My first true exposure to the expansive work of Emilia Clarke was in the 2016 romantic drama Me Before You, where the actress starred opposite Sam Claflin in the role of Lou, a quirky and cheerful young woman who finds herself as a caregiver. Many, however, were first introduced to the British actress in HBO's hit series Game of Thrones, as Daenerys Targaryen, a fierce warrior queen who took to the skies on the back of dragons. No matter how you 'met' Clarke, there's no denying you've seen her face flash across your television screen at one time or another.
Following the conclusion of the latter (and a worldwide pandemic that swept the film industry into its turmoil), Clarke has more than a few impressive projects under her belt for the next year and a role with Clinique as one of their ambassadors. We chatted with the actress about her go-to beauty and wellness routines, projects we should be keeping an eye out for, and a change in pace of life post Game of Thrones.
What kind of projects can we expect from you in 2023?
I've got my Marvel TV show coming out in the summer (which is very exciting) and I also have a little indie that I shot last year that's coming out in the summer as well. And then I go off to shoot a movie in October so that won't come out in 2023, but that's what my 2023 looks like right now.
Moving on to a little about beauty: could you walk us through how you're incorporating Clinique's new Moisture Surge SPF into your routine?
I do it every morning! I cleanse, tone, and moisturize, and knowing that now I have moisturizer that even if I forget to put my extra SPF on there's a little bit there, you feel like a goody two shoes. You know what I mean? Like, 'Aha I won! I did what everyone told me to do and I didn't even have to try!'
And it's the same delicious texture. I have dry sensitive skin, so I need any moisturizer that's going to really give my skin what it needs. It's a game changer for my routine.
Are you a daily SPF user and why is it important to you?
SPF is basically what everyone says you've got to do and I'm a latecomer to it. I mean I always wear SPF in the summer! I can absolutely guarantee I've never not done that especially on holiday to the point where I'm wearing a hat the whole time as well as Factor 80 on my face). But then I get back to London and I'm like, 'I'm not on holiday so I'm not going to do that.'
So, I'm trying to force myself to start wearing it no matter the season no matter what's going on. It's the easiest, simplest thing you can do to prevent your skin from drying out, getting age spots, or wrinkles. It's something that is non-invasive and relatively cheap.
What other skincare products are non negotiable for you?
I cleanse, I tone, I moisturize every morning and every night. That there, that's something I have to do. I also use a jade roller in the morning and sometimes I use a sheet mask as well and I keep all those things in the fridge. My skin genuinely gets so dry. So, yeah I would say I'm a big hydration kind of gal.
I love that! Let's talk a little about affirmations since I hear you're practicing them. How have they positively affected your daily routine?
Every morning I do my yoga and I meditate and I'll finish that whole practice with an affirmation. I'm tuning it to whatever I need that day and to how much I need to calm down or prep before entering my day. It really helps to put a hand on your chest because it feels supportive. It feels like you've got yourself and that's something you can re-tap into.
I'll also finish my journaling at night with affirmations for going into sleep to be like, 'the day is done, you're amazing, everything is wonderful, your exactly where you should be—let's go!'
Do you also do some gratitude journaling in addition to that?
Yeah! I got into gratitude listing in my head. I was having a bit of a tricky time and I found myself trying to just get down the simplest stuff that I as grateful for. This is kind of silly, but I live in a very old house. The plumbing is the least reliable thing you could possible imagine.There are days when the shower is cold so on the days when the shower is hot (this is something I've done consistently now) I'm like, 'thank you! I am so grateful for hot water.' It's so simple, but my God am I grateful for it.
I've also been growing my hair and trying to really take care of my hair. When I'm blow drying my hair I'm like, 'I did it! I grew my hair!' Really simple, tiny little things. But the more that you do, the more grateful your are for them. It's just like a scientific fact at this point. So yeah, I do it to keep things from getting too muddy in my head.
Amazing! So, moving on to red carpet looks. Are there any that have been your favorite lately?
Yes! As in what I did or what other people are doing?
I was hoping to find out your favorites from what you've done but if you've seen any you've loved from other people—go for it!
Okay because there's some women doing the red carpet lately and I'm like, 'oh my god that's amazing!' My favorite red carpet look [I've worn] was the last time I was at the Emmy's in 2018. Pre-pandemic nine thousand years ago at the Emmys! I felt so fierce. The shoes were ridiculous, my feet were bleeding by the end but it was worth it.
You've definitely worn some amazing outfits (especially in Game of Thrones!) How has post Game of Thrones Life been?
Post Game of Thrones life has been lovely. I've been having a great time! I will never wear costumes that beautiful again in my life unless I have the privilege of working with Michelle Clapton again. But she definitely makes costumes that looked great but felt horrific. You couldn't pay me to be in a corset again! They had to take me out of my costumes before I could eat. It looked amazing but—the price!
Are there any red carpet looks you've picked up over the years and have you picked up any tips on set?
On set is sort of the time where I would ask what product they were using. But because it's character makeup, it's normally how they're applying it that I'm paying attention to rather than what they're applying because it's so specific to the character. For red carpets, my amazing makeup artist Lynsey Alexander taught me that when you're doing an eyeliner flick with a liquid eyeliner, the way to make it perfect is by using a q-tip more than you're using the product.
You put on the eyeliner and then, with one of those really thin q-tips, you flick it to how you want it so you don't have to spend hours trying to perfect it! You can just put that eyeliner on and then get your q-tip and form it to how you want. Your eyeliner flick should look like an extra eyelash. That's how you open the eyes up!
I did want to ask you about your brows since they're bold, big, and beautiful. What do you do to them?
I leave them alone but I do get them threaded so I don't look like Elmo! You know how sometimes you get eyebrow hairs that are down here? I'm not shaping them, but I'm just threading excess and then I brush them and that's it.
They're absolutely beautiful and so expressive! Now, if you had to give your younger self some advice, what would you say?
Don't ever bleach your hair. Oh no! It's too late. You already did. Also, to always cleanse and moisturize but I always have done that so it's really tricky. My younger self had as good as an idea about what worked for my skin as I do, but I've tried all the different things and now I'm right back to where I started.
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