Gwendoline Christie, 'Game of Thrones' Brienne, proud of nude photos

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"Game of Thrones" fans might know Gwendoline Christie best as the stoic Brienne of Tarth, but in real life she's all laughter and lightness. Christie is a strong personality, which is why it doesn't come as a surprise to learn that she opened up in the new issue of Elle magazine about why the 6-foot-3, 36-year-old actress decided to do a nude photo shoot for Penny Borland at age 20.

"I thought I only wanted to take my clothes off if I had an amazing body and I didn't," she says of the shoot. "But there was another part of me -- intellectual or intuitive -- that said, 'This is exactly why you should do it. We can examine female beauty in a different way, and this is me, warts and all.'"

She also opens up about playing the role of Brienne, which many fans thought she was perfectly suited for long before she was ever cast.

"This is the part I always wanted to play but never knew existed," she tells Elle of the "Game of Thrones" character. "All the things I had wanted to cloak about myself, that I felt a little ashamed and embarrassed about, had been bullied for, these things had a place they could live -- in Brienne."

She continues, "What [people] said was cruel, but actually they were just confused and shocked. My father always said, 'You can do anything a man can do.'"

Christie couldn't seem to be happier with the way the interview turned out:

"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO with Season 4 on April 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images