Welcome to our first-ever Women’s Month Series! Throughout the month of March, we will be highlighting different women in pop culture — fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — who we think exemplify accurate and honest portrayals of women in the mainstream media and use their voices to empower and uplift.
Daenerys Targaryen, Sarah Connor, Lou Clark, Qi’ra. These names have deep meanings in many different fandoms. However, there is one thing that all these characters have in common, Emilia Clarke. The immensely talented Clarke has used her skills as an actress to bring these unique personalities to our screens. Alongside being an award winning actress, she has also added philanthropist to her growing list of accomplishments.
Acting has been a love in Emilia Clarke’s life since a very early age. Clarke credits her passion to pursue acting to her father taking her to see the play Show Boat. Since her first play at age five, Clarke has been unstoppable force. Acting jobs didn’t come easily in her younger years, but she persisted and never gave up. Most people around the world will know Clarke for her work as the mother of dragons, Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. However, I guarantee most won’t know she finished off her last audition for the role by dancing the funky chicken and robot. This light hearted and joyful attitude is one of the many reasons so many fans adore her and her work.
In 2019 Clarke published a very personal essay in The New Yorker where she shared that she had experienced two life threatening brain aneurysms. The aneurysms took place in 2011 and 2013 during her time on Game of Thrones. In the article she shares how after the first brain surgery not being able to remember her full name. Fighting through feelings of panic, doom, and wanting things to end, Clarke worked her hardest to be back on set. All seemed to be going well until a second and third surgery were required. Another aneurysm had caused a brain bleed that would bring many dark days for Clarke with it.
The definition of a fighter is a person who does not easily admit defeat in spite of difficulties or opposition. Emilia Clarke is a fighter. Faced with fears of losing cognitive loss, death, and hopelessness, Clarke once again rose above the hand fate had dealt her. Never giving up she has returned to her full health. Wanting to bring a light to brain injury and stroke recovery, Clarke founded the charity, SameYou.
“Beyond my work as an actor, I’ve decided to throw myself into a charity I’ve helped develop in conjunction with partners in the U.K. and the U.S. It is called SameYou, and it aims to provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke. I feel endless gratitude—to my mum and brother, to my doctors and nurses, to my friends. Every day, I miss my father, who died of cancer in 2016, and I can never thank him enough for holding my hand to the very end.” said in her The New Yorker essay.
Throughout her career so far, Clarke has brought to light many key issues that are near to her heart. Alongside her SameYou charity, she has also been an ambassador to the Royal College of Nursing. She wishes to bring awareness about the working conditions for nurses in the U.K. In her acting career Clarke has been very vocal about the use of nudity in the film industry. She has spoken about feeling manipulated into nude scenes early on. Now with more experience, she learned quickly to vocalize her rights to say no.
Through tackling intimidating fandoms like Star Wars, Terminator, and Game of Thrones Clarke has always done so with grace and a laugh that can make anyone smile. Her heartwarming portrayal of Lou Clark in Me Before You, and tear jerking Kate in Last Christmas, are definitely need to see movies! With several rumored projects filming and in pre-production we are sure to see much more of Emilia Clarke in the years to come!
Make sure to follow Nerds & Beyond to see more of our Women’s History articles this month!