Though growing up in front of the camera had its challenges for Sophie Turner, the actress, now 21, calls the gig "the best drama class I could have ever asked for"

By Mia McNiece
July 20, 2017 03:46 PM

Going though puberty is tough enough for most teens, but doing so in front of 25 million viewers makes it all the more challenging.

Just ask Sophie Turner, who was cast as Sansa Stark on Games of Thrones at age 12. Now at age 21, she reflects back on what it was like to go from young teen to an adult in front of the camera.

“That’s definitely been tricky to deal with — you’re growing up, and hormones and puberty and everything’s kind of hitting you all at once,” she tells PEOPLE.

But like her character, the young star has definitely matured over the past nine years, and Turner says she and Sansa have both been on an epic journey.

“We’ve been through so much together,” she says. “Everything that’s happened makes her who she is today. I can relate.”

Today, Turner is a bona fide fashionista, sitting front row at Louis Vuitton shows in Paris, party-hopping at the Golden Globes and turning heads in a lavish gown at the Met Gala in New York. She’s also landed her first major film role as Jean Grey in the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

She’s also found happiness in her personal life and has been dating singer Joe Jonas, 27, since last November.

  • For more on Sophie Turner and Game of Thrones, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

And as the show that made her a star comes to an end, Turner says she is grateful for the role of a lifetime.

“I’m so thankful to have gotten this job so early on,” she says. “It was the best drama class I could have ever asked for. A real gift.”

Game of Thrones airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on HBO.