"Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke vows not to take selfies with fans anymore after she was approached by a fan for a picture while experiencing a panic attack.
Clarke told Jessie Ware on a Tuesday episode of the Table Manners podcast that she began reevaluating the best way to interact with her fans after she suffered the anxiety attack in an airport.
“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,” Clarke said. “I was on my own. I was on the phone to my mom saying, ‘I feel like I can’t breathe. I don’t know what’s going on.’"
Clarke said her mom instructed her to take a seat, at which point she began crying.
"I’m there and the tears are coming out. I’m crying and crying, this guy’s like, ‘Can I get a selfie?’" Clarke said. "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 the interaction, Clarke said she now plans to sign something for her fans instead taking pictures with them, as she feels this is a more personal and less intrusive interaction.
“When you do that, you have to have an interaction with that person, as opposed to someone just going, ‘Give us a selfie, goodbye,'” she said. “It turns into, 'what's your name? Who am I making it out to? Then 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.”
During the interview, Clarke also recalled another interaction during which she was woken up on a plane by another fan who wanted a selfie. She said she understands that she "signed up" for regularly interacting with fans by being a public figure, but part of her misses her "anonymity."
"When someone's asking me for a selfie, I want to be able to provide for them what it is they're after," Clarke said. "I've just been trying to navigate how I can do it without feeling like my soul is completely empty."
Since wrapping up "Game of Thrones," Clarke starred in the holiday movie "Last Christmas," which is currently in theaters. She is slated to make her London stage debut in a production of Anton Chekov's "The Seagull" in 2020.
Clarke has been vocal about her mental and physical health before. Earlier this year, she penned an emotional essay revealing that she suffered two brain aneurysms, one in 2011 after filming the first season of the hit HBO series, and another in 2013, following the third season of the show.
"I’d never experienced fear like that — a sense of doom closing in," Clarke wrote about her first aneurysm. "I could see my life ahead, and it wasn’t worth living. I am an actor; I need to remember my lines. Now I couldn’t recall my name."