Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke is an extremely recognizable person. As such, she’s approached on a regular basis by fans, many of whom want to take a selfie with her. Most of the time, she doesn’t honor the request, but it’s not because she isn’t willing to give some of her time.
The actress stopped by the Table Manners with Jessie Ware podcast near the end of last year to discuss her life. I somehow missed it when it first came out, but the part about her interacting with fans struck me. Basically, she doesn’t do selfies because it feels like a really inhuman and awkward interaction. Instead, she asks fans if they would like her to sign an autograph because it’s (mostly) the same end result but it offers an opportunity to have a quick conversation, make eye contact and talk like human beings. Here’s a portion of her quote…
“When someone’s asking me for a selfie, I want to be able to provide for them what it is they’re after. … When you do a signing thing, you can actually look into their eyes and have a proper real human thing. … I’ve just been trying to navigate how I can [interact with fans] without feeling like my soul is completely empty. Because they don’t really want to talk to you.”
See, that’s the part I find most interesting about this. You would think fans would want to talk to Emilia Clarke and ask her questions about the show or her opinions or what she’s doing next. I’m sure there are some of them that do that too, but there are apparently a lot of people that just want to walk up, ask for a picture, take it and then leave. That has to be a profoundly weird experience.
Then again, it has to be a profoundly weird experience to be on a show as popular as Game Of Thrones. You could go your whole career without producing anything that’s as watched and dissected as that show. Emilia Clarke and her co-stars also got the full range of emotions from certain episodes and seasons that people absolutely adored and said were among the best entertainment ever created, as well as a final season that left some fans really angry and willing to nitpick.
What exactly movie stars and athletes and other famous people owe fans is an open question. On the one hand, there should be at least an understanding and an appreciation that people willing to pay for what you are producing or doing is paying the bills. On the other hand, that doesn't mean the celebrity owes you something beyond putting honest hard work into the content they're creating. Emilia Clarke told a story on the podcast about how she was having breathing difficulties and possibly having a panic attack when a fan came up to her and asked for a selfie. Fame doesn’t take a break or operate on a desired time schedule.
It seems like Emilia Clarke has found that balance, and I can’t wait for the next project that makes her even more famous. Just don’t expect it to be a stupid action movie and don't ask for a selfie after that happens. Go for the autograph instead.