Nathalie Emmanuel opens up about her financial struggles before ‘GoT’

The actress had taken to working in a clothing store to make ends meet and was considering going back to college before she got the call to play Missandei in the fantasy drama series.

'Game of Thrones' actress Nathalie Emmanuel. Picture: @nathalieemmanuel/Instagram.com.

LONDON - Nathalie Emmanuel was “struggling” financially before landing her role in Game of Thrones.

The 30-year-old actress had taken to working in a clothing store to make ends meet and was considering going back to college before she got the call to play Missandei in the fantasy drama series.

She recalled: “I was working in Hollister as a ‘model’, which basically means you wear the clothes and they can control how you look. I was folding clothes, cleaning the toilets, helping people in the changing room... It was awful. Financially, I was struggling pretty badly. My plan was to go back to school.

“[The audition] was quite intimidating. I didn’t hear back for a few weeks, so I just got on with things. I was living in Liverpool at the time. Then I got a phone call one day when I was getting the shopping home from Tesco. I dropped everything, screaming, and broke a jam jar. It was all very exciting and emotional.

“I was very unemployed in the acting sense and struggling money-wise. I was feeling down about myself at the time. This was just the kind of boost I needed to remind myself: I can do this.”

Emmanuel joined the show for its third season but had no idea how long she’d be involved with the programme.

She initially made plans to return to her retail job but eventually decided to take a risk and move out to Los Angeles.

The actress - who is still a part of the programme and will appear in its eighth and final season - told HarpersBazaar.com: “I got paid very well for my first scenes as Missandei, but it wasn’t life changing money or anything. So I was going back to retail after the season finished; I still had to pay my mortgage.

“But I really hated that job. I thought: ‘I can’t do it’ .

“So, I decided to take myself to LA for a month. I was against going at first, but my mum was the one who said, ‘You are bloody going.’ She made me. She said, ‘You will always have a home here, don’t worry about that. Just go!’ “