She reprised her role as Ramsey in Fast & Furious 9 which premiers this week.
And Nathalie Emmanuel revealed, despite her acting successes, she struggled with negative self-talk about her body image until social media changed her perception of herself.
The Game of Thrones actress, 32, explained how the memories function on social media made her realise she has been critical of her body for years and now looks back thinking: ‘I look so great’.
‘We’re never perfect enough’: Nathalie Emmanuel revealed she battled with body image and thought she was overweight as she posed for Women’s Health magazine
She told Women’s Health: ‘You know how on Facebook it shows you a memory of yourself from six years ago or four years ago? A picture came up on my phone, and I went, “I look so great!”
‘But I also remember that at the time I thought I was overweight and needed to do all these unhealthy things. We just beat ourselves up constantly and we’re never perfect enough.’
After realising what she was doing, the Maze Runner actress said she had to change how she interacted with exercise and decided what she wanted to get from it.
Body image: The Game of Thrones actress said the memories function on social media made her realise she has been critical of her body for year
Stunning: Nathalie believed she was overweight seven years ago when she featured in the film Fast 7 (pictured) but now has a healthier relationship with her body image
Nathalie added she has a particular passion for yoga, explaining she loves that there is ‘no pressure to be the best at it’.
She explained: ‘Even if you just lie on your mat for the hour and breathe with intention, you’re doing yoga.’
She first got into yoga at the age of 18 when she was going through a hard time with her mental health and it still plays an instrumental part in her wellness.
‘My mental health was deteriorating and I took my first class in reaction to it’, she added.
Confidence: She told Women’s Health she looks back at Facebook memories of herself from six years ago or four years ago and I thinks, “I look so great!”‘
Also contributing to her wellness was her decision to become a vegan after trying it out for a week eight years ago and hasn’t looked back since.
She explained after switching to veganism she quickly began to notice results, with her friends paying her compliments about how bright she looked and sleeping better.
‘Then I did it for two weeks and felt even more energised,’ she said. ‘And then I was like, “That’s it; I’m going for a month!” The final test was going home to England and eating some of her mother’s non-vegan dishes.
‘She made all the delicious things I ate growing up, and I thought, I’m not feeling so good, actually. Then I said, “Oh, guys…I think I’m vegan.” That was eight years ago.’
Open: Nathalie also has a particular passion for yoga explaining she loves that there is ‘no pressure to be the best at it’
And, like so many others across the globe, Nathalie shared her excitement to get back to some normality this summer.
She said: ‘I want to sit around tables with friends and family enjoying food and sunshine together. There’s definitely a before-and-after feeling about life now.
‘We’ve all had a lot of time to think about our priorities and to ask ourselves that important question: What is it you want?’
It comes after Nathalie, who played Missandei in Game of Thrones until her brutal death in season eight, said there is a ‘perception’ she’ll be ‘open to do anything’ in her other projects.
Speaking on the Make It Reign podcast, Nathalie added that she’s sometimes challenged scripts when she’s ‘not comfortable’ with a scene and will only do what she feels ‘is necessary for that part’.
Brave: Nathalie said she first got into yoga at the age of 18 when she was going through a hard time with her mental health
She said: ‘When I did Game of Thrones, I agreed to certain nude scenes or nudity within the show and the perception of that from other projects…
‘When the role required nudity was that I was open to do anything because I did it on that one show.’
‘But what people didn’t realise was that, I agreed to certain terms and specific things for that one particular project. And it didn’t necessarily apply to all projects.’
Nathalie continued that she’s been ‘challenged’ going for other roles because of her past nude scenes, with them expecting she’ll do them again.
Powerful: Nathalie revealed yoga still plays an instrumental part in her wellness after her battles with mental health
She explained: ‘And I definitely had people challenge me and be like, “but this part requires that.”
‘And I said, “well that’s fine. If you require that in the part, I don’t feel comfortable doing that level of nudity. I will do this amount, or I can do what I feel is necessary for that part.”
‘And frankly, if someone was insisting, “we need this nudity.” I would say, “thank you very much, I appreciate your interest, but that’s just not what I feel is necessary for this part”.’
Nathalie also spoke candidly about diversity in casting and how it’s ‘ridiculous’ to her that there can be ‘only one’ brown part’ in productions, adding that she’s proud of her character and how fans ‘fell in love with’ Missandei.
Life changing: Also contributing her wellness was her decision to become a vegan after trying it out for a week eight years ago and hasn’t looked back since
She said: ‘As a mixed black person, while I have all this privilege, because I’m a mixed person and have a lighter complexion, I know that I may or may not have had certain opportunities because of that privilege.
‘That’s something that I have had to educate myself about. I also have always existed in spaces that when I take up space in any production, it means something because we’re so used to just seeing our leads be white and our supporting leads be white.
Out now: Read the full interview in Women’s Health, out now
‘There’s that call for diversity [now] and we’ve seen it, but the primary characters are usually white. And then they’re like, “oh that random character we can cast somebody brown for that.”
‘It’s like the brown part in everything. It’s this idea that there can only be one, which is so ridiculous to me.’
Nathalie then spoke about her Game Of Thrones role saying that she believes Missandei’s death ‘sparked’ conversation on this ‘only one’ problem.
She continued: ‘But there is something about the fact that I was the only long running woman of colour in the show.
‘When she died, everyone was like, “she’s the only woman of colour in the show and we’ve got to invest and grow to love and learn about and she’s the only one!”
‘I think that my death kind of sparked this conversation around why can there only be one? And when there is only one, how do we treat that person? How do we treat that woman of colour? How do we give her the respect that she deserves?
‘I was really proud of the fact that her exit sparked this really important conversation, because it’s not just this show, it is many shows[that do not always have diversity in mind when casting, writing or producing].
Nathalie added that she’s ‘so proud and excited of everything’ she did in the hit show.
She added: ‘A lot of the storyline that I did have was not in the books and it was things that were created for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed bringing that person to life. The more I learned about her, the more I fell in love with her.
‘So it really is a demonstration of how successful it is when we give characters of colour that depth and that wider kind of context.
‘It shows that because people were so devastated when she died, it was because they’ve fallen in love with this whole person who’s had a life.’
On screen: Nathalie is best known for playing Missandei in Game Of Thrones who went from slave to Daenerys’s trusted advisor, until her death in season eight (pictured in character)
And reflecting on her childhood, Nathalie detailed how she’s was bullied at school and used to be very shy.
She told the podcast: ‘Teenage years for me were not great.. I got quite badly bullied at school for quite a few years and by the same group of people and it got to a point where I was quite isolated…
‘It got quite bad to the point where I stopped talking at school completely. Like I stopped engaging in classes. I stopped interacting.’
Nathalie added that she was shy on Hollyoaks when she started out in acting but has changed lots over the years.
She said:’It was funny because I started in Hollyoaks when I was like 17 and I was so young and shy and when I speak to people that I worked with, they were like, “oh my gosh, she was so shy, she barely said anything, unless someone spoke to you,”
‘And they’re really shocked now when they meet me, they go, “oh you’re so outspoken and really confident.”
‘Because I’d come straight out of school and had been in that environment, that wasn’t so great where I felt incredibly isolated, sad and lonely at times.
‘So that kind of gave me insecurities about me and my self-worth of how I valued myself. So it was really amazing over the years to find that voice again and my confidence.’
Nathalie appears on the Make It Reign podcast.
Fan favourite: Nathalie spoke candidly about diversity in casting and gushed she’s proud of her character and how fans really felt the impact of her death (pictured with Emilia Clarke as Daenerys)