Lena Headey opened up about the systemic sexism she faced as a struggling actress

Lena Headey may be playing one of the most captivating characters on HBO’s Game of Thrones now, but 20 years ago, she was a young, aspiring actor searching for her big break. Hollywood obviously still struggles with sexism, but back when the British actor was finding her footing, things were bad.

In fact, Lena opened up about an especially horrifying audition experience. And we’re actually nauseous. While chatting with fellow GoT star Maisie Williams for The Edit, Headey recounted the moment:

“There’s a real pressure on women to be beautiful and skinny. When I was in my twenties, and doing a lot of audition tapes in the States, a casting director told me: ‘The men take these tapes home and watch them and say, ‘Who would you f***?’’”

So gross. We’re close to vomiting.

She also explained that there was pressure to flirt with casting directors and producers to get jobs.

"I’ve never played the game of going in [to auditions] and flirting," Lena said. "I’ve never done it." Maisie then asked, "Do you think taking that stance has ever stopped you from getting the job?" "Yes," Lena said. "And I’m very happy I didn’t."

Wow. Ridiculous.


Lena went on to describe how difficult it is to be heard as a woman in professional settings.

“I was talking about this with another actress, and I said, ‘Do you find that you have to say the same things seven times, whereas a man says it once and everyone listens?’ Male counterparts can say the same thing [I just did] and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, that’s a great idea,’ and I’m like, ‘I just said that 19 times but you chose not to listen or take it on board.’”

ARGHHH. We’ve been there, Lena. This literally happens in every job.

We’re so annoyed, but on the bright side, Lena returns as Cersei in the new season of Game of Thrones in NINE DAYS! We cannot wait. Lena, we hate that you went through those invalidating experiences in your twenties, but you’re helping to pave the way for young actresses now by speaking out.