By Lauren Edwards
Most of us will know Emma Watson as the part muggle, wand wielding friend of Harry Potter, Hermione Grainger. From the frizzy haired, precocious first year, we watched her grow into a young woman over the eight films penned by JK Rowling. The Harry Potter phenomenon served as a launch pad for Watson’s career and she went on to star in 15 films including the Disney reboot of Beauty and the Beast and Little Women.
As a child, I loved being on stage. I loved singing, I loved the lights, I loved the adrenaline. I even loved learning lines. I was completely obsessive.
Born in Paris in 1990, Watson lived in France with her parents until she was five before returning to the UK. She grew up in Oxfordshire and attended the Dragon School, along with taking acting lessons with Stagecoach Theatre Arts. Watson’s parents are both lawyers, but Emma decided at the age of six that she wanted to be an actress.
Watson’s role in the Harry Potter film series was her first acting job, other than appearing in school plays. She landed the part at just 9 years old and had to audition nine times before she was called into the Producer’s office and told that she was the ‘preferred’ candidate for the role.
They took a photograph of Daniel, Rupert and me and it was broadcast on the Internet that we had been cast in Harry Potter. By the time I got back to my house, there was press waiting outside. We moved straight into a hotel.
During filming, Watson moved schools and continued her part-time education at the Headington School in Oxford. It is alleged that fellow students were instructed not to ask her for an autograph or to engage in conversations about Harry Potter. If they flouted these rules, they would earn penalty points and often detentions. Watson also received tutoring for up to 5 hours a day whilst on set and achieved 8 A+’s and 2 As in her final GCSE exams.
Watson has lived with ADHD since childhood, but despite this, attended Brown University in the USA, along with studying at Oxford University, earning a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Since her acting career began, Watson has documented her daily life and has completed over 30 diaries.
Women’s rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I cannot imagine an opportunity more exciting.
In 2014, following her graduation from University, Watson was appointed as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and used this platform to launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, advocating for gender equality. In her debut speech, at the UN headquarters in New York, Watson spoke of her ambition to raise awareness of the global inequalities facing women, but also of removing the negativity associated with women calling themselves feminists.
I remember at my 18th birthday party, photographers laid down on the pavement and took photographs up my skirt, which were then published on the front of the English tabloids the next morning.
Watson has spoken openly about sexism in Hollywood and on how the press have treated her more derogatively than her male colleagues. During her film career, she has highlighted the inequalities in the film industry, having been directed by male directors 17 times compared to only twice by women.
Watson splits her time between London and New York and is dating businessman Leo Robinton, who reportedly makes a living selling legal cannabis. Robinton deleted all of his social media links after news broke that he was in a relationship with Watson and the couple endeavour to keep their relationship out of the spotlight.