by TV and film star Maisie Williams about her career and her new app, Daisie.
Maisie, best known for playing Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, visited Steyning Grammar School and Chichester University students recently to talk about her career which has now led to the creation of new app, Daisie.
Daisie, created by Maisie and co-founder Dom Santry, is aimed at creating a network for creative people from the worlds of art, fashion, TV, film, photography, music and literature.
Its aim is to bring creatives across industries together, help foster collaboration with other artists and hopefully provide an alternative route into the creative industries.
She told students she originally wanted to be a dancer and went for auditions at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, getting in at age 12 but could not afford the tuition fees.
Maisie then applied for a talent show in Paris and spent time fundraising by putting on cake sales to raise the money to go.
When she got there, her mum told her she might as well enter every category, so she did: singing I Just Can’t Wait To Be King from The Lion King, dancing, a monologue and even modelling.
It was at this talent show she met an agent who told her she should go into acting, but Maisie still really wanted to be a dancer. She gave it a shot at an audition for a part in Nanny McPhee 2: The Big Bang, but did not get the part.
Her second audition was for a part in Game of Thrones, where she landed the huge role of playing Arya Stark. She left school at 15 because she was juggling her acting role with her studies.
Maisie said if her mum had not been so supportive, she would not be where she is today.
Maisie said: “My life started to change then and it really has changed forever.”
When working on Netflix film iBoy, Maisie met camera technician Dom Santry who spoke to her about the huge problem with the way people enter into creative industries, coming up with the idea of creating an app to help this process.
Maisie said: “There are so many talented people who do not have the means to get into these places because you always need a pot of money.”
Daisie was launched last August and had 30,000 downloads on the first evening, and improved version is set to launch in April this year.
The aim of Daisie is to create work and post it to collaborate with other creative people, to create a chain of people working together on a project.
Maisie encouraged the students to begin their steps towards the career they want. She said: “I think in school you are often asked what you want to do and what you want to be. Just do something, do anything. It is never too late to start again.
“If you can find what it is within you that makes you special and things that you hate about yourself, your insecurities, they make you so important and so special. I feel blessed to be able to talk to you guys so please do wonderful things with your lives”
A question and answer session at the end quickly turned from the biggest lesson she has learned in the industry - having a good group of friends is key - to talk of series eight of Game of Thrones, which comes out on April 14.
One student asked what it was like being on Game of Thrones at such a young age.
Maisie said: “It was really exciting taking me away from school and being part of this adult world but then I would come back to school and have to raise my hand to go to the toilet.”
Another student dared to ask what was on everyone’s minds: “What can you tell us about series eight?”
Maisie said: “I am not going to spoil anything.”
The student then asked if Arya stays alive at the end, but Maisie was not giving anything away.
Nick Wergan, headteacher, said: “We are always looking for inspirational role models who can tell their stories about how their careers have evolved. Maisie exemplifies never giving up and reaching your goals.”
Last year, Sir Ian McKellen visited Steyning Grammar School to speak about equality and diversity.