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EMMA WATSON: In the Real World

陈溪 Cecilia Chan 2019-02-18 09:59

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It is never exaggerated to describe Emma Watson as “The Chosen One”. Born in Paris and raised in London, Watson’s parents are both lawyers graduated from Cambridge University. At the age of 5, Emma entered the prestigious Lynam’s School. 7 years old, she won first prize in Daisy Pratt poetry competition by reciting The Sea by James Reeves. At 8 years old she was enrolled in Dragon School, Oxford. During this period, she was frequently selected as leading cast in plays. At 9 years old she won an audition opportunity in Harry Potter and after 8 rounds, she was eventually selected as the actress of Hermione Granger at the age of 9. With eight Harry Potter films in consecutive, Emma garnered wide acclaim and by the age of 11, she had already been nominated five times with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone alone, and won Best Leading Young Actress in Young Artist Awards. 


Meanwhile, Emma wasn’t lost in the tinsel world. At the age of 16, Emma passed all 10 of her GCSE exams with 8 A+ and 2 A’s. A year later, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix broke a box office record of $332.7 million in the first week. Emma Watson won Best Actress on National Movie Awards for her performance in the movie. Later, she began to cast for different characters beside Hermione, including Pauline in television film Ballet Shoes by BBC, and voice for Princess Pea in The Tale of Despereaux by Universal Pictures. 


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In 2009 Watson was 19. Accustomed to be a child actress, she didn’t lose her young lustre, but became more charming. At the crucial point of her career, Emma made a surprising decision: going to college. With her excellent academic performance, she received offers from Cambridge, Oxford and Brown. Eventually she entered Brown with her straight-A marks, and two years later she transferred to Oxford. As Emma recalls, “people couldn’t believe it when, after Harry Potter, I was like, ‘I’m going to school.’ Essentially, I took five years out to study, doing only a few smaller projects, and, to a lot of people, it seemed like I was passing up a lot of opportunity. I received a lot of angry phone calls. But I needed the space to go and explore who I was – without being under a microscope.” 


Meanwhile, her acting career carried on. Watson consecutively shot for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Beauty and the Beast and The Bling Ring. In 2011, she again, won Best Actress Sci-Fi/ Fantasy and Best Female in Summer Movie on Teen Choice Awards. 


Though everything turned out smooth and successful, Emma Watson was not satisfied with the status quo, much of it came from the public view of her as a Granger rather than a Watson. To get rid of the stereotype, Emma made a life-changing decision in 2016 – delivering a speech in UN Headquarters titled “HeForShe”. In that speech, Watson called on all men to devote themselves to the undertaking of gender equality. The video of her speech received more than 1.7 million views on Youtube. Soon, Hollywood stars responded to the call and posted their photos on social media to support “HeForShe” movement. 


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Unexpectedly, Emma received harsh criticism from radical feminists after the speech, for her proposition of male as the saviour of female in the “HeForShe” movement. “At first, I wasn’t sure if I should allow myself to be upset by it, then I realised I needed to give myself 24 hours to sulk, and then move forward,” she said in an interview. “It’s difficult to hear criticism from people you consider your peers and who you believe are on the same side. But, you know, I just carried on, and some of the stuff made me more thoughtful and questioning of my approach.” From proving herself not a Hermione in reality, to gradually realising many similarities between the fictional character and the true self, Watson recognised her pursuit of perfection in both study and work, and no longer caught up in the comparison. 


Later, Emma Watson emerged as a more vibrant public figure, and opinions towards the girl who came out from the magic world of Harry Potter, began to be positive. Already a social leader, Watson visited the Republic of Malawi with UN Women, and made more speeches on gender equality. As a UN Women Goodwill ambassador, Watson delivered a gender equality speech on Davos Forum. Moreover, she interviewed feminists and actresses for different media and websites, and joined One Young World, an NGO, as a Counsellor. 


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Besides, Emma Watson has, along with Tom Hanks guest edited for Esquire magazine. She also launched her own book club “Our Shared Shelf”, recommending books that every woman should read, among which some are classic titles, and some are recently published. Club members discuss on the webpage and share their thoughts on the plots. As Watson says, “whether you fail or you succeed, or you make a complete idiot of yourself, as long as you’re doing the best with what you have, using whatever knowledge you have to bring to the table at that moment. And you continue to keep learning. I think my mistakes have made me much stronger.”



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