Emilia Clarke Goes Topless as Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive 2015

Emilia Clarke
Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has been dubbed Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive of 2015, and gone topless to celebrate the occasion. Vincent Peters/Esquire

Khaleesi runs the world. Game of Thrones heroine Emilia Clarke has been anointed Esquire's "Sexiest Woman Alive" of 2015, and has celebrated the occasion by posing topless on the November 2015 issue's cover.

emilia clarke
Vincent Peters/Esquire

The announcement, which was made on Tuesday, Oct. 13, followed another recent victory for Clarke, 28, who was dubbed GQ's Woman of the Year in September. On her latest cover, Clarke poses provocatively on a bed lined with silk sheets that strategically cover her derriere.

Esquire's editorial projects director, Lisa Hintelmann, revealed why Clarke was first choice for the title. "Emilia Clarke is unforgettable in Game of Thrones and was hands down the number one choice of Esquire's staff, friends and family," Hintelmann told the Associated Press, adding that the star encompasses everything from sultriness to cuteness, or what Esquire describes as "the gorgeous balance of Emilia Clarke."

Clarke — who follows in the footsteps of such A-list women as Penelope Cruz (2014), Scarlett Johansson (2013), Mila Kunis (2012), and Rihanna (2011) — was little known before she was catapulted into the spotlight as Daenerys Targaryen, also known on the HBO show as the "Mother of Dragons." According to the Brit, she wasn't even a contender originally for the role.

emilia clarke 2
Vincent Peters/Esquire

"And then my agent calls me up and says, 'Did you ever go up for Game of Thrones?'" she told Esquire, explaining that the original pilot for the series had prompted showrunners to recast the role of Khaleesi. "My agent told the casting director, 'I know that the breakdown for this character is tall and willowy and blonde. I know she's short and round and brown, but I'd like you to see her.'"

emilia clarke 3
Vincent Peters/Esquire

Clarke, who was 23 years old while filming the first season of Game of Thrones, revealed in the cover story that it was hard handling her many nude scenes at first.

"Once, I had to take a little time out," Clarke recalled. "I said I needed a cup of tea, had a bit of a cry, and was ready for the next scene."

emilia clarke 4
Vincent Peters/Esquire

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