In the case of one woman, the lurid, adventurous world of Westeros was more than a job opportunity: it was a chance at a better life.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you’ve definitely seen actress Josephine Gillan. She plays a courtesan in the epic HBO show, and, somewhat ironically, her role as a sex worker rescued her from life as an actual sex worker.
“Game of Thrones saved me from a life of prostitution and has made me a much stronger person,” Gillan told the Daily Mail.
Before landing her role on the beloved show, Gillan was a prostitute and an actress in X-rated films using the name Sophie O’Brien.
“They were looking for young women with natural breasts and no tattoos, who didn’t mind being filmed naked. So I immediately sent in a picture,” she said. “They wrote back that they wanted me and I was thrilled because it was an amazing opportunity to do some proper acting. But I had no idea how much it would change my life.”
The actress’ childhood was full of tragedy and hardship; she attended dozens of schools while her mother fled a violent relationship and ultimately ended up in foster care at the hands of an abusive guardian. But upon arriving at the set of Game of Thrones, she soon met several other actresses who had survived similarly daunting circumstances.
Gillan first appeared on the show in season two as a new prostitute in King’s Landing being taught how to fake an orgasm. She has appeared in every season since. And her career as an actress is going beyond the brothels of Game of Thrones. She recently appeared in a few independent films and is slated to star in a horror mystery, which will be filmed in Mexico this summer.
Speaking of art imitating life, the 27-year-old actress says she is often asked if the sex acts depicted in the show are the real deal and her reply is pretty incredible: “Are dragons or zombies real?”