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'It wasn't an easy thing to do': Emma Watson on her anxieties before UN speech which became viral sensation

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Emma Watson has spoken about how nervous she felt giving her groundbreaking He For She speech on feminism at the UN last month.

In an interview with Elle magazine, the 24-year-old actress spoke about her role as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women.

Her inaugural speech for the role went viral as she discussed why she was a feminist and called upon men to help end global gender equality - and launched the He For She campaign which calls upon both men to take a stand on gender equality. Emma said in her speech "We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence."

Before giving the speech, she admits "I was very nervous. It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do. It felt like: 'Am I going to have lunch with these people, or am I going to be eaten? Am I the lunch?'"

But the speech was a success, with over 6 million views on YouTube and thousands of people tweeting their support for He For She, partially because of Emma's honest and moving way of speaking about feminism and why it is important to her. 

During the speech, she admitted that she might not be the most obvious ambassador for feminism: "You might be thinking ‘who is this Harry Potter girl and what is she doing speaking at the UN?’ and it’s a really good question, and I’ve been asking myself the same thing. All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make it better." 

Emma speech

Emma Watson speaking about the He For She campaign

But Emma acknowledges that she can use her position and fame to help with causes she believe in even more than she believed possible. "Fame is not something I have always felt comfortable with; I have really grappled with it emotionally. And, in a funny way, doing this is my way of making sense of the fame, of using it. I have found a way to channel it towards something else, which makes it so much more manageable for me. And this is something I really believe in."

She also reiterated in the interview why she thinks feminism is important and how we all can work together to promote gender equality. "Feminism not here to dictate to you. It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic. All we are here to do is give you a choice. If you want to run for President, you can. If you don’t, that’s wonderful, too."

"I’m lucky I was raised to believe that my opinion at the dinner table was valuable. My mum and I spoke as loudly as my brothers." And it appears her nervousness to speak about something she believes in so passionately has paid off.

Read the full interview in Elle UK‘s December 2014 issue, and watch Emma's speech below.

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