The Last of Us star, Bella Ramsey, unveiled the darker side of being a child actor in Hollywood. In a conversation with The Independent, the 20-year-old actress shared that they “didn’t like the separation” prevalent between kids and adult performers.
Ramsey elaborated, “The thing I hated the most was being patronized. I didn’t like the fact that I could only be on set for a certain amount of time, and had to go and do tutoring. I get why the hours protections for child actors are phenomenally important – but I hated feeling like I was lesser or separate from the adult cast.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ramsey shared that they always “got along better” with adults when they were younger since a considerable time was spent on sets after school at age 12. They shifted to take online classes instead.
Ramsey stated, “I wasn’t intimidated by going onto a set with a load of people twice, three times my age. As I’ve grown up, I’ve learnt that I have the autonomy to stand up for myself and for other younger people that I work with now. I want to enable them to advocate for themselves in the way that people older than me taught me to advocate for myself!”
In addition to that, CBR also sheds light on Ramsey’s interview with The Independent, emphasizing the interviewee’s inclination towards their neurodivergence and how it is important for working on set. Ramsey said, “It’s just a part of me and it’s incredibly helpful in terms of acting. One of my things is that I have insane levels of visual perception compared to all the other things. I’ve been watching people and absorbing everything since I was really young… all these characters that I play, there’s an element of them that’s already inside me because I’ve seen someone be that before.”
Recalling their acting years when they were younger, Ramsey shares, “There was a certain pressure that I think I put on myself, in terms of defining myself. Someone asked me recently, ‘Do you regret it?’ And I really thought about that – and thought that maybe I did regret it. Until I meet people who say they’ve been impacted by something that I’ve said, feeling seen – if I’ve been open about something like neurodivergence, or gender or whatever – that makes it worth it.”
Ramsey was often cast as a younger teen in critically acclaimed projects, including Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones, Birdy in Catherine Called Birdy, and Ellie Williams in The Last of Us.
According to THR, Ramsey is not the only one to voice out their concerns about working as a child actor. Jenna Ortega also expresses the struggle of being a Hispanic child actress in the industry. Born to parents of Mexican and Puerto Rican line, Ortega stated, “As a child actor, there are two jobs that you can get: you’re either the younger version of someone or you’re playing somebody’s daughter — and there were just not many leading Hispanic actors who I could be that for. So a lot of the jobs that I was going for growing up would never work out, because I didn’t look [a certain] way. That was really hard, to hear that something you couldn’t change was what was preventing you [from succeeding].”