30 Times Emma Watson's Words Were Positively Spellbinding
It's no secret Emma Watson played an amazing Hermione Granger in the "Harry Potter" series, but there's much more to this actor than her Hogwarts roots. Ten years post-"Harry Potter" and on the cusp of turning 31, Emma is not just an actor, but an activist for issues like gender inequality, women's rights, and sustainable fashion. She's starred in films like Beauty and the Beast, Little Women, and The Bling Ring, and in interviews, social media posts, and speeches she has shared important life lessons.
The star is a total catch, and her thoughtful interviews with media outlets show that she's got a level head about it all — from her dating life to her acting career, confidence as a woman, and even romantic entanglements with costars. And how can we forget her epic speech at the United Nations? If you're interested in hearing some of our favorite quotes from the inspirational Emma Watson, check them out ahead.
— Additional reporting by Haley Lyndes
On How Gender Equality Benefits Everyone
"Gender equality not only liberates women but also men from prescribed gender stereotypes."
On Her Vanity Fair Photo Shoot That Showed Her Breasts
"Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It's about freedom, it's about liberation, it's about equality. I really don't know what my tits have to do with it. It's very confusing."
On Wage Gaps For Women vs. Men
"We are not supposed to talk about money, because people will think you're difficult or a diva. But there's a willingness now to be like, fine. Call me a 'diva', call me a 'feminazi', call me 'difficult', call me a 'First World feminist', call me whatever you want, it's not going to stop me from trying to do the right thing and make sure that the right thing happens. Because it doesn't just affect me, it affects all the other women who are in this with me, and it affects all the other men who are in this with me, too."
On What the Word Feminism Means
"Women want to be women. We just want to be treated equally. It's not about man hating. [US feminist, author and activist] Bell Hooks says, 'Patriarchy has no gender.' It's true."
On Her Magazine Covers
"Comparing myself to how I look, when I've gone through all of that makeup and styling, in my normal life is . . . just . . . I can't live up to it. I was like, 'Holy sh*t! If that's how I feel — and I get to be the person who's on the cover of those magazines — how's anyone else meant to cope?'"
On Her Own Experiences With Sexism
"I've had my arse slapped as I've left a room. I've felt scared walking home. I've had people following me. I don't talk about these experiences much, because coming from me they'll sound like a huge deal and I don't want this to be about me, but most women I know have experienced it and worse . . . this is unfortunately how it is. It's so much more pervasive than we acknowledge. It shouldn't be an acceptable fact of life that women should be afraid."
On Why Men Shouldn't Be Afraid to Call Themselves Feminists
"There are misconceptions about the word. The way it is constructed — it's obviously got feminine in the word — immediately pushes men away from it, because they think, 'Oh, it's got nothing to do with me.' Also, they have this idea that it is about women competing with men, or being against men, or wanting to be men, which is a huge misconception."
On Supporting Women's and Girls Organizations
"Supporting women's and girls organizations is the single greatest hope we have for worldwide transformative change — and my philanthropic choices are grounded in that belief."
On Turning 30
"I was like: 'Why does everyone make such a big fuss about turning 30? This is not a big deal …' Cut to 29, and I'm like: 'Oh my god, I feel so stressed and anxious.' And I realize it's because there is suddenly this bloody influx of subliminal messaging around. If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning 30, and you're not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you're still figuring things out . . . There's this incredible amount of anxiety."
On Working With Laura Dern and Meryl Streep in Little Women
"What was really nice about working with Laura Dern and Meryl Streep was that the three of us knew each other way before we did Little Women. We met in activist spaces, so we had this allyship and solidarity as activists that had been part of a certain movement before we ever worked together."
On MTV Going Gender Neutral
"MTV's move to create a genderless award for acting will mean something different to everyone. But to me, it indicates that acting is about the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes. And that doesn't need to be separated into two different categories."
On Being Single
"I never believed the whole 'I'm happy single' spiel . . . I was like, 'This is totally spiel.' It took me a long time, but I'm very happy [being single]. I call it being self-partnered."
On Having a First Kiss as Someone Else
"I remember reading this thing that Elizabeth Taylor wrote. She had her first kiss in character. On a movie set. It really struck me. I don't know how or why, but I had this sense that if I wasn't really careful, that could be me: that my first kiss could be in somebody else's clothes. And my experiences could all belong to someone else."
On How Her Pixie Haircut Made Her Feel Sexy
"To be honest, I felt more myself with that haircut. I felt bold, and it felt empowering because it was my choice. It felt sexy too. Maybe it was the bare neck, but for some reason I felt super-, supersexy."
On Labeling Herself a Feminist
"When, at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn't want to appear 'muscly.' When, at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings. I decided that I was a feminist."
On Not Wanting to Rush Into Being Sexy
"I've never wanted to grow up too fast. I wanted to wear a sports bra until I was 22! . . . The allure of being sexy never really held any excitement for me. I've never been in a terrible rush to be seen as a woman."
On If Hermione Would Have Been Better Off With Harry
"I don't know. I think there are fans out there who know that too and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy."
On the Fifty Shades of Grey Rumors
"Who here actually thinks I would do Fifty Shades of Grey as a movie? Like really. For real. In real life. . . . ? . . . Good. Well that's that sorted then."
On the One Thing She Won't Do
"Really I was open-minded about doing anything, but the one thing I didn't want to do was get myself into a corset, because I was worried I'd never get out again."
On Her Role in The Bling Ring
"The character is everything that I felt strongly against — she's superficial, materialistic, vain, amoral. She's all of these things and I realized that I hated her. How do you play someone you hate? But I found it really interesting, and it gave me a whole new insight into what my job, or my role as an actress, could be."
On Kissing Rupert Grint
"Yeah, it was horrible! I mean really horrible. I felt incredibly awkward. It was not something I was [looking forward to]. I don't know, but it looked good. We somehow managed to make it look realistic. I was proud of myself that I managed to power through and be professional."
On Kissing Daniel Radcliffe
"He is a good kisser. I can definitely vouch for that."
On Being Like Hermione
"I try and intellectualize a lot, which she does as well obviously. She's very determined, I am as well. I like to think that I am very loyal in the same way that she is. Bit of a feminist in the same way that she is. I will speak my mind in the same way that she does."
On Guys' Opinions of Her Short Hair
"If I had it my way, I would have just kept it short forever. Of course, men like long hair. There's no two ways about it. The majority of the boys around me were like, 'Why did you do that? That's such an error.' And I was like, 'Well, honestly, I don't really care what you think!' I've never felt so confident as I did with short hair — I felt really good in my own skin."
On Whether She's Out of Rupert Grint's League
"Oh, I think Rupert's gorgeous. He is, he's totally gorgeous! Very handsome, very handsome indeed."
On Dating in the Public Eye
"It's difficult on my dating life, because anyone I get photographed with is automatically my boyfriend. So it just makes it look as if I've had, like, 6,000 boyfriends!"
On Her Generation's Hesitance About Feminism
"I'm a feminist, but I think that romance has been taken away a bit for my generation. I think what people connect with in novels is this idea of an overpowering, encompassing love — and it being more important and special than anything and everything else. I would love to not date someone in the same industry as me. Otherwise it becomes what it means to everyone else."
On Daniel Radcliffe Saying She Kisses "Like an Animal"
"I guess I should just take it as a compliment. . . . Well I said to him last night, I was like, 'You've been telling everyone I pounced on you!' He's like, 'I didn't use those words. I didn't use those words.' I'm was like, 'Whatever, Dan.' It could be [a good thing], that's why I'm taking it like a compliment. He's said, 'No, no! I gave you 10 out of 10 for kissing.' I was like, 'All right, as long as it's positive I guess it's fine.'"
On Her Harry Potter Crush
"For the first two movies, I had a huge crush on Tom Felton. He was my first crush. He totally knows. We talked about it — we still laugh about it. We are really good friends now, and that's cool."
On Playing Hard to Get
"If I want to see someone, I want to see them, and if I don't, then I don't. My friends are always telling me I have to play hard to get because I'll pretty much say to a guy, 'I like you — let's go hang out.' But my friends are like, 'You can't do that! You have to string this guy along.' And I'm just like, 'No! I won't! I just want to go on the date!' It's a nightmare — I definitely haven't figured it out yet."