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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.
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By Claudia • April 7, 2019 • Articles, Interviews, Press

Even the Mother of Dragons gets sick. A slightly congested Emilia Clarke mentions she’s getting over the flu as we talk on the phone days after the Academy Awards. Apparently, going to the Oscars and hitting up Beyonce’s private after party didn’t help with her recovery. (“I basically cried at her,” she gushes over the experience.) But what’s one night of feeling ill on the red carpet when you’ve spent months filming battle scenes in wintery Northern Ireland in the most grueling conditions? If Khaleesi could make it to Winterfell alive, then Clarke could survive the climax of awards season with the flu.

Throughout Clarke’s nearly decade-long tenure as queen Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones, we’ve seen her walk through fire unburnt, devour a horse heart, and fly on the back of dragons. But in the fantasy juggernaut’s eighth and final season, which premieres April 14, Dany will find herself in completely new territory: at Winterfell with the Starks, on the brink of a war against the undead.

“She starts feeling pretty cocksure and confident, and then stuff happens,” Clarke tells BAZAAR.com of Dany’s arrival North and her first encounter with Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), which HBO teased in early promos.

Clarke’s casting as the platinum-haired heir to the Iron Throne was first announced in 2010. She’s grown a lot since then; Season 1 Emilia and Season 8 Emilia are “two incredibly different women,” Clarke says.

As she moves on from the Thrones world, she already has other projects lined up, like the holiday rom-com Last Christmas (co-written by Emma Thompson) opposite Henry Golding. She previously hit the big screen in 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, 2016’s Me Before You, and 2014’s Terminator Genisys. Clarke also landed a covetable role in the beauty sphere, as the face of Dolce & Gabbana’s The Only One fragrance, available now. In the ads, she’s a charming Italian chanteuse who breaks into song over dinner in Rome—a far cry from Khaleesi.

But nothing can compare to her experience on GoT, for better or worse. “Game of Thrones is probably the hardest shooting I’ll do, because it is so physical and you’re in a corset!” she emphasizes. “You’ve got the physical places of where you are, the weather is so extreme, and the hours are really long and there’s so much tension in each character towards the end. There’s so much tension in the room, and you’re concentrating so hard. It’s strenuous.”

After a long day on set, Clarke’s self-care routine ends with the ultimate release: “Taking off your goddamn bra and getting into your pajamas.” She’s also religious about removing her makeup (“You’ve put a lot on by the end of the day”), then cleansing and moisturizing every night. And once she’s in her PJs with a hot water bottle, it’s over for y’all.

Clarke’s journey on Game of Thrones culminated in a similar conclusion. “I think ending it was just the mother of all releases,” she says over the phone. “It was just the metaphorical undoing of the bra, except it’s like a 10-year experience.”

Here, Clarke tells BAZAAR.com about repping Dolce & Gabbana’s new scent, saying goodbye to Khaleesi, and promoting gender equality.

You’re the face of Dolce & Gabbana’s The Only One fragrance. What’s your experience with the scent like?

You know how you can get those fragrances that are really heavy and thick and kind of musty? That is not this at all. It’s very light, it’s very fresh, but also has quite a sexy undertone. When I was a kid, I remember me and my friends used to go out and spray boys’ perfume on ourselves ‘cause we thought it smelled so great. Obviously you’re attracted to it, your hormones are going crazy. But it’s got that bergamotty undertone that’s very sensual to smell whilst having this kind of light upper tone that’s very fresh and clean.

How does fragrance fit into your daily routine?

I have the whole ritual of: Get out of the shower, fully moisturize, and then spray on something lovely and you feel as fresh as possible. You feel like you’ve added a bit of yourself to yourself. You know when someone’s like, “Oh my God, I smelled you the other day on the tube?” I like that. I like having a specific fragrance that people know is yours.

On the topic of beauty, you’ve taken your hair back and forth from your original brunette to bleach blonde for Game of Thrones‘ last season, and now you’re back to brunette with a sleek bob. Tell me about your hair transformations in the past year.

I went blonde and I was so excited about it. I was just like, “Yes! Fresh start.” With peroxide blonde hair, you literally need no accessories; you’re walking around with a permanent accessory on your head. That was really fun while it lasted, but my hair dyed to death during that process, then after a while I think I exhausted the look for as much as I can. Going back to brunette, when I first did it, I must’ve looked in the mirror and was like, “This girl? I walked away from this girl. She’s a different person from who I am now.” But now, my hair feels so much better for being brunette and it’s a bit more me, but a me that I’m much happier with than when I was brunette before.

How do you keep your hair healthy while it’s colored?

Literally, don’t put crap in your hair. I feel like there’s so many options for moisturizers and conditioners and hair masks and all of that stuff, but really, don’t put a lot of crap in your hair and try not to curl it or straighten it too much. Just let it be.

What was it like filming your last scene on Game of Thrones? Was it immediate tears or champagne and celebration?

I started to do a little speech, not because I’m a pretentious actor, but because every time we said goodbye to a character, David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], the showrunners would give us a gift and the crew would be around and everyone would stop and you’d sort of say a few words and it was really beautiful. I mean, I got three words in before I just completely broke down. You just hold it in and you’re holding it in and you’re holding it in, and then I just burst into tears like a complete idiot.

Then we cracked open the champagne, but it was then that I realized that alcohol is a depressant! So it was less a celebratory champagne, it was more kind of like, [pretends to sob] “We did it! We got to the finish line!”

From the teasers, we’ve seen Sansa meeting Daenerys and Drogon flying over Winterfell, two juxtapositions we’ve never seen before. What was it like for you bringing Dany to this foreign new place and meeting the Starks for that opening scene?

It’s really surreal. I mean, you play into what it feels like for the character as well, because it’s new and it’s odd, and you’re coming into someone else’s turf and you’ve got a lot of actors that you know really well, who were like, “This is our home.” Then you come in and you’re like, “I know this only from the television; I’ve never been in this space here before in my life.”

But also I must admit for the character, I felt it. I felt with every one of those moments that obviously the show is packed to the gills with. I felt for her. I was like, “Yes! Here we are! We’re in, we’re speaking with Sansa, we are that much closer.” It felt great. Very, very exhilarating.

What was it like sharing a scene with Sophie Turner for the first time?

It was lovely. She’s a really good friend of mine, so it was very fun, it was very silly, it was very then like, “Oh! We’re doing this now, we’re having like an actor discussion,” as opposed to just me and Sophie. With all of those scenes meeting new people, it felt like every day was a little party.

Daenerys does wear a new outfit with red fur, which is really different from what she’s worn in previous seasons with metal plating or flowy dresses. What can you tell me about her outfits this season?

Michele Clapton, our unbelievably talented costume designer, really takes each character’s journey and reflects that in the clothing. Every single piece that I put on made sense for the scene that I was in, and made sense with the place that the character’s in at that time. There’s a real throughline for this particular season, there’s a real arc and I feel like fans, like hardcore fans, will clock what’s happening within the reflection of the clothing. There’s definitely a story to tell there.

It’s funny that you mention the fans because I feel like whatever bait you give them, they’ll find something, some clue, in it. What’s the craziest encounter with a fan you’ve ever had?

People ask me this and I wish I could be like, “This one time this guy gave me a horse and bent down on one knee and gave me a sword and took me away to his fucking theme park about dragons,” and it doesn’t happen. People just get very shy, very retiring, very sweet. It’s more kind of overwhelmed. I love it when people are like, “You’re a badass.” I love it when I get girls who are just like, “Yeah you can do it!” but I don’t get a lot of crazy from them. If I do, they keep it under wraps.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from being on the show?

You’re really good at remembering lines [laughs]. Oh heavens, I’ve learned how lucky I am to have the show. I’ve definitely learned how the people you work with can become such a family and such a support system, and to lean on them when needed because it’s a singularly unique trait that our show has had because you don’t normally get that much time with people. But more than anything, trusting myself and taking props for when it goes well, which I’m not very good at. Just tune out “shit.fm,” which is what I like to call the nonsense that your brain sometimes likes to tell you, and just try and relax and have fun.

In honor of Women’s History Month, I remember you wrote an essay on International Women’s Day in 2017 about growing up as a feminist with a very strong view of equality in the home and wanting that to be reflected in the world. Two years later, do you feel like the landscape has changed at all to reflect your view?

I think it’s gonna take an enormous effort and amounts of time for society to really embrace that fully, but I think we’re making all the moves in the right direction. I definitely think we’re pushing the needle a little bit every day and every little helps. If we can try and empower young girls and young boys to value the quality of their minds, to value the quality of human interaction, that will provide growth for you as a person. If we can try and shift focus away from purely aesthetics into something much more long-lasting and reliable that is our thoughts, our minds, our connections, our words, and our deeds, then I think we’re in great shape. But let’s hope.

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