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Game of Thrones

Keisha Castle-Hughes Opens Up About Depression as a Child Star

On Game of Thrones Season 5, Keisha Castle-Hughes portrays Obara Sand, the oldest and most vicious of the Sand Snakes. In her lone appearance on the show so far, Obara talks about her difficult childhood — something Keisha can relate to.

Keisha, who’s from New Zealand, became (at the time) the youngest actress ever nominated for an Academy Award at the age of 13 for her role in Whale Rider, and dealing with the fame from that at such a young age was not an easy thing for her.

“Of course, as a child I’d had grandiose dreams of growing up and moving to Hollywood,” Keisha reveals to People. “But I think every little girl has those dreams, you know? There was a huge amount of pressure to continue on with it while various people were telling me this is the beginning of the end of my life if I didn't utilize the opportunity to work. I was like, 'But I'm 13 years old!’”

Keisha was officially diagnosed with depression at the age of 14, a fact that she didn’t find particularly shocking. “It wasn’t crazy surprising because of the experiences I had,” she says. “There was, like, these massive highs at the Oscars hanging out with Julia Roberts and then lows like going back to school in a low socioeconomic area in Auckland. [It was] very bizarre.”

Despite the difficulties of her youth, Keisha, now 25, has managed to pull through and finds herself in a good place on Game of Thrones. “It took a lot of hard work to get back here,” she admits. “I’ve finally come to a point in my life where I’m not looking for any validation from anyone, which is nice.”

Source: People

The next episode of Game of Thrones Season 5 airs on May 17, 2015 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

05.14.2015 / 12:30 PM EDT by Johnny Brayson
Related: Game of Thrones, Keisha Castle-Hughes, News, Nostalgia

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