Emilia Clarke: On Badass Roles, Inner Strength And Bumble Bees
Emilia Clarke talks exclusively to Natasha Bird as Yahoo Style launches its beautiful new site.
Trying to pin down a movie star is a tricky task at the best of times.
Trying to pin down Emilia Clarke, who is young and beautiful and who has had such extraordinary success as one of the most identifiable female protagonists of recent television history, is an even harder undertaking than usual.
She is about as in demand as it gets.
After weeks of trying to engineer a meeting that fits in with her ludicrously overstuffed schedule, we finally settle on a transatlantic chat from her Beverly Hills hotel. A chat which involves me scuttling out of St James’s Palace in a ball gown to take her call.
But a chat we did eventually have…and it was a good one.
When your first role involves birthing actual dragons, freeing thousands of slaves and wrangling a bunch of hardened warriors who keep competing like hormonal teenagers for the honour of dying on your behalf, it’s hard to imagine where you might go next.
Pretty cool then that her subsequent undertaking required strapping on Linda Hamilton’s old combat boots and entering into some serious fisticuffs with a relentless cyborg killer, as she assumes the part of Sarah Connor in the Terminator franchise.
[Image: Emilia as Sarah Connor / Terminator Genisys / Paramount Studios]
As typecasting goes, Emilia’s is pretty kick ass.
Fantasy Versus Reality
But becoming synonymous with the ‘strong independent female’ is an awkward cross to bear. With it often comes a lot of pressure to act the heroine outside of working hours. Just ask Angelina Jolie.
“I feel more than lucky to be playing strong women and to be, hopefully, inspiring some young women while they watch,” Emilia affirms.
“And being asked to play Sarah Connor was one of those jobs where it was like ‘How could I EVER say no to that?’
“But there’s a stark difference between television drama, or movies, and reality,” she concedes.
Emilia increasingly finds herself being held accountable for things that either her characters do or the Game of Thrones producers are responsible for, such as the treatment of the other female characters.
Somehow, in people’s minds, she so embodies the “breaker of chains” and advocate for a free and fairer world that when she tries to remonstrate with the show’s critics, reminding them that it is all make-believe and “not to take it too seriously”, she is pilloried.
[Image: Game of Thrones / HBO]
“It’s an interesting dichotomy,” she says, “because on the one hand I have had such lovely comments about me, for the strength of the role that I play. So then, to be asked about [some of the more harrowing things that other female characters have to go through] within the framework of the show, is tricky.”
“Ultimately,” she tries carefully to reiterate her position, “the show that we are on is a fantastical show. It is a story. But my saying that is in no way [a reflection] of the way I feel about women and the strength that we have.”
The fact that she is asked so often to address the injustices enacted upon other women in the show demonstrates an interesting inability, for many of us, to be able to separate the actress from the part.
London-born Emilia, it should be remembered, is all of 28-years-old and Daenerys Targaryen and Sarah Connor have been her first major roles. She’s still finding her feet.
With Time Comes Growth
But finding her feet is something she is definitely trying to do.
In fact, what she goes on to explain to me about her next choice of movie displays a thoughtfulness that I am embarrassed to say, took me slightly by surprise.
While I’m trying to credit her for picking roles that are ‘kick ass’ she, quite rightfully, reminds me that fortitude in a person isn’t all about carrying a bazooka gun or kicking bad guys in the teeth.
“I am trying to find roles that have strength at the heart of them…but not necessarily in the obvious sense,” Emilia explains.
“I just finished a film called Me Before You, where you get to see the beautiful grace of this female character. She absolutely has all the steel, but in a very different way,” she continues.
The film, which stars The Hunger Games actor Sam Claflin and was directed by Thea Sharrock, is a contemplative, heartfelt drama about a young woman who ends up forming an unlikely relationship with her recently disabled ward.
“It’s more that now I try to see the strength in every character, as opposed to [picking] the obvious ‘strong woman,’” she concludes.
Define Your Own Style
And just as Emilia is trying to figure out a more personal, nuanced relationship with the parts she’s taking on, it seems she’s taking a very similar approach to her personal style.
“Style, for me, means a lot of things. It’s self-expression,” she muses.
“I think I am very fortunate to be in a position where what I do is so creative that it inspires my own personal style, be it in the sofa I get for my house, or the bright pink mental shoes I want to put on my feet or even in the way I cut my hair.
“I think a lot of the social media that we have at the moment are really exciting platforms to have at your fingertips. Instagram, Pinterest…all these brilliant things allow you to have a constant stimulus of creativity that can add to your own natural style.
“The key to style, in my eyes, is being able to have as many influences as possible, to broaden your horizons. You can shock yourself about what you are actually attracted to, what makes you happy and what puts a smile on your face,” she finishes.
Little Bumble Bee
While we’re on the subject of personal style, I note that Emilia has just taken a significant step in cementing her own.
A quick peruse of her Instagram account and you’ll see a shot of her in a tattoo parlour.
“It’s actually my second,” she chimes in.
“I’ve got a little white one, so that was kinda like a half. But I went full out this time and got one that people can actually see,” she explains.
This second inking is a little bumble bee on her finger, to commemorate Me Before You.
“It was a beautiful experience with the best director ever, so I was very lucky,” she says as I can hear the smile in her voice.
Aware that the hourglass is nearly out of sand, I ask Emilia to reel off a few of the things that she’s really passionate about and we end up embroiled in a fun conversation about London, Emma Watson and how brilliant the NHS is, but we barely have time to really get into the nitty gritty before her agent is champing at the bit for us to wrap it up so that the movie star can be delivered to her next engagement.
The breadth of the topics we’ve covered serves to emphasise just how much energy Emilia has and for so varied a range of interests – a marker, probably, of still being relatively green. She’s brimming full of optimism for a career that has only just begun, in an industry that is still very new to her.
If her most recent choice of role, though, and the permanence of the ink that she’s commemorated it with are anything to go by, she’ll soon be making some very focused strides in a great direction.
Ksenia Svincova Artist | Professional | Traditional Art
RussiaDark fantasy, gothic stuff, gloomy tales
Current Residence: Moscow
I was graduated from Moscow State University of Printing Arts as an illustrator. My heart beats for all things gloomy, beautiful and macabre. I’m inspired by hundred of things.
The style, in which I work recently, inspired by several artists, some of them I found here on DA, and some of them I know since childhood. (Abigail Larson, Kmye Chan, Gris Grimly, Līga Kļaviņa, Anna Ignatieva, Virginia Mori, Arthur Rackham, Alan Lee, Edmund Dulac, Chris Riddell, John Bauer, Kay Nielsen, Tony DiTerlizzi, Harry Clarke, Joseph Vargo) And of course, I love the creativity of Tim Burton.
TO BE DESTROYED 07/01/15 A volunteer writes: There are dogs and then there are DOGS, and beautiful Brodie is in the latter camp, a stunning Shepherd mix with the face of an angel and the body of a horse! He’s still a bit underweight at 90 pounds and to describe him as a head-turner would be a huge (forgive the pun) understatement. He’s so magnificent that even jaded NYPD officers did a full-on double take as he strutted past them in the hallway, and though he’s been with us only a few days, everyone at the Care Center already knows and loves ‘Big Brodie’. I’d heard he was a strong boy, but I had no problems strolling with him out to the yard and he took care of his business quickly (his den was clean too) before following me into a double pen where we could really give those long legs the workout they deserve. Brodie is playful and energetic but far from hyper and he politely sits on command to wait for a throw of the tennis ball then dashes after it and returns immediately to my side, sometimes with the ball and sometimes without. He doesn’t guard his things but he does LOVE his food and it’s best to just let him have at it and allow him to clean his bowl — believe me, you won’t be waiting long! He’s easy to leash and unleash, enjoys petting all over and (fortunately for my puny arms) hops easily back into his kennel with no complaints at all. Did I mention he’s also great with other dogs and received a perfect score on his doggie socialization test? I dream of this mascot-in-the-making running free in a countryside meadow but I’ll settle for a loving home where he’ll have all the exercise and mental stimulation a young Shepherd needs to stay happy and healthy. Brodie is beautiful inside and out and he deserves only the best in life, are you ready to give it to him?
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This Old House editors: You could remove your downspout and install a rain chain, like the one shown here, in its place. These chains guide water to the ground, often through a series of cups that create a soothing sound as they slow the flow. This solution works best on houses with wide overhangs and slab-on-grade foundations, where splash-back and drainage are less of a concern.
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