All About Bella Ramsey, the 19-Year-Old Star of HBO's 'The Last of Us' (2024)

Bella Ramsey has come a long way since playing a pint-sized ruler on Game of Thrones.

The 19-year-old English actress is costarring alongside fellow GoT alum Pedro Pascal in the highly anticipated video game turned original series, The Last of Us, on HBO.

Ramsey plays Ellie Williams, a teenager who is immune to the fungus that has turned the world into a post-apocalyptic landscape filled with "infected." Joel Miller, portrayed by Pascal, is a smuggler on a journey to deliver Ellie to a rebel group in the hope that she can be the cure.

"It's only recently that I've accepted I am Ellie, and I can do it, and I am a good actor," she told the New York Times. "But this will last for a few weeks and then I'll think I'm terrible again. That's just the process."

Ramsey has admitted to not being much of a gamer, but regardless, she was drawn to the starring role of Ellie and felt attached to her "for reasons I couldn't describe." As recommended by show creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, the actress avoided playing the actual game to prepare for the role. Instead, she told the Times, she turned to YouTube to watch major gameplay scenes, which helped her "to feel confident that the Ellie I felt inside of me, under my skin, was the right one."

Ramsey ended up getting so into character that it became hard to distinguish where Ellie stopped and her real self started.

"People always ask, at the end of a shoot day, how I get back into being Bella," she said. "But I didn't know how to do that with Ellie because we were so intertwined."

During an interview with The A.V. Club, Ramsey said it was "scary" to finally put the project out into the world.

"It's something that feels very personal to me. I think about everyone who's watching it, everyone who's so invested, it feels, yeah, like a very personal thing," she said. "So, it's bizarre, in a way, to share it with the world. But it's a joy at the same time that people have been responding so well to it and being inspired by it and by the story like they were initially in the video game."

As for season 2 of the show, Ramsey explained that she's excited to get back to work.

"I'm really excited. It still feels surreal to me that it's going to go again," Ramsey said in a March 5, 2023, interview with ComicBook.com's The Last of Pods podcast. "But also, I don't want to go into it comparing it to the experience of the first season, because [...] Season 1 of The Last of Us was the best year of my life, and it's not going to be the same. I just have to go into it being like, 'This is season two. And I love season one, but this is just going to be different.' "

From her experience working with Pascal to how she mastered her American accent, here's everything to know about Bella Ramsey.

She got involved with theater at a young age

All About Bella Ramsey, the 19-Year-Old Star of HBO's 'The Last of Us' (1)

Ramsey was born in September 2003 in Nottingham, England and grew up in Leicestershire. At age 3, she joined an amateur theater group and participated in drama clubs as a child.

She then enrolled in the Television Workshop in Nottingham and began auditioning for professional roles, which led to her first credited role.

In a video shared on Twitter, Ramsey recalled one of her first auditions and the feedback she received.

"The director really liked me, but I didn't get the part because I didn't have the 'Hollywood look,' " The Last of Us star said. "That's something that I've always found very interesting."

Game of Thrones was her first acting job

All About Bella Ramsey, the 19-Year-Old Star of HBO's 'The Last of Us' (2)

Ramsey joined the cast of Game of Thrones at age 11 during season 6 of the series as Lyanna Mormont, head of House Mormont. Though she only appeared in nine episodes from seasons 6 through 8, the fierce Lady of Bear Island quickly became a fan favorite.

"I think playing confident characters also helps with your own confidence," Ramsey told The Cut in 2019 about her role as the petite leader. "Say you're in a situation where you're feeling anxious or nervous — you can become a character and work through it that way."

She has been open about her eating disorder diagnosis

In Oct. 2018, Ramsey opened up on Twitter about her struggles with an eating disorder. In a series of tweets posted in honor of World Mental Health Day, she revealed that she had been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa "just over a year ago," but noted, "this illness had a hold of me for a year or so before that."

"There isn't always an answer but let me tell you this - there's always a way out. There's always light at the end of the tunnel no matter how dim it might seem," she wrote. "I am fortunate to have reached that light, at moments it felt non existent. But it was always there."

She credited a "huge part" of her recovery to religion, though she told the New York Times in 2023 her relationship with faith is now "a lot quieter."

Her relationship with Pedro Pascal mirrors their characters' relationship

All About Bella Ramsey, the 19-Year-Old Star of HBO's 'The Last of Us' (3)

Pascal's character on Game of Thrones, Oberyn Martell, was killed off before Ramsey joined the show two seasons later, so the pair didn't meet until production began on The Last of Us in July 2021.

"We didn't get as chance to meet or bond before we started filming. We were very much just thrown in. And that chemistry was just there immediately and just grew and developed as Joel and Ellie's did," Ramsey told GameRant.com. "As their relationship developed so did ours. And I think that was a very nice parallel and, yeah, maybe it was intentional on Neil and Craig's [the creators of the show] behalf. To not give us time to like meet and bond. I think it worked really well."

Pascal added, "It's true, it was very parallel in terms of like getting to know each other by stepping onto the set at the same time and getting in front of the camera and getting the story. And our shyness with one another and invented expectations of one another just faded away."

On Feb. 27, 2023, Ramsey posted behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram from the set of The Last of Us. In one snap, Pascal could be seen standing in front of a picturesque landscape while another shot showed him engaging in a broom sword fight.

She's received several award nominations

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For her starring role in the medieval comedy film Catherine Called Birdy, Ramsey was nominated for a Critics Choice Award for best young actor/actress.

"Thank you very very much @CriticsChoice and what cooool people to be in a category with," she wrote on Twitter after the nominations were announced.

In addition to her Critics Choice Award nomination, Ramsey has earned BAFTA nominations for her roles in Hilda and The Worst Witch, plus a Screen Actors Guild nomination for her part in the Game of Thrones ensemble cast.

Not only has she earned recognition from awards shows, but her castmates have also sung her praises as well. Joe Alwyn, her Catherine Called Birdy costar, told the New York Times that Ramsey is "full of a childlike energy and a willingness to jump in and play, whilst also carrying a maturity and awareness way beyond her years."

She's spoken about being gender fluid

In her interview with the New York Times, Ramsey opened up about gender identity, saying, "I guess my gender has always been very fluid."

The actress added, "Someone would call me 'she' or 'her' and I wouldn't think about it, but I knew that if someone called me 'he' it was a bit exciting."

Ramsey also said she would tick "nonbinary" as an option if filling out a form. "I'm very much just a person," she shared. "Being gendered isn't something that I particularly like, but in terms of pronouns, I really couldn't care less."

She mastered her American accent by cursing

All About Bella Ramsey, the 19-Year-Old Star of HBO's 'The Last of Us' (5)

During an appearance on The Late Late Show, Ramsey explained that the first phrase with an American accent she mastered with her dialect coach was "olive oil." After that, came the curse words.

Fellow interviewee Regina Hall said, "that's really all you need" in terms of the teenager nailing her accent.

"Because the character that I play in this show, The Last of Us, Ellie, curses every two seconds," Ramsey told host James Corden. "So that was definitely important. There are so many [curse words]."

All About Bella Ramsey, the 19-Year-Old Star of HBO's 'The Last of Us' (2024)
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