Emma Watson chatted with Elle U.K. about what she was up to in her year off from acting. It’s not the first time Watson has paused her career to pursue education — she famously graduated from Brown University in 2014. This time the Beauty and the Beast star focused on studying feminist literature, started a book club called Our Shared Shelf, and continued her advocacy as a global goodwill ambassador for United Nations Women.
“It wasn’t about me necessarily proving anything,” said Watson. “I was just thinking that I have this year to myself, so let’s see what we can do to ‘move the needle’ and make a difference.”
Watson has faced criticism for her outspoken feminism, but she says it has made her tougher. “There is a level of criticism that comes with being an actress and a public figure, which I expect, but once you take a stance on something like feminism, that’s a completely different ballgame,” she said.
Elle U.K. asked Watson if she’d want to write a book about feminism. “I need to see and do a bit more first,” she admitted. “I’m no expert, and when people push me into a corner of ‘Here’s Emma Watson to lecture you on feminism,’ it’s uncomfortable, because I am aware I have a long way to go. I am not sure I deserve all the respect I get yet, but I’m working on it.” Watson will return to theaters soon when Beauty and the Beast is released on March 17.
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