Gemma Elizabeth Whelan (born 23 April 1981) is an English actress and comedian, best known for playing Yara Greyjoy in the HBO fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones.
Whelan attended The King’s High School for Girls in Warwick. In addition to being an actor and comedian, Whelan is also a professional dancer specializing in the tap and jazz dance styles. She is a member of the dance troupe the Beaux Belles, based in London. She is also trained in musical theatre and has a mezzo-soprano singing voice. Whelan can speak conversational Spanish. She lives in London. In July 2017, she was expecting her first child with husband Gerry. She gave birth to their daughter a few months later.
Whelan is vegetarian but had eaten meat on the sets of Game of Thrones.
As a comedian, Whelan won the Funny Women Variety Award for stand-up comedy in 2010. She often performs stand-up in character as Chastity Butterworth and in 2014 she recorded a pilot chat show for BBC Radio 4 called The Chastity Butterworth Show.
On screen, she has played supporting roles in several films and TV shows, including in the 2010 films Gulliver’s Travels and The Wolfman. She has had roles in comedies including Upstart Crow, Uncle and The Agency.
In August 2011, she was cast as Yara Greyjoy in the HBO fantasy-drama television series Game of Thrones, and appeared as a recurring cast member from the second season onward.
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