Emma Watson: How I learned to love the Hermione in me

"The character of Hermione gave me permission to be who I was," says the Harry Potter star

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When you play a character for the best part of your early life it’s understandable that you might want to rebel against them for a while, explore your own identity.

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But if after that period of experimentation you realise how much you have in common with that character, it’s important to be able to embrace who you really are.

That’s the journey Emma Watson went on in relation to her Harry Potter character Hermione Granger.

Watson reveals that, at the age of eight when she was reading the Harry Potter books, she strongly identified with Hermione but later tried to “detach my sense of self from the image”, trying out different personas before finally learning to accept just how much of Hermione there really is in her…

“I started reading Harry Potter when I was 8 – I just really identified with her,” said Watson. “I was the girl in school whose hand shot up to answer the questions. I was really eager to learn in an uncool way. In a super uncool way, actually… 

“It was really interesting because at first, despite the obvious similarities, I guess I was also trying to detach my sense of self from the image,” she told Bell Hooks in an interview for Paper. “It was such a delicate time – I was 10 or 11 when the first movie came out  – I was trying to figure out what my own identity was, but I didn’t really have one yet.

“I watch interviews that I did when the first movie came out and I was so lost! I would think, ‘What do young girls talk about? What do they say?’ ‘I like going shopping and I have a crush on Brad Pitt.’ And I had no idea who Brad Pitt really was! I hadn’t seen a single movie that Brad Pitt had been in, but this just seemed like the right thing to say. It makes me sad because I see this girl trying so much to fit in. The truth was I loved school. [Laughs]”

“At first I was really trying to say, ‘I’m not like Hermione. I’m into fashion and I’m much cooler than she is,’ and then I came to a place of acceptance. Actually, we do have a lot in common. There are obviously differences, but there are a lot of ways that I’m very similar. And I stopped fighting that!”

“The character of Hermione gave me permission to be who I was.”

And let that be a lesson to us all.

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Read the full interview with Emma Watson in Paper