How Game Of Thrones Saved One Actress From Prostitution

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.  While Josephine Gillan's story is a unique one, she's hardly the only woman who has played a nude character on Game of Thrones. A short time ago, porn actress Samantha Bentley revealed that she had also appeared on HBO's drama, and despite the fact that she has worked in a slew of films where she had to get nude, she actually says shooting Game of Thrones was much more nerve-wracking. This is mostly because filming an episode of Game of Thrones is a lot bigger than the average porn film, the expectations are higher and clearly there are way more people around. Here's what she had to say:

The Game of Thrones set was just insane. It makes me have a stupid grin when I think about it. In that scene, there were 50 girls as extras and between every take, they had people go around and make sure every single hair was in place even if they were out of focus in the background. And a closed set was 100 people. I remember getting to set and seeing my name on a trailer and being like, 'Whoa. I have a trailer.'

So, consider that the next time you catch a moment of nudity on Game of Thrones, which, let's face it, will probably happen very soon. New episodes air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. To find out more about what is coming up during Season 6, head here.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.