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Don’t strive to be famous, strive to be talented | Maisie Williams | TEDxManchester

Don’t strive to be famous, strive to be talented | Maisie Williams | TEDxManchester


Translator: Cihan Ekmekçi
Reviewer: Leonardo Silva Hi. I’m Maisie Williams. And I’m kind of just waiting
for someone to come on stage and tell me that there’s been
some sort of miscommunication, and that I should probably leave. No? Damn it. (Laughter) So, some of you may know me as an actress. (Cheers) (Laughter) Some of you may know me
for my really average tweets. (Cheers) Oh, yeah. And some of you may be finding out
who I am for the first time right now. Hello. Whether you knew me before or not, you’re probably wondering
what I’m going to talk to you about today. And I would be lying if I said it didn’t take me
one or two sleepless nights, trying to figure that out, too. At last, here I am. Upon finding out the news
that I would be giving a TEDx Talk, I did what I think most people do and watched about
50 TED talks back-to-back, and read “Talk like TED”
by Carmine Gallo for some inspiration. Was I inspired? Yes and no. Did it make me want to go out
and change the world? Hell yeah. Did it make me feel like a totally
inadequate public speaker with absolutely no point to make, who was definitely in need of a big
thesaurus if she wants to keep up? Indeed. What could I possibly say
that would have any impact? What point am I trying to make? And who the hell thought
it was a good idea to give me a TEDx talk? So here’s the part
where I tell you what I know: I’m the youngest of four siblings. My parents divorced
when I was four months old. I really was the icing on the cake
of a terrible marriage. (Laughter) I have two step siblings
who are younger than me and a half brother
who’s older than all of us. I grew up in a three-bedroom council house with four of my six siblings
just outside of Bristol. I went to a very ordinary school. I got very ordinary grades. I wasn’t quite good enough
to get a gold star, and I also wasn’t quite bad enough
to be kept after school. I walked that nice center line
where if I kept my mouth shut in class, then I could probably get away with not being spoken to you
by teachers for weeks on end. Everything about me
was pretty damn ordinary, except for how I felt on the inside. I had big dreams. Shock. From as young as I can remember, I have dreamed of becoming
a professional dancer. There are certain memories
from my childhood that I would really rather forget. But during those times of immense pain, I found myself instinctively walking over
to my mother’s CD player, cranking up the volume
to drown out the noise and letting my body move to the beat. It’s hard to describe how it felt. I was harnessing emotions that I didn’t
even really know the names of yet. I was summoning all of this energy and feeling it flow through my body
and out of my fingertips. I was alone in my own head,
and I felt the most alive. I didn’t really know much
about the big wide world then, but I knew that this feeling
was addictive; and I was going to stop at nothing
until I made it my profession. At eight years old,
I was enrolled in dance class. And by ten, I informed my mother that I didn’t want
to go to school anymore. I wanted to be like Billy Elliot
and go to stage school. This was the first opportunity
or challenge I was presented with. Even as young as ten, I was willing to give up all of my friends
and go away to board at a private school, away from my siblings, away from my mom. She would repeatedly ask me,
“Are you sure this is what you want?” And to me, it was a no-brainer. I didn’t just want this; I needed it. My grubby knees and crooked teeth
were not on the list of requirements for becoming a professional dancer. And when I look back now, both myself and my mother
looked severely out of place. But at the time, I was just too young
and naive to feel inadequate. I didn’t care. If Billy Elliot could do it, so could I. Once my audition was done, I returned home
for two weeks of staring out the window, waiting for the postman, waiting for my ticket
out of my sleepy village and into a world of jazz hands
and dorm rooms. It was good news followed by bad news: I had got in, but the fees to attend
a school like this were not cheap, and despite my best efforts,
I had not received any government funding. I auditioned again the following year. And this time, I received 40% funding, but this was still just money
that we didn’t have, and it broke my heart. I was good enough. I made the cut. But I wasn’t going anywhere. It was a blessing in disguise, although if anyone had said that
to me back then, I probably would’ve given them the finger
and told them to jog on. I wasn’t willing to give up that easily. So at age 11, I was bursting
with excitement when my dance teacher
informed me of a talent show which boasted opportunities
of making you a star. This was the second opportunity
I was faced with. I entered into singing, acting, dancing and modeling. The talent show consisted
of workshops and seminars with specialists who would help
train you up for your performance at the end of the week. After meeting a woman
called Louise Johnston in an improvisation acting workshop, she gave me the words “bowling ball,” and asked me to create a short scene
inspired by these words. After making her laugh
with a fictional story, of how I threw a bowling ball
at my brother and it bounced, she asked me to join her acting agency. I didn’t really know what this meant. I knew that I would do auditions
for films and maybe become an actor, but I still had big dreams
of becoming a professional dancer, so this woman was going
to have to work a lot harder than that if she was going to convince
eleven-year-old me that I was going to become an actress. Was this going to take time away from the 30 hours of dancing
I was doing a week? And what if I didn’t get the part? Was this going to be too upsetting? And do actresses have teeth like mine? Because if they do,
I’m yet to watch any of their movies. After meeting Louise
in the February of 2009 and trying but failing to land the part in the hit sequel “Nanny McPhee”
to “The Big Bang,” my second audition was for a show
called “Game of Thrones.” This was the third opportunity
or challenge I was presented with. I climbed the steps
to the Methodist Church with my mother’s hand in mine. I perched my tiny bottom in one
of the seats outside the audition room and listened to an annoying girl
with her even more annoying mother tell me all about the number of auditions
she had done prior to this one. And also about her pet fish. My name was called, then I stepped inside. I had a hard Bristolian accent and dark rings around my eyes that were
so big they took up half my face and a hole in the knee of my trousers
which I tried to cover with my left hand as I was talking to the kind lady
who taped my audition. But as soon as she pressed record, it all drifted away. Much like when I was dancing
in my mother’s living room, I harnessed all of
my insecurities and self-doubt and let it flow through the words
that came out of my mouth. I was cheeky. I was loud. I was angry. And for this, I was perfect. After getting the part
and shooting the pilot episode, the show slowly grew to become one of the biggest shows
in television history. To this day, we’ve smashed
previous HBO viewing records. We’ve been nominated for over 130 Emmys, making us the most Emmy-nominated
show to ever exist. We’ve recently finished shooting
our eighth and final season, which is predicted to smash records
that we’ve already broken. And nearly a decade to the day
since my first audition, I’m still wondering, when am I going to get to be Billy Elliot? (Laughter) I joke, but in all seriousness, I have
absolutely no plans of slowing down. Throughout my time in this industry,
it has been a minefield. I have grown from a child into an adult, and from four feet tall
into a whopping five feet tall. (Laughter) I have constantly been trying
to say the right thing, accidentally saying the wrong thing, trying not to swear too much and trying to stop saying
“like, like” all of the time. In February of 2017, a friend of mine, Dom, and I
were swigging beers in my kitchen, and he confessed to me that there is a huge problem
with the creative industries. I agreed. The series of events
that had got me to that point were based mainly on luck and timing
and were unable to be recreated. He suggested to me
that we create a social media, but just for artists to be able
to collaborate with one another and create a career. This was the fourth opportunity
or challenge I was presented with. “Great,” I thought. “How the hell do we do that?” And daisie was born. Of course, everyone who I spoke to about
my latest endeavor thought that I was mad; however, I know that this is something
that I can help change. This last year in the industry, we’ve seen
a huge shift with the Me Too movement. The industry is built with gatekeepers
holding all of the power and selecting who they deem talented
enough to advance to the next level. More often than not, it’s easier
to catch the attention of those people if you have graduated
from an expensive school. But even then, I have so many friends
who are fresh out of art school, having trained for years and are still
no closer to creating a career. Now, I’m not claiming that with daisie
I can make everybody a star, but I do believe that the key to success within creative
industries is collaborating. Actors are only as good as their writers. Musicians are only as strong
as their producers. And designers need their teams. To start the company, we self-funded. I had a pot of cash from “Game of Thrones” that I was free to invest
wherever I liked. Dom had a series of businesses
from the age of 16, which meant he was also left
with a pot of cash. We threw our money together 50-50,
and we built a team. Now, Lady Gaga has repeatedly said that there could be a room of 100 people,
and 99 don’t believe in you, but it just takes that one person
to believe in you, and they can change your life. Well, now we have a team of six. Over the next 16 months, we built our MVP. Now, if you’re wondering what an MVP is, I only found out what it is
about six months ago. And from what I can gather, it’s a product
which proves as a problem worth solving with the minimum team effort. So basically from my point of view,
you’re marketing something which you know
is going to be good one day, but is a little bit bad right now. And for us, that was an iOS app. The six of us made an office
in Dom’s garden, and on August 1, 2018,
we released our version one. We had over 30,000 downloads
in the first 24 hours and over 30,000 comments asking when the Android version
was going to be coming. Despite our app being imperfect, buggy
and literally built by one man alone, this was exactly what we needed
for people to invest. We learned a lot from our angry users
and our scary investors. And over the last six months,
we have grown our team to 16 people. From then till now,
we’ve been building version two, which we will be launching in April. Within the industry, there is a common phrase which I think
we’re all pretty familiar with. And that is, “It’s not what you know,
it’s who you know.” And with daisie, I hope to give
that power back to the creator. I want to encourage people
to create a list of contacts that they will work with and support
as they take their first steps into the fickle and often
challenging creative world. I am of the generation
who grew up with the Internet. I’ve never known anything else. We are connected, we are aware,
and we are the future. I hope daisie can breathe new life into the slightly dystopian,
ad-riddled hellscapes that social media platforms have become. I hope to create a space where people
can boast their art and creativity rather than what car they are driving and whether or not they bought it
in cash or on finance. In a world where literally
anyone can be famous, I hope to inspire people
to be talented instead. Talent will carry you so much further
than your 15 minutes of fame. So why am I telling you all this? The very fact that I’m here
giving a TEDx talk right now is so far from anything
I thought that I was capable of. Even writing the bio
for my speech made me realize that in a decade,
everything in my life has changed. I am an Emmy-nominated actress,
an entrepreneur and an activist; yet I have no formal
qualifications to my name. When I left school about seven years ago,
I made it my mission to continue learning even though I never wanted
to set foot in a classroom again. Who knows what’s going to happen
to my life in the next 10 years? I surely have no idea. I’ve never had an end goal. It’s working out okay so far. So trust that you’re good enough. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned is
that there truly is a place for everyone. Ask questions, and laugh in the face of people
who say that they’re stupid questions. Be open to learning and admitting when you don’t know
what the hell is going on. Refuse to hold yourself back, and dare to dream big. Thank you for listening. (Applause)

46 comments on “Don’t strive to be famous, strive to be talented | Maisie Williams | TEDxManchester

  1. The title makes no sense.. Talent is something innate… You are born with it.. Title should have been Hard work beats talent any day.

  2. This is how they use the youth to hunt other youths before they are able to understand WHY the qualifications dont matter, that that means there is something fundamentally wrong with the system, and that these people are setup to lead other people following them to their death or worse, shame on you.

  3. Yes, well, I'd rather be remembered for doing something in a paper than go for quick fame. I don't like the idea of fame because it's an assault to the soul. Most of us make small gains during our lifetime and are rewarded with family and friends. To be interrupted for fame is annoying.

  4. This!
    Is so inspiring
    so everyone who saw this…… don't just live your life and forget about this inspiration !

  5. I like this video very much Maisie Williams is very beautiful girl she have right not the fame is important strive to be talented not to be famos and she is right i like very much everytging she tell here I Love Maisie Williams Very Much not only because is great actress i love her very much like person because she is very good person love the nature the animale Maisie make charity work donațions help other peoples help the dolphind make Daisie she Always is sou kind sweet is open mind she is smart Always i wanna suport help Maisie whit everytging she need Always i wanna love Maisie Whit All My Heart and i wish very much meet Maisie Williams in person spend magic time whit her give her my gifts music bax flowers ciocolate hug her tell her i like Arya Stark very much tell her how much i admire i respect and i Love her be whit Maisie is all the most i wish new i am from Romania

  6. Hmm last Ted talk when I glimpsed to the comment section everyone was talking about the crowd but not about the speech. SURELY that was a one time thing. Nope, everyone is talking about the crowd here. Great.

  7. She famous because of GOT, but loved her performance on Doctor Who – the girl who never dies. The immortal Viking who meet the doctor in the end of the universe.

  8. Life advice from a kid under 20… GoT made her, end of story, luck out getting a good roll in a movie, become rich and famous, then tell people now to give up on their goals. If GoT would have bomd shed be a noone still. Now that your rich and famous are u goin to follow your dreams and become a dancer? prob not, ur ganna chase the $$

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