Berkshire girl, Emilia Clarke, has become the toast of LA thanks to Game Of Thrones
Her role as royal exile Daenerys Targaryen Khaleesi, Mother Of Dragons in Game Of Thrones has transformed Emilia Clarke from girl-next-door to fully fledged Hollywood siren. Born in London on 26 October 1986, she was raised in Berkshire by her theatre sound engineer father and businesswoman mother.
Her childhood was idyllic. ‘One of the first houses we lived in was like something out of a fairy story,’ says Emilia. ‘We had a stream that ran through our garden and we played with the ducks – we locked them in my mum’s office and they pooed everywhere! It was crazy, picking blackberries and mushrooms, rabbits running through your legs.’
Her interest in acting began at the age of three after she saw the musical Show Boat, which her dad was working on at the time. But she didn’t take to it instantly. ‘My dad took me for an audition once to show me: “OK, you want to be a child actor this is what it’s like.” I sang a folk song about donkeys on this West End stage with this big director and there was a queue of 200 girls all singing Memory. I was terrible. Terrible.’
After being educated at Rye St Antony School and at St Edward’s School in Oxford, Emilia attended the prestigious Drama Centre London. She graduated in 2009 and got her first taste of fame in a Samaritans advert.
This was followed by her first TV role as Saskia Mayer in an episode of Doctors. The following year, she played Savannah in the TV movie Triassic attack.
Screen International magazine spotted her talent, naming her as one of the ‘UK Stars Of Tomorrow.’
The prediction was correct. Emilia landed her breakthrough role in Game Of Thrones in 2010 and just a year later she was nominated for a prestigious Primetime Emmy Award.
She says the Game Of Thrones stars are all mates who keep in touch when cameras stop rolling. ‘All of the boys I see regularly because we’re in London together,’ she says. ‘A special bond was made with the cast from the beginning and I don’t think that’s really going to go away.’
Emilia dated Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane for six months in 2012. She’s since been linked to her Game Of Thrones co-star Kit Harington, but he’s denied they’re dating.
Although her role as Khaleesi has made her famous, she rarely gets recognised. ‘I’m really oblivious to it because I look so different,’ says Emilia a natural brunette, in stark contrast to platinum blonde Daenerys.
But one woman in a department store in LA was too stunned to get in a lift when she saw Emilia was in it, asking: Khaleesi? ‘Then the doors closed and the lift kept going up,’ laughs Emilia. ‘Stuff like that happens and there’s also: “You kind of look like that girl from Game Of Thrones.”‘
Emilia sees parallels between herself and Daenerys’s upward journey. ‘I’d love to continue to mirror hers,’ she says. With the role of Sarah Connor in this year’s Terminator Genisys blockbuster opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger coming up, that looks certain.