When I started playing Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones, I was 13. Now the series has finished filming (the final season premieres April 14) and I’m 23, so it feels like I grew up with the character. She’s part of me. The way Sansa dealt with things still guides me when I have hardships—though, luckily, mine are not nearly as terrible as hers! I also feel empowered by Jean Grey, my character in X-Men. She is very much on her own, and at some points I’ve felt like that too, especially in this industry. It can get quite lonely, and how Jean copes is how I want to as well.
My two characters also share an inspiring look: red hair. I’m naturally blond, but there’s something about being a redhead that makes me feel strong and vibrant, like an effing badass. But after I finished filming Game of Thrones, I wanted to switch my hair up and do something completely different. I’ve worn it long for so many years and haven’t seen my natural color since that first time I dyed it to play Sansa. So I cut it shorter and went from red to a cool blond shade. I love it because it’s glamorous but still natural looking. I’m edging toward a silvery platinum, slowly but surely. It’s like going incognito; I don’t get recognized much now that I have blond hair, and I really enjoy it. Honestly, I would do any color, even a crazy one like pink or blue. And I want to cut it shorter into a bob—though I say all this and usually chicken out.
I’ve been changing up my skincare routine too. Until recently, I was pretty low-maintenance, but now I have a full-on regimen. Two things are mainstays: I always use micellar water to cleanse, and I wear sunscreen every day. While working on Game of Thrones, I wasn’t allowed to go in the sun because I had to maintain Sansa’s pale complexion. At the time, it was a bummer, but it actually turned out to be a blessing for my skin.
I have a job that causes a serious lack of sleep, so I have to have a good concealer at all times. I use Sephora concealer (I mix a couple colors to match my exact skin tone), but a lot of the time I go makeup free to give my skin a chance to breathe, and I air-dry my hair and wear it naturally wavy. Most of the time, I’m all about comfort, but there are days I want to be done up and wear six-inch heels. It’s different every day.
This article appears in the March 2019 issue of Marie Claire.