Game of Thrones has done a lot during its short time on the air. It has introduced fantasy to a faction of people that have never been interested in the genre. It has also subverted many of our expectations about fantasy and has proven that HBO can reach even greater heights than expected in terms of ratings. The drama has also helped at least one person on a personal level. This week, Game of Thrones actress Josephine Gillan revealed that Game of Thrones literally saved her from a life of prostitution by giving her an acting opportunity that has changed her life and led to more work elsewhere. Here’s what happened. 

When Gillan was a young woman, she says she was abused by a neighbor, given cocaine and later raped and pimped out to his friends. Josephine Gillan’s formative years were extremely difficult beyond the problems with the neighbor. Along with dealing with the sex abuse, she went to 24 primary schools and her mother left her own violent relationship at one point. She says she had little self-esteem during her formative years and spent the next few years working as a prostitute and in adult films for income. 


According to the Daily Mail that all changed when she encountered an advertisement on the internet looking for young women who were actresses and who would had no problem filming scenes that would feature some nudity. As it turned out, the gig was for HBO’s series Game of Thrones. When HBO was able to confirm Josephine Gillan had no tattoos and a natural body (fake boobs would be out of place in Westeros), she was hired for the job—this time simply play-acting as a prostitute on the long-running HBO series. She first signed on during Season 2, but was given additional work in the subsequent seasons. 

Having to get naked on set for a show that literally millions of people watch every week might not be everyone’s idea of a dream job, but Josephine Gillan says she is thankful for the way the show has saved her life. 
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.

Gillan is signed on for the current season of Game of Thrones and says she has already been contracted for work in Season 7. In addition, her appearances on Game of Thrones have helped her to land roles in two other independent movies. She’s also been hired on for a horror film that hasn’t shot yet. 

Game of Thrones isn’t exactly a series that has been known for its happy endings, but it’s nice to know that in Josephine Gillan’s case, a much sunnier outlook is exactly what she earned.

Hop over to the next page to find out exactly what it's like to film a nude scene for HBO's fantasy drama. 

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