Saturday, April 15, 2017

Where Are They Now: Emma Watson

Where Are They Now: Emma Watson
Photo Credit: Kerry Hallihan Photoshoot/Entertainment Weekly
Emma Watson is known to the Harry Potter generation as Hermione Granger. Since the film franchise ended six years ago, the captivating role model has continued an astounding bold career in acting, feminism, and fashion. Often compared as a real life example of the famed Gryffindor student, Watson has taken her own love of reading, equality, and creativity long after the movies finished. In honor of her 27th birthday, we’re taking a brief look at where the young actress is today and some of her most inspiring moments so far.

U.N. Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador

In 2014, Emma Watson was appointed a UN Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador. As an effort to launch the HeforShe Campaign, which called on men to join in gender equality, she delivered a speech in New York City at the UN Headquarters. Through her own experiences as a teenager and young woman where she was treated differently because she was a girl, Watson questioned gender bias shared between all sexes, and what led her to call herself a feminist.

The movement called on men to sign up in a bid for gender equality, and led Watson to interview icons such as Gloria Steinem, researched with feminist icons around the world, its impact leaders in business, and join International Women’s Day. Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai called herself a feminist after watching Watson’s speech.

Our Shared Shelf book club

As part of her research for feminism and work with the UN, Watson started a book club on Goodreads where fans, bookworms, and feminists could join to read selected books every other month. Together, members discuss topics and themes dealing with equality, sexuality, race, and intersectionality.

Watson has also become a book fairy, a worldwide group who hides books for others to find, read and leave for someone else. She has left books such as Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom on the London underground. On International Women’s Day in 2017, Watson snooped around Manhattan leaving books on and around landmarks celebrating women.

Rapping with Lin-Manuel Miranda

For UN Women’s HeForShe Arts Week, Watson landed a sit-down conversation with Lin-Manuel Miranda. He’s known as a popular playwright and composer of Broadway musicals, especially as a creator of the game-changing musical Hamilton. The duo talked about his process of diving into Alexander Hamilton’s life and history, politics, sorting characters into Hogwarts houses and feminism. To close the interview, Watson gave her best beatbox as Miranda freestyled some lyrics.

Environmentally Friendly Style Leader

Watson isn’t just a feminist but an eco-warrior establishing her wardrobe by where the materials come from, how it’s made, and who it’s made by. Her passion for environmentally-friendly clothes, shoes, and authentic beauty began when she teamed up with People Tree, a Fair Trade fashion brand in 2009. Since then, she has continued to ensure how her garments are produced impact the environment in her everyday life and promotional work including photo shoots and appearances. Most recently, as part of the press tour for the Beauty and the Beast live-action movie, Watson shared the process of her wardrobe choices for appearances on an Instagram.

Post-Potter Roles

After starring in one of the leading worldwide franchises, Watson took time off to finish college at Brown University graduating in English literature. She took time away from the screen to focus on personal development, but the big screen hasn’t been without her presence for long. Since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Watson has starred in several different movies including a cameo in Seth Rogen’s end-of-the-world flick This Is The End, as Sam in Steven Chbosky’s adaptation The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and auteur director Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah.

In 2017, Watson will star alongside Tom Hanks and John Boyega in The Circle, an adaptation of David Eggers' novel of a young woman who discovers dark secrets behind a 'Big Brother' technological company.

Emma Watson as Disney's Belle
Photo credit by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Disney's Newest Princess

Once again drawing parallels between herself and her characters, most recently Watson went from the brightest witch of her age to one of Disney’s most beloved princesses. As Walt Disney Studios converts its classic animated features into live-action adventures, their latest release was an uprooted version of Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Bill Condon, Watson stars as a Belle, a bookworm in a provincial town who is compelled to break a powerful spell on an enchanted castle and in its inhabitants. Filled with song and dance, romance, and adventure, the re-imagining of a tale as old as time has earned a billion dollars worldwide. And, as for Watson, she’s become an icon and leader of inspiration for people, especially young women, around the world.

How has Emma Watson inspired you since the Harry Potter series? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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