Emilia Clarke Couldn’t Look At Her Reflection After Her Brain Surgeries: ‘I Felt So Deeply Unattr

How could someone as striking as Emilia Clarke ever feel “deeply unattractive”?

Multiple brain surgeries will do the trick.

The Game of Thrones star opened up about the struggles she faced after undergoing two brain surgeries following an aneurysm, revealing that the hardest part of recovery wasn’t the physical pain: it was the mental pain.

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In an interview with the U.K. site Stylist, the 32-year-old admitted that she couldn’t stand the sight of herself after receiving her emergency brain surgeries. The first was in February 2011 — right around the time her HBO fantasy series started to take off — and the second was in 2013.

At first, it was the facial swelling that made the actress feel “deeply unattractive,” as she recalled:

“I was so full of drugs from being in the hospital that I had a lot of water retention, and one half of my face was quite swollen. I felt so deeply unattractive.”

But soon, Clarke realized that her body image issues went much deeper. She added:

“What I can see now is that I could see the pain behind my eyes. And no amount of anything can cover that.”

The blow to her confidence became so intense, the Brit said she went as far as to avoid looking at her own reflection, continuing:

“After my operations, I didn’t want to look at my own face. I don’t normally, but all my emotions were heightened. When I looked in the mirror, I just saw pain in my eyes. I found it very, very difficult. I used to put on make-up without looking in the mirror, which probably made me look a lot worse.”

Fortunately, Clarke was able to make like Khaleesi and conquer her problems head on. But unlike her Thrones character, the actress’ enemies weren’t external. (Actually, this probably applies to Daenerys, too…)

Realizing that her “feelings about self” had changed, Clarke decided to have a little chat with herself and rewire her thinking.

Now, the star is able to look in the mirror and be okay with what’s looking back at her.

She shared:

“ I always err on the side of wearing less makeup. My face didn’t change, but my feelings about myself changed. When you can look at yourself in the eyes and feel okay with what’s looking back at you, then what more do you need?”

She’s right. Money, power, and Iron Thrones are nice… but what good is any of that when you can’t stand to look at your own reflection?

That’s a lesson quite a few Game of Thrones characters could use right about now!

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