Striplv Magazine - The Sexiest Magazine on the Planet, Issue 0817

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Though plot specifics are being guarded more closely than anything in Julian Assange’s imagination, Clarke is willing to wager that audiences will be satisfied with the level of blood, lust, and treachery. “Last season’s battle was ridiculous,” Clarke says. “But this season is off the chain. There’s another battle, but they topped it again.” She added via Instagram: “I believe this season is gonna be a mind blower.” In the meantime, the 30-year-old Clarke has undergone a personal evolution that may not be as wildly tempestuous as that of her Game of Thrones alter ego, but which is just as profound in its own way. The wildly popular global TV series was her first test of fire as an actress, and she’s since gone on to build her repertoire with major roles in Terminator: Genisys and last year’s tear-jerker, Me Before You. This summer, audiences will also get a chance to see Clarke in the dramatic thriller, Voice From the Stone, set in Tuscany, and next year she’ll be starring in the new Star Wars prequel film alongside Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo, taking over for Harrison Ford. She was also recently named the new face of Dolce & Gabbana’s The One fragrance. STRIPLV: You’ve said in previous years that your time on Game of Thrones had paralleled a deep personal evolution. Can you elaborate on that? CLARKE: Success forces you to change. After playing Daenerys for the first couple of seasons and making a name for myself in show business, I was still plagued by self-doubt and anxiety. Coming to terms with yourself and knowing what you want - that’s not easy for anyone, and especially not if you happen to be very sensitive. But it was during those difficult times and low moments that I started to figure out my life and evolve into the woman I am today. And I want to keep learning and never stop working on myself so that I can be more open and engaged in whatever I do. STRIPLV: Season seven promises to be a spectacular one for Daenerys and all the major players in Game of Thrones. Why do you think that your character has proven to be such an intense source of fascination for audiences? CLARKE: Daenerys is a strong and powerful woman. She’s a leader and fighter and survivor. One of the most compelling aspects of her is that she combines the strength of a man with the sensitivity of a woman. She also sets herself apart from the other main characters because her ultimate goal is pure and noble. She wants to rule over a world where all people are equal. STRIPLV: Do you see her as a role model? CLARKE: She’s a great example for young women. Daenerys possesses a level of self-confidence that is empowering to young women. Her journey throughout the series is that of a girl with low self-esteem who transforms herself into a powerful and resilient young woman. I think she’s a brilliant role model and I’ve personally gained a lot of confidence and determination simply from playing that kind of character and learning from her experience. STRIPLV: What has been one of the unforeseen benefits of playing a character like Daenerys and getting your big break with a series like Game of Thrones? CLARKE: It was just bonkers that I got known for a role that, on a day-to-day basis, was so far removed from myself. (Clarke holds her arms out as far as she can to demonstrate the distance that Daenerys feels away from her). STRIPLV: Is it at times staggering for you to realize that you’re part of arguably the greatest series in the history of television? CLARKE: It’s scary to even think about it! (Laughs) I’ve been very lucky and I certainly never imagined while working at this terrible call-center that one day I would be getting a part in a massive series like Game of Thrones. I would have been thrilled just with a small role, and I never expected that I would become one of the major characters. This has meant so much to me, and I’m immensely grateful. STRIPLV: Are people still surprised when they see you in person and you don’t have the blonde hair? CLARKE: (Laughs) They’re more surprised that I’m smaller than they expect (She’s 5’2”). I would love to try going blonde in real life, and every once in a while I promise myself that I’m going to do it, but then I chicken out. I still have terrible memories of dyeing my hair as a teenager, and the results were disastrous. I think I’m destined to remain a brunette. I love putting on the blonde wig, though. It changes my look completely, and it helps me get into the character and throw myself completely into Dany’s world. STRIPLV: Do you ever tease your friends by speaking in Dothraki? CLARKE: No, because it’s very difficult to remember and just as hard to pronounce. In season one, I had a lot of trouble memorizing my Dothraki lines and I would put all these Post-it notes all over my apartment with different expressions and lines written on them. Valyrian is much easier because it has a more melodic quality to it. When you’re speaking Dothraki, it’s more like you’re choking on your words. During season six, I was starting to get back into it, but it’s something you forget almost as soon as you leave the set. One time though I played a joke on one of the actors right in front of him doing my lines and I just spoke in some Dothraki gibberish and he had to keep a straight face! STRIPLV: You seem to be a very upbeat person. Is that your natural way of being? CLARKE: I’ve had a lot of good fortune in my life, and I feel so happy and excited to have been able to spend so much time working on such an incredible series. The first day I arrive on the set for the start of a new season is such an exciting moment for me, and it’s like the beginning of another great adventure. I’ve made so many wonderful friendships with the cast, and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done and the thousands of people who have worked very hard on this show over the years. STRIPLV: Did you always have the feeling that you would be successful? CLARKE: I believed that if I worked hard, good things would happen. I’ve been blessed with a strong work ethic that I get from mother especially. She started out as a secretary, and now she’s the vice president of marketing for a global consulting firm. My mother worked very hard to get to where she is, and I’ve always had that same kind of drive and determination. But I also know that a lot of luck is required to get a role in a play or film no matter how much talent you have. My parents were worried at first when I told them around 17 or 18 that I wanted to pursue acting as my profession because they knew that the odds are stacked against you. But once they knew how determined I was, they were very supportive. STRIPLV: When did you first know that wanted to be an actress? CLARKE: I was just three years old. My father worked as a sound engineer at the theater and often took me to the performances. What triggered things for me was when I saw the musical “Show Boat,” and from that moment on I knew I wanted to become an actress. As long as I can remember, I’ve always been watching plays, films, or reading stories. And performing is something that feels very natural and creatively satisfying to me. STRIPLV: Apart from Daenerys, what is another favorite role of yours? CLARKE: I loved playing Louisa in Me Before You. I got to be myself and do all the things I love in London, which is my hometown. Every single part of that movie was a tick, tick, tick on all boxes. Plus, the movie had fewer dragons, fewer swords, fewer beards in general, fewer deaths and fewer people are trying to kill me! STRIPLV: Over the course of your Game of Thrones days, is it becoming more and more difficult to walk around London unrecognized? CLARKE: It’s not as easy as it used to be, but I can still move pretty freely in public, which is very important to me. I have it so much easier than Peter Dinklage who is immediately recognized as Tyrion Lannister even if he is wearing a swimsuit and walking along the beach. Or Kit Harington as Jon Snow. I remember well how one time I was walking with Kit on 5th Avenue in New York and a whole horde of Game of Thrones fans descended upon us. STRIPLV: What are your goals once Game of Thrones comes to an end? CLARKE: I want to continue working in theater because that helps me improve and I love performing in front of an audience. I would also like to do a musical at some point because I enjoy singing. We’ll see. I’m probably going to make my fair share of good and bad choices, but fate and luck are all part of the game. I’m going to simply trust my instincts, and see where that takes me.

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