Even without the bright auburn hair or the intricately woven braids, Sophie Turner is still very much her: Sansa Stark, the cunning, tenacious Lady of Winterfell (and one of last two surviving Stark children — unless you count Bran, which we don’t) on HBO’s Game of Thrones. The role (and the defining red hue) has been part of the star’s life since the age of 13, and although she may be back to her natural blond color now, its significance still remains.
During our interview, Turner swiftly shifts from serious to goofy, her tone changing when she discusses her character. “It’s almost like I have a split personality,” she says. “My redhead persona is Sansa — she’s so strong and independent. So red, to me, is the ultimate strength. I’d like to think of it as my Sasha Fierce moment, but I’m no Beyoncé [laughs]. With the blond, it’s like I’m back to being Sophie. That felt empowering as well, because I was leaving my teenage years behind and becoming a woman.”
Winter isn’t over IRL, but the seventh (and penultimate) season of GoT is. Which is lucky for us, because the break from filming means Turner answered all the questions we’ve always wondered, ahead.
Her Genius Beach Beauty Trick
Anyone following Turner on Instagram knows she just got back from what appears to have been a relaxing vacation in the Maldives with fiancé Joe Jonas. But aside from the red cat-eye sunglasses and striped one-piece, there’s one other essential she packed on the trip: heat-protectant spray.
“I know it’s really strange, but the last couple holidays I have been putting heat protection in my hair before I go sunbathing,” she laughs. “That way, when I come back from holiday, I don’t feel like my hair is dried out. It’s weird to me that people put so much importance on skin, and you put sun cream on your face, but no one ever does anything about their hair.” (She, for the record, swears by the EIMI Thermal Image Heat Protection Spray from Wella Professionals, of which she’s the global brand ambassador.)
On Hair Fake-Outs
Game of Thrones isn’t meant to be realistic (there are gigantic flying dragons, for crying out loud), but the hair, more or less, is. Turner once shared that she dyed hers once a week for the part, but says it’s now all fake.
“I could not count the amount of wigs we use on that show if I wanted to — almost everyone wears one,” she says, adding that even the most unsuspecting men in the series do. “A lot of the guys will have hair inserts glued on that they probably don’t want people to know about, but it’s true. Or they’ll do beard wigs, or use little pieces of hair to fill in the gaps in their beards.”
On Her Minimalistic Tattoo Collection
“I had to bleach my hair for a movie that’s coming out next month [Ed note: Josie] and I had all these badass tattoos all over my body. I looked at myself in the mirror and I was like, ‘This is so far from my redheaded, pale, clean-cut look.’ That was really fun for me. I only have a few tattoos [in real life] — maybe three or four.”
Turner lifts up her right hand to reveal five tally marks on her right ring finger. This, she explains, represents her five family members. Peeking out from the sleeves of her blouse, I notice a tiny wishbone on her wrist. But instead, she quickly showed me the invisible ink she got with co-star Maisie Williams. Turner says, “It’s the date we both got Game of Thrones, but you can’t really see it. I had a deal with my mum. I wanted a tattoo on my forearm and she said, ‘If you want one, it has to be somewhere I can’t see. It has to be discreet.’ So I got it in peach so she wouldn’t be too offended by it, but I’ll probably go over it with darker ink eventually.”
The One Thing She’d Never Do For A Role
It goes without saying that Turner has had to transform a lot for her last few roles. (She describes the moment of dyeing her hair at 13 as “losing her identity.”) But there’s one line she might draw: “I don’t think I could voluntarily shave my head for fear of what it would look like. I have a tiny pea head and broad shoulders, so I don’t think I could do a really short haircut.”
But then Turner shoots a coy smile, tilts her head, and says, “But who knows? When Game of Thrones comes to an end, maybe I’ll have something of an Emma Watson cutting her hair short moment — maybe I’ll go crazy.”