“Harry Potter’s” Hermione, actress Emma Watson, is taking a year off from acting to focus on her “personal development,” she told feminist, author and social activist Bell Hooks in an interview with Paper magazine.
Indeed, from a young actress put under the spotlight with her studious and activist character in the “Harry Potter” films to being appointed as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson has grown a lot as a person.
“I’m taking a year away from acting to focus on two things, really. My own personal development is one,” she told Hooks. “My own personal task is to read a book a week, and also to read a book a month as part of my book club. I’m doing a huge amount of reading and study just on my own,” she added.
“I almost thought about going and doing a year of gender studies, then I realized that I was learning so much by being on the ground and just speaking with people and doing my reading. That I was learning so much on my own. I actually wanted to keep on the path that I’m on. I’m reading a lot this year, and I want to do a lot of listening,” said the 25-year-old actress.
Watson says sometimes she feel as if she is struggling to cope with so many duties. “I’m reading so much and exposing myself to so many new ideas. It almost feels like the chemistry and the structure of my brain is changing so rapidly sometimes. It feels as if sometimes I’m struggling to keep up with myself. It’s a really cool period of time for me. My work that I do for the UN is all very clearly outlined, but my personal views and opinions are still being defined, really. So it’ll be an interesting time,” she says.
She has helped launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe which promotes women’s rights and engages both men and women together to spread the message of gender equality.
Watson gave a preview of what HeForShe is achieving. “This January, our HeForShe IMPACT champions are ten CEOs who for the first time will be releasing to the media what their companies look like internally. So how many CEOs are male or female, the gender wage gap. We’ll be making all of these statements completely transparent, which is huge. It’s never been done before.”
It is quite apparent that Emma is very passionate about gender equality and the year off will undoubtedly help her to focus on this issue along with reading more books and updating herself.
Watson also said that she became more accepting and loving of herself as a woman through reading. She has started a feminist book club ‘Our Shared Shelf’ which is currently reading Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple.” The group has about 100,000 members and is open for all.