Claustrophobia: How Led Hannah from Septa to Suffocation

By Lokesh Umak
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From belting on stage to battling claustrophobia! How "Game of Thrones" triggered Hannah Waddingham's fear & how she's thriving
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Hannah Waddingham, the British actress best known for her Emmy-nominated portrayal of Septa Unella in “Game of Thrones,” has a voice that commands attention and a stage presence that fills any room. However, behind the confident exterior lies a surprising struggle – claustrophobia, a fear of enclosed spaces, ironically triggered by a particularly harrowing scene on the set of the popular fantasy series.

How “Game of Thrones” Led Hannah Waddingham to Claustrophobia

From belting on stage to battling claustrophobia! How "Game of Thrones" triggered Hannah Waddingham's fear & how she's thriving
From belting on stage to battling claustrophobia! How “Game of Thrones” triggered Hannah Waddingham’s fear & how she’s thriving | Image: Instagram

A Life Steeped in the Arts

Waddingham’s journey began far from the dragons and direwolves of Westeros. Born in Hammersmith, London, she was surrounded by creativity from a young age. Her father was a journalist and her mother a newsreader, nurturing her love for storytelling. Music became her passion, and she trained at the National Youth Theatre before attending the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) to hone her acting skills. Read more about the latest breaking celebrity news.

Early Career Success and the Allure of Westeros

Waddingham carved a niche for herself in British theatre, captivating audiences with her powerful vocals and comedic timing in musicals like “Spamalot” and “Kiss Me, Kate.” But her big break came in 2015 when she landed the role of Septa Unella, the stern religious fanatic tasked with shaming Cersei Lannister (played by Lena Headey) in “Game of Thrones.”

A Scene That Left Its Mark

Unella’s pivotal scene involved a brutal public shaming of Cersei. Waddingham later revealed that filming the scene, which required her to be strapped to a wooden table for ten hours with a character’s hand covering her mouth, triggered her claustrophobia. The experience, while delivering a powerful performance, left a lasting impact.

Living with Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia can manifest in various ways, from anxiety in elevators to panic attacks in crowded spaces. For Waddingham, it presents a unique challenge in a career that often involves confined sets, costumes, and even travel on airplanes. She has spoken openly about managing her fear, employing breathing techniques and seeking support when needed.

Beyond the Fear: A Thriving Career

Despite her claustrophobia, Waddingham hasn’t let it dictate her career choices. Following “Game of Thrones,” she went on to star in the critically acclaimed comedy series “Ted Lasso,” showcasing her comedic prowess. She even returned to her musical roots, voicing characters in Disney’s animated films “Moana” and “Hocus Pocus 2.”

An Inspiration for Others

Waddingham’s openness about her struggles with claustrophobia has resonated with many. It serves as a reminder that even the most successful individuals face challenges, both physical and mental. By sharing her story, she inspires others to confront their fears and live life to the fullest.

The Road Ahead

Hannah Waddingham’s career continues to flourish. She balances acting roles with voice-over work and stage performances, all while navigating the limitations imposed by her claustrophobia. Her talent, resilience, and openness inspire others to embrace their passions despite their fears. Whether belting out a showstopper on stage or delivering a captivating performance on screen, one thing remains certain: Hannah Waddingham’s voice will continue to resonate for years to come.

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