Emilia Clarke, the 33-year-old British actress best known for her portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen on the epic HBO fantasy series, Game of Thrones, says that she will no longer pose for selfies with fans. And it all goes back to an incident in an airport when she suffered an anxiety attack, a frightening experience that was not respected by a fan, as she told the Table Manners podcast.
Clarke, who has also starred in 2015’s Terminator Genisys, did not specify when the incident occurred. But she told interviewer Jessie Ware that she was walking through an airport when the attack hit.
“I suddenly started having what I can only believe to be a panic attack brought on by complete exhaustion,” she said, as quoted by NBC News.
She was speaking on the phone to her mother, relaying her symptoms, when her mother told her to sit down and catch her breath. When she sat down, she immediately began sobbing, and then a fan approached her as if nothing was wrong.
“I’m crying and crying, this guy’s like, ‘Can I get a selfie?'” Clarke said.
That difficult interaction followed another incident in which Clarke was on a flight, sleeping, only to have a fan wake her up and request a selfie.
As a result, Clarke says that she will no longer take selfies with random fans. Instead, she says that she now offers to sign an autograph, which she describes as “an interaction with that person,” rather than simply “Give us a selfie, goodbye.”
When signing autographs, she says, she is more likely to engage in a conversation with the fan, rather than simply snap a picture and be done with it.
A decade after her debut on Game of Thrones, which elevated her to international stardom, she has gained experience dealing with the pressures of celebrity and the Hollywood industry. When she was just 23-years-old, she succumbed to pressure from the show’s creators to perform multiple nude scenes, a decision she resisted.
But the Game of Thrones producers told her that she would disappoint the fans. Though she objected, she said, she gave in to the demands because at the time she felt that she suffered from “imposter syndrome,” as if she was not deserving of her stardom.
Clarke has also endured not one, but two brain aneurysms, saying that when she was in an American hospital, “all I could think was, ‘Please don’t recognize me,'” she said, as quoted by Fox News.