Stories From the Spectrum

Bella Ramsey opens up about being neurodivergent

As a young actor, Bella Ramsey is no stranger to discovering who they are in the public eye. And while anyone would be well within their rights to keep such things private, Ramsey speaks out where it counts, giving a voice to what any number of their fans are going through. In their latest interview, the The Last of Us star has shared their experience being neurodivergent.

Now 20 years old, Ramsey was diagnosed as neurodivergent at 18, while they were in the middle of filming the hit HBO series The Last of Us. “I’ve been thinking for years that maybe I was, and then to find that out whilst filming this show was super special,” they recalled during an interview with Elle in January.

Ramsey elaborated by praising the supportive environment onset. In particular, they developed “this really special relationship” with costar Pedro Pascal.

Now speaking to The Times, Ramsey has gone into further detail on the diagnosis. They described a hypersensitivity to  “micro-expressions and social cues” in day-to-day life. While this extreme awareness might seem like a boon to the young actor, it “massively” affects their work in more complicated ways. In one example, they described often having to scramble to learn their lines on the day of shooting.

“I don’t know if I’d be an actor if it wasn’t for that,” Ramsey said. “One of my things is I’m very perceptive, sometimes too perceptive. I get paralyzed because I just see everything – it takes me four hours to get round [supermarket] Tesco’s.”

But since the airing of The Last of Us, Ramsey has earned nothing but praise for their acting prowess. In July, they scored their first Emmy nomination, albeit in the gendered Outstanding Lead “Actress” category. Costars and crew have likewise had nothing but praise for Ramsey.

Now, with The Last of Us season two clear to begin production following the end of the writer’s strike, Ramsey is looking forward to portraying the tender queer romance in an upcoming storyline. According to showrunner Craig Mazen, work on season two kicked off the moment the strike ended.

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