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Sophie Turner on Dr. Phil: Social Media A “Catalyst” To Depression

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

It’s officially Game Of Thrones season, so it’s no surprise that interviews with the show’s cast members can be found everywhere. 

However, there’s something different about this one. 

Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on Game Of Thrones, recently starred on Dr. Phil’s podcast series, Phil In The Blanks. In the episode, Turner opens up about her personal struggles with mental health, revealing that social media became a “catalyst” for her depression. 

Turner notes that she has been suffering from depression for about 5 to 6 years. When prompted about what her biggest challenge has been, Turner replies, “The biggest challenge is, for me, getting out of bed… and getting out of the house. I really didn’t think I had any issue with it, up until I was around 17.”

In trying to rationalize her struggle, Turner cites puberty, comparing her path to those of her friends’, and social media as some of the factors that ultimately led to her depression. 

Her experience with social media has not always been a good one. Turner pointed out that when she was filiming as a teenager in the earlier seasons of Game of Thrones, she would often receive negative comments about her weight gain and bad complexion – something she evidently couldn’t control going through puberty. Some of the comments took it a step further, criticizing Turner’s acting skills.

“I would just believe it. I would just say ‘Yeah, I am what I am – fat. I am a bad actress.’ I just believed it.”

When Dr. Phil asks if the negativity affected her work on set, Turner readily and almost immediately responded, “I just got very, very self conscious… I’d be very concerned about my face and the angles… it just affected me creatively. And I couldn’t be true to the character because I was so worried about Sophie.”

“I don’t think I viewed myself as worthy of anything that I was doing”

It’s important to remember that actors, no matter how famous they are, are humans too. I think them being televised often creates a false, self-conscious notion that they’re better than us, making them an easier target to be bullied – perhaps the people who tear them down don’t realize that they would actually be affected by the things they say to them? I also think that as viewers, we owe it to these actors to dissociate the characters they play on screen to the people they actually are – their real identities.

It can definitely be said that Sansa Stark has grown to be a badass on the show, but that doesn’t automatically mean that Sophie Turner should be held to that same mental regard, just because she plays the part.

Watch the full interview here:

Clara Chan is a Feature Writer of the UCLA Chapter of Her Campus. A Singapore native, Clara is a 3rd year Communication Studies major with a special emphasis in Film, TV, and Digital Media. When Clara isn't sipping on hot chocolate, she loves to rewatch The Office, create Spotify playlists, and read about the latest news in pop culture.
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