Posted on 01-09-2012 | Tags: fashion, magazine transcript, noah, perks of being a wallflower, pixie cut, the bling ring, university
Little Hermione is all grown up and showing off her sexy side in her first post-Potter leading role. Now Watson talks to Glamour about her life, her hair, her dating rules, and all those “hot bods” in Hollywood.
Emma Watson is just so cute. She’s got that little face and that artfully messy hair, and she’s wearing the sweetest white summer dress you’ve ever seen. But when she starts speaking over breakfast at the Carlyle hotel in New York City, it becomes very clear that our old friend Hermione is anything but childlike: Watson is smart and funny and passionate about becoming an actress with a capital A. Her first starring role after Harry Potter, as a wild child in this month’s teen drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower, was a conscious break from her wizard alter ego; at the same time, she’s becoming known in the fashion world as a risk taker, favouring up-and-coming English designers she’s discovered through her own research. Glamour sat down with the 22-year-old native Brit, who’s living in New York while filming Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, to discuss her plans to return to Brown University and her desire to do a (well-written!) rom-rom.
What was it like to see yourself on screen in Perks as not-Hermione?
It was a pretty emotional experience! I have to say, I cried a lot the first time I watched it.
At the parts you’re supposed to cry at or just randomly?
Pretty much from the half point on, I kind of lost it. Making this movie was so pivotal for me because I realised I do really want to be an actress, which wasn’t something I fully knew, since Harry Potter was such a singular experience. Obviously I’m nervous to see what other people think, but it kind of doesn’t matter to me. It’s so cheesy to say this, but it’s the journey, not the end goal, that’s important.
Your character, Sam, is rebellious – she’s experiments with drugs and has quite a sexual history. I’ve read that in real life, you’re pretty straitlaced.
Oh, yes, Sam’s real. She has insecurities and a past. She’s very human, and that’s what drew me to play her. There are just so many teenage roles that don’t have very much to do with what it’s actually like to be a teenager.
Have you seen HBO’s Girls? That’s a show about twentysomethings that’s getting attention for its realism.
Yeah, I am literally obsessed with [Girls creator and star] Lena Dunham. She’s, like, my favourite person in the world. I follow her on Twitter; I read her every day. And, yes, Girls is an example of something so refreshing because it feels real.
I also read that you met with studio executives to persuade them to fund Perks. What was that like?
No one wanted to make it at first, because it deals with difficult subject matter, so I basically went out and pitched it to studios myself. It felt very empowering to be able to get something made that I really believed in.
Your fans from Potter are so loyal and will follow you anywhere. That must be a great feeling.
It’s amazing to have that, because the media can be tough. I’ll read something stupid that someone’s written about me, and then some eight-year-old girl will be like, “You’re Hermione! I love Harry Potter so much. Can I have an autograph?” And that feels so validating.
Now you’re filming Noah with Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, and you just finished The Bling Ring, which is directed by Sofia Coppola. Both are big departures from Harry Potter. I assume that was on purpose?
Yeah, I really wanted to make a point of taking contemporary roles. I knew that I could get sewed into a corset for the rest of my life quite easily if I came out of Potter and did an English period drama or something.
Would you ever do a comedy?
I would love to do a comedy. I’m trying to find a romantic comedy that isn’t …
Maybe I’ll beg Lena to write it for me!
Amazing. So you’re going back to school?
I have one semester left, which I’ll go back in January to do, probably at Brown. Brown is great because they offer independent study programs, and there are lots of different options, which is one of the reasons I chose it.
Have your friends graduated yet?
No, they’ll graduate next summer. There’s definitely the possibility I could graduate on time, so I’m just kind of quietly making my way.
Was it easy to make friends at school?
I’m sorry, do you mind if I don’t talk about this?
I just – I don’t know. I just feel like if I start opening the door to talking about my university experience, then people just kind of … own everything. There was a lot of stuff a couple of years ago saying that I was bullied at Brown and awful things like that, none of which were true. But it’s my personal experience and it’s my personal life … and I would just go crazy if I didn’t have a reality, if I don’t have a life outside of the roles I play. The entertainment industry is pretty nuts, and having had that experience outside of it and going to university has really made a big difference. It’s important to me to feel like I have my own life.
Which must be difficult when you’re being trailed by papparazzi.
At Brown, every time I come out of the gyn, there’d be paparazzi, and they’d just start following me around with my friends. It made things pretty difficult to be normal.
Sorry to say, but I did see paparazzi pictures of you kissing at Coachella.
I know! My friend got me tickets for my birthday, and what am I going to say? No, I’m not going to go, because I don’t want to be photographed? But it was a huge crowd and I thought there was no way anyone could get pictures of me, but somehow they found me. It’s difficult on my dating life, because anyone I get photographed with is automatically my boyfriend. So it makes it look as if I’ve had, like, 6,000 boyfriends!
You’ve said in the past that you don’t want to date another actor.
Yeah, I try not to. It definitely makes me nervous. I haven’t tried to make other celebrity friends or date people who are in my industry, because it’s difficult and it can be really superficial. I’m lucky that most of the people I’ve dated I’ve been at university with.
I wanted to talk to you about your style. You’ve had some amazing fashion moments.
That’s so nice! In my real life I can be a bit scruffy, but I love dressing up for the red carpet. I really try to do my research and look into new people who are coming onto the scene. It’s creative, and I’m really into art, and it’s fun.
Do you have stylists working with you?
Yeah, I have to at this point. When I was younger, I used to do it all myself, but I’ve had to get help because it’s gotten to a stage where I can’t show up in my Converses or whatever I bought from High Street. And just practically, these gowns are ridiculous. You’re being photographed from every angle, so not only do you have to consider how the thing looks, but whether you’re going to be able to sit in it and whether people are going to be able to see up your skirt.
You once said that women in L.A. look kind of scary. Do you still think that’s true?
I think there’s obviously something that they’re all working toward, that they want to look like, and they end up looking quite similar, which I think is a shame.
And it seems all the actresses who are truly successful do look like individuals.
I feel like if you’re distracted by how beautifully toned someone’s arms are, then you’re not really being drawn into their performance. You’re just thinking about that hot bod! I think Carey Mulligan is amazing. She’s a huge girl crush of mine. And also Emma Stone. People love them because they’re real and they embrace it.
By the way, I see you’re growing out your hair.
I have to for roles. But if I had it my way, I would have just kept it short forever. Of course, men like long hair. There’s no two ways about it. The majority of boys around me are like, “Why did you do that? That’s such an error.” And I was like, “Well, honestly, I don’t care what you think!” I’ve never felt so confident as I did with short hair – I felt really good in my own skin.
We loved it too! The funny thing about child actors is, there’s the real possibility that they’re going to turn out, well, average-looking. But you lucked out and grew up to be gorgeous!
[Laughs] I can’t talk about how other people perceive me, but growing up, my parents never told me I was beautiful. I never thought I was pretty.
I was always the smart, nerdy one. People put you in boxes, and that was my box. So it’s nice, but looks have never been something that I focused on or that people around me did. I liked being the nerdy one!