Back in 2011, Emilia Clarke became a household name almost overnight for playing Daenerys Targaryen in HBO's hit series Game of Thrones. In the years since, the British actress has changed how she interacts with her superfans, including changing her policy on selfies. The reason Emilia Clarke won’t take photos with fans stems from one incident in particular, and it's so understandable how the star reacted to the experience.
During an interview with Jessie Ware on the Table Manners podcast that aired on Dec. 17, the Game of Thrones alum recalled the moment that a fan caught her at a bad time while she was in the throes of a panic attack.
"I was genuinely walking through an airport and I suddenly started having what I can only believe to be a panic attack brought on by complete exhaustion," she recounted to the host. "I was on my own, I was on the phone to my mum saying, 'I feel like I can’t breathe, I don’t know what’s going on.'"
She continued, "I’m there and the tears are coming out. I’m crying and crying, this guy’s like, 'Can I get a selfie?' And I was like, 'I can’t breathe, I’m really sorry. Just having a minute.' It was after a few moments like that where I was like, 'I don’t know how to do this.'" After that, Clarke — who was one of the most recognizable faces in the world during her GOT heyday — understandably decided to cut out all selfies with fans.
It's not the first time that the Last Christmas star has recounted having a less-than-positive experience that involved selfies. In a May 2016 cover story with Glamour, Clarke opened up about how she got unsolicited advice about her former relationships from fans.
"Well, a con is you have strangers giving you love-life advice like, 'I'm a big fan of the show, and I'm not sure what you're doing with that guy,' which I didn't react well to," she said about dating comedian Seth McFarlane in the public eye from 2012-2013. "That happened in New York when Seth and I were together. This guy started to give me advice: 'Can I get a selfie? And by the way…' Unh-unh, bro."
While she's sworn off selfies for good, Clarke said she's still happy to interact with the fans and thinks signing something is actually a more meaningful exchange.
"When you do that, you have to have an interaction with that person, as opposed to someone just going, ‘Oi, give us a selfie, goodbye,'" she said during the Table Manners podcast. "[After signing something], you have a chat and you’re actually having a truthful human-to-human thing, as opposed to it being this other thing that probably isn’t nice for them and isn’t nice to you."
In other words, if you ever see Clarke around, you're better off just foregoing the selfie request and instead getting the chance to have a conversation with her about her time on GOT with that autograph.