For a long time Emma Watson was synonymous with Hermione - the frizzy-haired, muggle-born, genius witch and female lead in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. But not anymore, and she’s making a point of it.
“[I've] spent more than half of my life pretending to be someone else,” Watson tells Porter in a new interview. “While my contemporaries were dying their hair and figuring out who they were, I was figuring out who Hermione was and how best to portray her.
“Now at 25 for the first time in my life I feel like I have a sense of self that I’m comfortable with. I actually do have things that I want to say and I want to be my most authentic self.”
One example Watson refers to is how she approaches dressing for red carpet appearances.
“When I was younger I remember being told ‘no pain no gain,’ but recently my willingness to wear something that makes me freezing cold or that I can’t walk in has changed.
“I want to feel fabulous and comfortable and sexy and strong and beautiful. And if it’s making you uncomfortable, don’t do it. It’s so sad if you need to go home just because you need to sit down! Moving forward, I’m prioritizing just feeling awesome.”
Watson adds that she doesn’t want there to be a separation between who she really is and how she appears in the public eye.
“It’s definitely the harder road to tread, but without a doubt, ultimately the most rewarding,” she says. “It sounds like a ridiculous thing to say, but I’m very interested in truth, in finding ways to be messy and unsure and flawed and incredible and great and my fullest self, all wrapped into one.”
Unexpectedly, her most defining moment was far away from the entertainment business when she delivered a speech on reclaiming the word “feminist” to the United Nations.
But she says she came close to not using the f-word. “I was encouraged not to use the word ‘feminism'. People felt that it was alienating and separating and the whole idea of the speech was to include as many people as possible.”
But she ultimately decided it was the right thing to do. “If women are terrified to use the word, how on earth are men supposed to start using it?”
Images: Rex Features, Harry Potter/Warner Bros