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Why Emma D'Arcy's Hair Proved To Be A Major Challenge In The House Of The Dragon Audition Process

A normal job interview requires normal things — a normal resume, a normal conversation about normally applicable skills, a normal amount confidence, that sort of thing. Done correctly, this sort of normalcy can land the interviewee a position in insurance, or mid-level management, perhaps. The performance industry is anything but normal, and the steps required for any given artist to land a position are rarely something one could consider standard fare. An audition (read: interviews for creative people) often requires everything from headshots (expensive self-portraits) to character work ("say that line again, but this time like your parents are dead") to gratuitous workout regimes (there's no joke here, just a depressing reality). 

As creatives audition to portray defined characters in a specific story, the performance industry is one of the only job markets in which a person may be rejected for their physical appearance. This kind of hook usually leads to sadder stories, where talented artists are denied access to the professional space by merit of aspects of their personage over which they have little to no control. In Emma D'arcy's case, however, fortune was kinder, if not a little weirder. For their "House of the Dragon" audition, the HBO showrunners requested that D'arcy perform a little theatrical magic. Here's that story, and how a homemade wig helped them snag a career-cementing role. 

The hair makes the princess, apparently

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Emma D'arcy shared how they auditioned for the "Game of Thrones" prequel series during the global pandemic via self-tape (read: a Tik Tok with — probably — more money on the line). Despite filming on their iPhone and believing their original recording was hastily done, it earned them entry to the next round of auditions. And then another round, and then another round. Like we said earlier, the performance industry is anything but normal. In this way, D'arcy ultimately had a virtual conversation with showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik. 

At the time, D'arcy's hair was very short. The showrunners felt as though they needed to see what D'arcy would look like with long hair, as Rhaenyra Targaryen — the rather important role that D'arcy was auditioning for — was to have flowing, pale hair. Unluckily for D'arcy, they didn't own a wig and, as Covid-19 restrictions were then still in place, there was nowhere that they could go to acquire one. So ... they made one instead, out of loose hair extensions and a wig cap. 

In D'arcy's own words, "For 24 hours, me and my partner just tried ... We hot glued these hair extensions to these wig grips. We would send photos to Miguel ... And he said, 'Can you keep trying?' We kept trying until we found something that gave me the illusion I had long hair. And then, every time we taped after that, I would sit in front of the telly, and my partner would do my hair extensions for an hour and a half before we taped anything." 

While bizarre, their efforts paid off. Emma D'arcy landed the pivotal role. Soon, they'll be known as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.