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Welcome to Enchanting Emilia Clarke, formerly Emilia Clarke Central (2012-2016), a fansite decided to the actress most known as Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones since 2011. She has also stared in Terminator Genisys, Me Before You, Voice From the Stone, and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Emilia's become one of Hollywood's A-listers as well as representing Dolce & Gabbana's The One perfume. That's not to mention being beloved by fans and celebrities internationally for her funny, quirky, humble, and genuine personality. She's truly Enchanting.
By AliKat • December 17, 2017 • Game of Thrones, Interviews, Solo: A Star Wars Story

THE TELEGRAPH – Emilia Clarke walks into a suite at Claridge’s, a gaggle of publicists and agents surrounding her, with the kind of poise that you would expect from a queen.

 

To the tens of millions of fans of Game of Thrones, the show that catapulted her to fame only a year out of drama school, it’s a not unfamiliar scene.

 

Although of course, as Daenerys Targaryen, the all-powerful, slave-freeing queen of the show, it would be some kind of windswept castle or ancient pyramid, and her retinue would be in armour.

 

Even her newly blonde hair is apt (until now she’s worn a wig on the show). Like the character she plays, Emilia’s is a story of success against the odds (of which more later), but there the similarities end.

 

At 31, the English rose couldn’t be less like the prickly queen she plays (full title: Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne, rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains… or just Dany for short).

 

Emilia is funny, light-hearted and, that entrance aside, a million miles from grand. She’s much more like the carefree, dancing girl she plays in the new campaign for the Dolce & Gabbana fragrance The One. (When the brand asked if she would be its new face, ‘I was like, “Well, yeah. Duh.”’)

 

In the past, Emilia has had to deal with uncomfortable questions about how she, as a woman, justified the arguably gratuitous female nudity and gruesome violence for which Game of Thrones initially made headlines.

 

But long before the Harvey Weinstein scandal turned Hollywood upside down, the show’s plot pulled a complete 180 – and now it’s the female characters who are fighting over the titular thrones. And everyone, but everyone, is rooting for the 5ft 2in Khaleesi, who is proving to be just as fierce as her dragons.

 

Playing the role has sharpened Emilia’s own feminist impulses. ‘It’s given me a real insight into what it feels like to be a woman who stands up to inequality and hate. And as she [Daenerys] has become more empowered as a woman, you can’t hide any more,’ she says. ‘You are adding to the voices that are going to make people realise an equal society is what we’re aiming for.’

 

Emilia grew up near Oxford with her older brothers, and was surrounded by strong examples of equality. Her mother, who worked as a marketing executive, was the primary breadwinner, while her father worked as a sound engineer in musical theatre – so it was the norm for Emilia to see a woman in a position of power at work.

 

‘That’s the lens through which I’ve been fortunate enough to view the world,’ she says. ‘It’s only when you go to school that you’re like, “Oh, that’s different, that’s weird.”’

 

After attending the private boarding school St Edward’s in Oxford (where she discovered her love of acting through school productions), she was still studying at the Drama Centre in London – and earning money with a catering job – when she was cast in her first role, in an episode of BBC One’s Doctors.

 

It was in 2009 that she auditioned for Game of Thrones. The casting director had been looking for a tall, willowy blonde. ‘I genuinely don’t know what it was that set me aside. I mean, I didn’t look the part at all,’ laughs Emilia.

 

‘I [readied] myself, listened to a little Tupac and bowled in, obviously still a bag of nerves. But I just tried to play the truth of it.’ It may have been her sense of humour that helped her win the role – the actress read for her part, but also broke into a ‘funky chicken’ dance in front of the HBO execs.

 

As Game of Thrones gained momentum and Emilia has become a recognisable celebrity, she has struggled with some aspects of fame. She gets stopped on the street increasingly often, and finds crowds of fans incredibly stressful.

 

‘Airports are a constant source of fear,’ she admits. ‘When you’re in a really public place and someone asks you for a picture, then suddenly you get people who don’t know who you are, or really care, come up and join in. Then it gets kind of freaky. Because you’re like, “It’s just me. I’m by myself, feeling outnumbered.” It’s overwhelming.’

 

 

One would think that all the nude scenes she’s filmed for Game of Thrones would also have caused her anxiety, but no. She has branded those who criticised her for going naked ‘anti-feminist’.

 

Between seasons, Emilia has found time to film some major pop culture, including a role in Solo: A Star Wars Story, a prequel about Hans Solo’s early years to be released next year. The project remains shrouded in secrecy – all Emilia can say is that her character is ‘really cool’.

 

She was also the lead in last year’s Me Before You, the adaptation of Jojo Moyes’s bestseller, and next summer she’s due to be reunited with its director, Thea Sharrock, in a West End play called Five Times in One Night.

 

Both she and Kit Harington – who plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, and (spoiler alert!) is now her on-screen lover -flew to Naples to film adverts for Dolce & Gabbana (today, naturally, she’s in a black Dolce dress, with statement tiger-head buttons on the collar and sleeves). Set against the heady backdrop of a lively street festival, Emilia became swept up in the atmosphere.

 

‘I’ve been to Italy before, but not Naples,’ she says. ‘It was all locals in the advert, which was even funnier because it was so authentic. I think there were a lot of out-takes with me like, “What the hell is going on, this is so cool!” I feel Dolce & Gabbana is [for] girls [who] are at ease in their own skin,’ she says. ‘They have a frivolity and a femininity that I can relate to… It fits really well.’

 

For now she’s now back on set for the final series of Game of Thrones. Last season, her Instagram feed was filled with videos of her and Harington goofing around behind the scenes. But this time around the restrictions are more serious.

 

‘We have a very strict social-media ban this year because people need to stop spoiling it for everyone,’ she says, pouting slightly. ‘It’s really frustrating.’ Even Emilia doesn’t know what’s planned for her character (the TV series has now gone past the point George RR Martin’s books have reached).

 

‘They’ve written a number of different endings,’ she says. ‘So none of the cast know what the actual ending is. If there’s ever a leak of any kind, don’t believe it because it’s probably not true.’

 

No matter how it ends, Emilia seems deeply sad for Game of Thrones to leave her life. When asked how she’s feeling about it, she simply frowns and says, ‘emotional. It’s a big one.’ That said, being on the show is not without its downsides. During the seven months she spends filming each season, she typically wakes around 4am to head into hair and make-up, with 18-hour shoot days that can often involve riding prosthetic dragons in front of green screens for hours on end.

 

As a result of this intense schedule, her personal life has fallen by the wayside. She dated actor Seth MacFarlane between 2012 and 2013, but isn’t currently romantically linked to anyone. Once Game of Thrones wraps for good in 2018, for the first time in seven years she will have free time.

 

She often tries to remind herself that in order to create characters, you have to spend time in the real world. ‘The thing with being an actor is, to play the roles you need to have an idea of more than just getting into a car and getting to a set,’ she says.

 

Her goal, lately, is to take more time to be herself. She and her best friend – the actor and writer Lola Frears (daughter of director Stephen), with whom she’s also writing a script – have been working their way through a list of 60 influential movies given to her by Solo screenwriter Jon Kasdan. The most recent: All About Eve.

 

She’s reading Zadie Smith’s Swing Time, loves Kendrick Lamar and went to Glastonbury for the first time this summer. Fans filmed her dancing wildly to Stormzy’s set, but she didn’t care – she was having too much fun.

 

Her family have always supported her dream of acting; although her father, being in the industry, joked early on that she’d only ever need to remember one line: ‘Do you want fries with that?’ Tragically, he died from cancer last summer while the actress was filming upcoming thriller Above Suspicion alongside Jack Huston in Kentucky.

 

Now Emilia focuses on her mum and her brother, Bennett, who works in the camera department on Game of Thrones. She credits her interest in Star Wars and Comic Con culture to him. ‘My brother was a huge fan, and I wanted to be like my brother in every way,’ she laughs. ‘Sometimes he does the clapper before my takes [on Game of Thrones]. I’m always like, “Don’t f— it up!” It gets very unprofessional very quickly.’

 

Game of Thrones has also brought her security – it has been estimated that she earns up to $500,000 per episode. She owns a house in the LA neighbourhood of Venice, although she admits that she rarely spends time there.

 

‘I can provide [financially] for my friends and family,’ she says. ‘Genuinely, that’s the best thing. Knowing that everyone I love is going to be fine. It sounds like a real Oprah Winfrey sob story, but it’s very true. It’s incredibly empowering as a young lady.’

 

Emilia Clarke is the face of Dolce & Gabbana The One, £50 for 30ml edp.

 

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