Emma Watson is stunning as ever on the cover of ELLE UK, but she means business.
The 26-year-old star of Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast tells the fashion magazine what it was like to take a year off acting to focus on activism, “It wasn’t about me necessarily proving anything… I was just thinking that I have this year to myself, so let’s see what we can do to ‘move the needle’ and make a difference.”
Watson has spent more time in the limelight than out of it. She was 11 years old when the first Harry Potter movie hit theatres, but the fame has taught her to deal with criticism as an activist. “It really toughened me up,” she says. “There is a level of criticism that comes with being an actress and a public figure, which I expect, but once you take a stance on something like feminism, that’s a completely different ball game.”
And fans of the actress can expect a book, eventually: “I need to see and do a bit more first,” the British actress concedes. “I’m no expert, and when people push me into a corner of ‘here’s Emma Watson to lecture you on feminism,’ it’s uncomfortable because I am aware I have a long way to go. I am not sure I deserve all the respect I get yet, but I’m working on it.”
You can’t, at least for the next month, have a Watson interview without a little Beauty and the Beast. The beautiful face behind Belle touts her role in the film as one of the best experiences of her life. “For me, ‘Beauty’ was the perfect, most joyful thing to do… There was something connected about Hermione and Belle, and it was good to be reminded that I am an actress; this is what I do. The film is pure escapism.”
Beauty and the Beast invite fans to be their guests in theatres everywhere March 17. The March issue of ELLE UK is on sale now.