At the age of 11, Emma Watson played Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. The character is a talented, self-confident, intelligent young woman who likes to help others. Now, nearly 15 years later, that description sounds a lot like Emma’s real-life self. Although she doesn’t possess Hermione’s magical skills–at least, as far as we know!–Emma shares her character’s determination to improve the world.
Emma was six years old when she decided she wanted to become an actress. As a child, she took classes in singing, dancing, and acting. In 1999, she was cast in her first professional acting role, and it was a big one–Hermione in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Emma is best known for her work on the eight Harry Potter movies, but she has made her mark elsewhere in Hollywood. She’s starred in a string of films, playing Sam in the 2012 film adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Nicki in 2013’s The Bling Ring, a movie based on the real-life crew of Hollywood robbers. She will play her first musical role when she stars as Belle in 2017’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
After completing the last Harry Potter movie, Emma attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She studied abroad at Oxford for a year, and took two semesters off, due to acting work, before earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 2015.
Often described as a style icon, Emma is passionate about fashion and its impact on the world. In 2009, she saw The True Cost, a documentary about the human and environmental costs of fast fashion (think: Forever 21). The film inspired her to team up with the ethical clothing company People Tree to design a line of fair trade, organic clothing. She told The Guardian, “I think young people like me are becoming increasingly aware of the humanitarian and environmental issues surrounding fast fashion and want to make good choices but there aren’t many options out there.” Emma has also worked as a model. In 2009, she partnered with Burberry and modeled for several of their campaigns. She was named the face of Lancôme in 2011.
But it’s her work away from the camera that has us swooning hard: In 2014, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women named Emma a Goodwill Ambassador. As part of her work with UN Women, she promotes the HeForShe campaign for gender equality. Accepting the position, she said, “The chance to make a real difference is not an opportunity that everyone is given and is one I have no intention of taking lightly. Women’s rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can’t imagine an opportunity more exciting.”
Whether using her position to shine a light on feminism, creating ethical clothing or bringing empowerment to the stage and screen, Emma Watson is our kind of boss.
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